Home energy audits

Do a home energy audit

Because your energy bill isn’t itemised like a mobile phone bill or shopping receipt, it can be hard to tell how energy is used in your home. Doing a home energy audit can help you understand what the main energy users in your home are and help you find ways to reduce your energy use to keep your energy bills to a minimum.

You can do your own basic home energy audit below, or borrow a Home Energy Toolkit for a more detailed audit.

Heating and cooling

house iconWhere you see a house icon, it means the information relates to making modifications to your home. If you rent, you should ask your landlord before making the suggested changes.

What do you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you only heat and cool rooms that are being used? Yes
No
Consider closing doors to unused rooms so you only heat or cool the smallest possible area. 

If you have a ducted system it may already be divided into zones – eg living areas and bedrooms. Make use of zones to only heat or cool occupied areas.
In winter, do you open curtains, blinds and external shades so the sun can heat your home?  Yes
No
Use the sun as free heating in cooler months.

Sunlight shining directly onto north, east and west facing windows can produce the same amount of heat per square metre as a one bar radiator.

Use a compass like the one in the  home energy toolkit  to find out which of your windows face north, east and west.
When heating, do you set the temperature as low as you feel comfortable with? Yes
No
Most people will find a temperature between 18°C and 21°C comfortable for heating. Every 1°C higher adds 10% to the running costs of your heating appliance.
Do you maintain your heating and cooling appliances to ensure they operate efficiently? Yes
No
Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions. Have your appliances serviced regularly.
When cooling, do you set the temperature as high as you feel comfortable with? Yes
No
Most people will find a temperature between 24°C and 27°C comfortable for cooling. Every 1°C lower adds 10% to the running costs of your cooling appliance.
Do you shade windows in summer to keep your home cool?  Yes
No
Shade windows to prevent heat from entering your home.

Sunlight shining directly onto north, east and west facing windows can produce the same amount of heat per square metre as a one bar radiator.
When you purchase a heating or cooling appliance do you seek advice about:
  • the most appropriate appliance
  • the right size appliance
  • the energy rating label, or if there is none, the running costs of the appliance?
Yes
No
The most efficient heating or cooling appliance is one that is suitable for the area it is heating or cooling and, where relevant, has been sized appropriately.
Do you use reversible ceiling fans to assist your heating and cooling appliances?

Question relates to the home
Yes
No
Reversible ceiling fans create cool breezes in summer and can redirect warm air down in winter.
Does your home have insulation?

Question relates to the home
Yes
No
Consider installing insulation in your ceiling and walls if you don't have it. 

If you have insulation installed already, ask a licensed insulation installer check its effectiveness.
Have you sealed up gaps around doors and windows that let draughts in?

Question relates to the home
Yes
No
Use draught excluders, door and window seals or gap filler to prevent draughts.

You can check your draughts by:

  • looking for daylight around the edges of doors and windows
  • looking for gaps around skirting boards
  • feeling draughts on a wet finger
Important: When using unflued gas appliances you must ensure you have adequate ventilation.

Find out more about:

Water heating

What do you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you take short showers - ie three to four minutes? Yes
No
Taking shorter showers will save water and reduce the energy needed to heat water.
Do you have a solar, electric heat pump or a five star energy rated gas water heater? Yes
No
Consider choosing an energy efficient water heater. when your current water heater needs replacing.
Is there insulation on external water heater pipes?  Yes
No
Insulate pipes with foam tubing, known as lagging, to prevent heat loss.
Is your shower flow rate nine litres per minute or less?  Yes
No
If your flow rate is more than nine litres per minute, consider installing a three star rated water saving shower head.
Do you ensure taps don't drip in your home   Yes
No
Have dripping taps fixed as soon as possible. Not only do they waste water, leaking hot water taps waste energy too.

Find out more about:

Home appliances

What do you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you know how much power your appliances use? Yes
No
If you know how much power your appliances use you can calculate how much they cost to run.

Use the appliance meter in the home energy toolkit to see how much energy your appliances are using. The appliance meter can also calculate an approximate hourly, quarterly and yearly running cost.

Do you use the energy rating labels to compare running costs when you purchase appliances? Yes
No
Consider the ongoing running cost when choosing an appliance. Energy efficient models will cost you less to run over the life of the appliance.
Do you run your dishwasher and washing machine with a full load? Yes
No
Washing a full load means fewer washes overall and reduces the amount of wasted energy and water.
Do you always wash clothes on a cold water cycle? Yes
No
Cold water cycles will use less energy than warm or hot cycles. The majority of energy used by clothes washers is for heating water.

