As the days start to get shorter and the winter chill sinks in, the most dreaded thing a household may experience is the inevitable bill shock. On average, a households’ electricity usage can increase by up to 30 percent during winter.  Here are a few simple steps every household can take to reduce their energy bills now and beyond.

1. Switch appliances off at the wall

The next time you finish using an appliance, consider turning it off at the wall. This will reduce the standby power your appliance uses and it will decrease your baseline power consumption. By taking this simple step, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars. For example, turning off a game console at the wall could save up to $193 each year. When you switch off power on your second fridge that is not being used, you could save up to $241 each year.

2. Hang your clothes out to dry

Rather than loading your laundry into a dryer, consider air drying your clothes on a line. You could save you up to $148.72 each year for every week your dryer isn’t used.

3. Switch to a water-efficient shower head

Did you know water heating can count for between 15 - 27 percent of a households’ energy use? Reduce your water usage by changing your shower head to a water-efficient 4-star version. This will reduce your water bill and your hot water electricity costs at the same time.

4. Close doors and curtains

You can increase your heating and cooling efficiencies by closing the doors and shutting blinds of rooms that are not in use. Having an incorrect temperature setting could increase your energy use between 5 to 10 percent. To create an optimal temperature for your room and gain energy efficiencies, it is recommended that heating is set between 18°C and 20°C and cooling between 25°C and 27°C.

5. Check your fridge settings

Setting up appliances in your home for maximum energy efficient can make a huge impact on your power bill. Check your fridge is running at the right temperature. For every degree it is lowered, it uses 5 percent more energy. The maximum energy efficiency for your fridge should not be lower than 3⁰c and no lower than -18⁰c for your freezer.

6. Install energy efficient lighting

When its time to replace blown light bulbs, consider replacing them with energy-efficient lightbulbs such as light emitting diodes (LEDs) which use about 75 percent less energy and can last between five to ten times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

7. Make the most of off-peak

If you are on an electricity plan with an off-peak rate, there are a few simple ways you can make the most of it. Check your bill for the exact times when your off-peak rates and times apply to run your energy guzzling appliances. Use timers on your washing machine, dishwasher or dryer to run these appliances when you are about to go to bed.

These are just a couple ways every household can make big changes to their electricity costs each year. However, if you are looking to make a bigger impact to your household energy costs, consider investing in rooftop solar and a sonnenBatterie so you can use the energy you produce day and night. When this is paired with a sonnenFlat energy plan, you could see your energy bill drop to $0 a month.

If you are already on your journey to energy independence, here are some additional tips on how to maximise your energy return in our Tips and tricks for maximising your solar energy efficiency at home.