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How to Save on Electricity in a Rental Property

How to Save on Electricity in a Rental Property

In the past few years, electricity prices have doubled, making Australian power one of the most expensive energy sources in the world. If you’re a home owner, then you can make big changes to your home to drop your power bill, but what can you do as a renter? We’ve developed a list of changes that you can make to reduce your electricity bill. In constructing this list, we’ve chosen low- and no-cost actions. We only suggest buying things with a short payback period and that can be taken with you if you move.

This is a breakdown of a typical Australian power bill. If you live in Victoria, Tasmania or an alpine area, then you may spend a greater proportion of your energy on heating. We listed our suggestions in order of their contribution to your energy consumption.

Cooling and heating27%
Hot water27%

Cooling and heating

  • In the summer, fans are much cheaper to run than are air conditioners. If there is no ceiling fan, then rather than use air conditioning, buy a pedestal fan.
  • If you have to run an air conditioner, make sure that it’s cooling the smallest space possible, such as a bed room. Ensure that all windows and doors are closed. Buy a draft stopper for doors and keep curtains closed.
  • If you’re going to run your air conditioner, ensure that it is set to 23–24 degrees. Ensure that the filters are clean.
  • Switch air conditioners off at the wall when not in use.
  • In the winter, the easiest way to save money is with a jumper, a jacket and extra blankets on the bed.

Hot Water (for electrical hot water)

  • Check with the property manager to see that the electric hot water system is already connected to an Economy Tariff. If it’s not, then request that this be changed.
  • Reduce the temperature of the tank to 60 degrees; this will ensure a comfortable shower but will use less power.
  • Keep your showers shorter—the shorter the better. Get a four-minute shower timer or take a navy shower
  • Make sure to fill up your tank every 3 months. Electrical hot water systems use a double boiler, and you need to periodically fill up the outer tank to ensure that it is running efficiently.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water.


  • Use the clothes line instead of a dryer. Dryers, air conditioners and ovens use the greatest amounts of electricity.
  • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
  • Switch of appliances at the wall.


  • Use the smallest appliance capable of fulfilling the task. Use a microwave instead of an oven, a kettle instead of the stove, and a toaster instead of the grill.
  • Ovens and Stoves use an enormous amount of power. If you can batch cook, then you’ll be more efficient (e.g. do all of your baking and cooking for the week at one time).
  • Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight.
  • Turn your oven off ten minutes before the end of the cooking time.


  • A full fridge is a cheap fridge to run—fill all the empty space with containers full of water.


  • Halogen downlights use a lot of electricity. If you intend to be in the property for a long time, then LED bulbs may be worthwhile. If you are unsure of how long you will be there, then buying some lamps with compact fluorescent bulbs and using them instead may be the better option.
  • Maximise the amount of sunlight that you use. Open blinds and curtains during the day.
  • Ensure that lights are turned off in empty rooms. While turning fluorescent lights on uses more power than running them, it only uses about 10 seconds worth of power.
  • Replacing any incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent lights will reduce the amount of power used by 75%. LED lights generally use about one half the power of compact fluorescents. LED lights also last about five times longer than a compact fluorescent light.

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