Turn appliances off at the wall to prevent stand-by power use.
Do you hang your clothes out to dry? Yes
No
Clothes dryers can use a lot of energy. Hanging clothes out to dry is more energy efficient.
When you purchased your clothes washer or dryer, did you select a model that was the right size for your needs? Yes
No
Consider an energy efficient model when you replace your old clothes washer or dryer.

Find out more about:

Stand-by power

What do you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you switch appliances (eg televisions, stereos, computers) off at the wall when not in use? Yes
No
Turn appliances off at the wall to prevent stand-by power use.

Use the appliance meter in the home energy toolkit to see how much energy your appliances are using. The appliance meter can also calculate an approximate hourly, quarterly and yearly running cost.

Find out more about:

Fridges and freezers

What do you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you only run one fridge and freezer? Yes
No
Only run additional fridges and freezers where necessary - eg a bar fridge could be turned off when not required.

Defrost your freezer regularly. An auto defrost model should do this automatically.
When you purchased your fridge and freezer did you choose an efficient model that was the right size for your needs? Yes
No
When you replace your old fridge or freezer choose an energy efficient one.

Choose the right size fridge first then select the model with a high star rating.
Is your fridge temperature between 3°C and 5°C? Yes
No
Adjust fridge temperature to between 3°C and 5°C.

If colder, more energy is used while higher temperatures allow food poisoning bacteria to grow.
Is your freezer temperature between -15°C and -18°C?  Yes
No
Adjust freezer temperature to between -15°C and -18°C.
Are your fridges and freezers located in a cool, well ventilated area and out of direct sunlight? Yes
No
Move unit to a cooler location if possible or shade windows to stop direct sunlight.

Ensure air can circulate around all sides.
Do the fridge and freezer doors seal properly? Yes
No
Replace door seals if ineffective.
Is there no frost build up of over 5mm in your freezer? Yes
No
Defrost your freezer regularly.

Auto defrost models should do this automatically.

Find out more about:

Kitchen appliances

  Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Does your oven door seal properly? Yes
No
Replace door seals if ineffective.
Do you use small kitchen appliances instead of the oven - eg microwaves, electric fry pans? Yes
No
Smaller appliances generally use less energy

Find out more about:

Lighting

What do you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you turn off lights when you leave a room? Yes
No
Leaving lights on in an empty room wastes energy and adds to your bills. Make a habit of turning off lights.
Do you open curtains and blinds to use daylight instead of turning on lights?  Yes
No
Daylight costs you nothing. Open curtains and blinds before turning on a light.
Do you have energy efficient lights - eg fluorescents (compact, tubes or down lights)?  Yes
No
Consider replacing inefficient lights with energy efficient lights.
If you have outdoor lighting, is it operated by motion sensors?  Yes
No
If you regularly leave your outdoor lights on, consider installing sensor lights so they only come on with movement and turn off after a short period.
Do you use low wattage lights?  Yes
No
Select a light with the lowest wattage for your needs, it costs less to run.

Find out more about:

Can I get a professional home energy audit?

Home energy audits for low income households

Low income households may be eligible for a free home energy audit through the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES). Contact any of the REES obliged retailers or third party contractors to find out if they are currently offering audits.

Home energy audits for other households

If your household is not eligible for a free audit through the REES, you may be able to hire someone to audit your home. Contact your energy retailer and ask if they offer audits to customers or contact the third party contractors delivering audits through REES to see if they can assist you.

You can do your own home energy audit by working through the sections on this page about how you use energy in your home. Each topic should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

If your answers are in the 'least energy efficient' column, read the 'what you can do to save energy' column for practical tips to increase efficiency. Once you’ve reached the end of your audit, you’ll know what to do to reduce your energy use and minimise your bills.

If you’d rather do your audit away from the computer, you can download and print our Do your own home energy audit (1.6 MB PDF) guide.

If you’d like to do a more detailed audit, you can borrow a Home Energy Toolkit from your local library.


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Page last updated 26 May 2017

Provided by:
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/home-energy-audits/do-a-home-energy-audit
Last Updated:
26/05/17
Printed on:
21/09/17
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