How to do an energy audit on your home

How to do an energy audit on your home

News article

A smart way to keep on top of your electricity bills is knowing exactly how you use energy at home.

An energy audit is a great place to start. This will help you find out where and how energy is used in your household. You can then look at ways to be more energy efficient, which will help you save money.

First things first, take a look at the below chart that shows energy usage in the average Australian household.


Now we know the main ways we use energy around the home, let’s look at our audit checklist for each energy source:

In the Territory, air conditioning can make up a whopping 40% of our energy usage as we try to stay cool. You can make sure it’s running efficiently with some simple checks.

Step 1: Check the temperature – Is your aircon set between 25 °C – 27°C? Even when you lower the temperature by 1°C this can increase your energy use by 5%-10%.

The Territory has two distinct climatic zones, The Red Centre, which has large variations in the temperature season to season, and The Tropical North, with its marked wet and dry seasons. Where you live in The Territory may change the recommended temperature settings for your home aircon, especially for the winter months.

Step 2: Clean the filters – Add it to your to-do list to clean your aircon filters regularly. This will make sure your aircon isn’t working overtime to keep you comfortable.

Step 3: Look for any leaks – Leaks in aircons can be caused by blockages or over-use. When was the last time your air conditioning unit had a service? Book in with a local air conditioning specialist every year to keep your unit in great condition.

Step 4: Block out the sun - To reduce the heat coming into your home, invest in white- backed blackout curtains for your largest windows.

In some homes, appliances can account for up to 30% of the household’s total energy use. 

Step 1: Take note of which household appliances you use the most.

Step 2: Look around your home, are all appliances that are not in use turned off at the switch on the wall? When you are finished with an appliance, get into the habit of switching off the powerpoint on the wall instead of leaving it on constantly or keeping things on ‘standby’.

Step 3: Hang your clothes out to dry. Making the most of the NT sun is a great way to save energy. Always hang your clothes out to dry when you can to minimise the use of the dryer.

Step 4: Be mindful about the way you use your washing machine and dishwasher. It’s easy to throw things in the wash or dishwasher without waiting until they are full. Try to only turn the dishwasher or washing machine on when you have enough items to fill it with. Less washes = less energy and water.

When things heat up, we use our pools to keep cool. Pool pumps are often left on for much longer than they need to be.

Step 1: Find out how often your pool pump is running. Can you reduce this? 8 hours on average per 24-hour period in Summer is usually enough. The recommended pool pump operation per day may vary on where you live and between Summer and Winter. Please check with your pool shop or supplier in regard to your home pool.

Step 2: Find out what energy star rating your pool pump is. Remember the higher the star rating, the better it is. Could you swap your pump with one that has a higher star rating?

Step 3: Make sure your pool has the right chemical balance. When the balance is right, your pump won’t need to work as hard to keep your pool clean.

Hot water makes up around 23% of energy use, so it makes sense to include this in your energy audit.

Step 1: Check your hot water thermostat. What is it currently set to? It should be between 60°C-65°C.

Step 2: Time your showers. Well, you don’t actually have to time them, but it’s a good idea to keep a track of how long you shower for. Taking shorter showers will help you save water and reduce the energy needed to keep it warm. The recommended time is 4 minutes or less.

Step 3: Fix any dripping taps.

Step 4: Check to see if it’s time for your water heater to be replaced. If it is, we recommend installing a solar water heater or a 5-star rated water heater.

Step 5: Change your showerhead to at least a 3-star rated one.

When it's hotter outside, some appliances work harder, which means they use more power. One of the biggest culprits is your fridge.

Step 1: Check all your seals are in good condition. This is to make sure your fridge is keeping the cool air in and the hot air out. TIP: Place a piece of paper between the fridge and the fridge door. If the seals don’t hold the paper in place when the fridge door is shut, then consider replacing the seals.

Step 2: Check the temperature. Fridges should be set between 3°C and 5°C.

Step 3: Leave some space around the back of your fridge for air to circulate.

Step 4: If you have a second fridge, how often do you use it? If the answer is rarely, it’s probably not needed.

Lighting your home is around 6% of your overall energy usage. Switching lights on and forgetting to turn them off can cost you.

Step 1: Replace your traditional lightbulbs with fluorescent or LED lights.

Step 2: Remove unnecessary light fittings around your home with the assistance of a licensed electrician.

Step 3: Use sensors and timers, especially for outdoor lights. 

HOORAY! Your DIY energy audit is complete. You should now have a better idea of how you use energy in and around your home.

We are always here to help you stay on top of your bills and usage. Check out our Energy Efficiency Guide for more ways to save.