Audit your home energy use

Your energy bill isn’t itemised like a mobile phone bill so it can be hard to tell exactly how you're using electricity and gas. Home energy audits can help you:

  • recognise the main energy users in your home
  • find ways to reduce your energy use and save money.

Each topic of the manual audit should take less than 10 minutes. You can also open all the right hand arrows and print this page - see top right corner of this screen.

Manual audits

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
Close doors so you only heat or cool the areas you are using. 

For ducted systems, use the zones to heat or cool specific areas – for example, only the living zones during the day.
In winter, do you open curtains and external shades?  Yes
No
Use the sun as free heating.

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 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. Every 1°C higher adds 10% to the running costs of your appliance.
Do you maintain your heating and cooling appliances? Yes
No
Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions to keep them running efficiently.
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. Every 1°C lower adds 10% to the running costs of your appliance.
Do you shade windows in summer?  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 buy a heating or cooling appliance do you ask about:
  • the best kind of appliance for your needs
  • the right size appliance
  • the energy rating label or the running costs?
Yes
No
The most efficient heating or cooling appliance is one that is suitable for the location and size of the area.
Do you use reversible ceiling fans?

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

Question relates to the home
Yes
No
Install insulation in your ceiling and walls.

Or ask an insulation installer check its still effective if you already have it installed.
Have you sealed up gaps around doors and windows?

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

Check for draughts by:

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

Heating your home

Cooling your home

Heating water

What you do at home? Most energy efficient Least energy efficient What you can do to save energy
Do you take short showers? Yes
No
Taking a 3-4 minute showers will save water and reduce the energy needed to heat water.
Do you have a solar, electric heat pump or 5 star energy rated gas water heater? Yes
No
Choose an energy efficient water heater when you replace your  current one.
Is there insulation on external water heater pipes?  Yes
No
Insulate pipes with foam tubing - lagging - to prevent heat loss.
Is your shower flow rate 9 litres per minute or less?  Yes
No
Consider installing a 3 star rated water saving shower head.
Do you check for dripping taps Yes
No
Fix dripping taps as soon as possible - they waste water and energy (leaking hot water taps).

Buying and using water heaters

Large 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

Use the appliance meter in the home energy toolkit to:

  • see how much energy your appliances are using.
  • calculate an approximate hourly, quarterly and yearly running cost.
Do you use check energy rating labels  when you buy appliances? Yes
No
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.
Do you always wash clothes on a cold water cycle? Yes
No
Cold water cycles uses less energy as heating the water is the primary energy user in a washing cycle.

Turn appliances off at the wall to prevent stand-by power use.
Do you hang your clothes out to dry? Yes
No
Fresh air and sunlight are free.
 Did you select a model that was the right size for your needs when you bought your washer and dryer? Yes
No
Choose an energy efficient model when you replace your washer or dryer.  

Save in the bathroom and laundry

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 - for example, 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.

Save when using the TV, computer and electronics

Calculating appliance running costs

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 if its not automatically done.
When you purchased your fridge and freezer did you choose an efficient model for your needs? Yes
No
When you replace your fridge or freezer choose the right size 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.

Colder uses more energy is used.
Higher allows harmful 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 or shade windows to stop direct sunlight.

Make sure air can circulate around all sides.
Do the fridge and freezer doors seal properly? Yes
No
Replace door seals
Is frost build up less than 5mm in your freezer? Yes
No
Defrost your freezer regularly.

Auto defrost models should do this automatically.

Save in the kitchen

Cooking 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 - for example  microwaves? Yes
No
Smaller appliances generally use less energy

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.
Do you open curtains to use daylight lights?  Yes
No
Daylight is free. Open curtains before turning on a light.
Do you have energy efficient lights - for example, fluorescents?            Yes
No
Replace old lights with energy efficient lones.
Is your outdoor lighting operated by motion sensors?  Yes
No
 Install 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.

Lighting

Borrow a Home Energy Toolkit

Home Energy Toolkits can help you do a detailed audit of the energy you use in your home.

blue satchell with handle showing items in the energy saving toolkit behind a transparent cover.

Each toolkit contains:

  • appliance meter - measure energy use, stand-by power, cost and greenhouse gas emissions
  • infrared thermometer - measure hot water temperatures and pinpoint hot and cold spots in a room
  • spirit thermometer - measure room, fridge and freezer temperatures
  • compass - identify the direction the home faces to make the most of the sun's heat
  • stopwatch - calculate the flow rate from your showers and taps
  • guide - information, pictures and diagrams to help you carry out your audit.

Where to borrow a kit

The toolkit is available to members of the public from all metropolitan libraries and most regional libraries in South Australia.

Contact your local library

Toolkits are not available for sale to individuals.

Library acquisitions

Libraries can purchase a toolkit at a subsidised cost.

Contact the Energy Advisory Service for pricing information

Community organisations and councils

The toolkit is a valuable resource for organisations that help people with practical ways of minimising their energy bills. Toolkits can be:

Free energy training is available for staff and volunteers who can use the toolkit to help clients.

Extra worksheets


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Page last updated 12 December 2023

Provided by:
Department for Energy and Mining
URL:
https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/do-a-home-energy-audit
Last Updated:
12/12/23
Printed on:
25/02/24
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2024
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