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Simple bathroom tip that could save Aussies on electricity: 'Absolute shocker'

Do you use bathroom heat lamps? Find out what impact they are having on your power bills.

As we head into the winter months, Aussies are being urged to watch their power usage if they want to avoid any nasty surprises on their electricity bills. Many people may not be aware that expensive mistakes like running heat lights in the bathroom will drive up power bills.

Environmental campaigner and actress Sarah Aubrey is "passionate about decarbonising our homes" and has shared online her top tips for saving power. From how to keep warm this winter to making the most of solar rooftop panels and e-bikes, Aubrey is on a mission to educate Aussies and she's now taken aim at the humble bathroom.

“If you have one of these heat lights in your bathroom, they are an absolute shocker when it comes to using energy,” she said. “They use over 1,000 watts.”

Sarah Aubrey (left) and the heat lamp (right).
Sarah Aubrey has urged residents to limit their use of heat lamps in bathrooms in order to save money. Source: TikTok/electrify_this (TikTok/electrify_this)

She recently posted a TikTok video about the bathroom heat lamps to encourage users to watch their behaviour in the bathroom.

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“So first of all, don’t leave them [heat lights] on, but secondly, a great little way to save energy is to not turn it on until you jump out of the shower because if you’re under the water and you’re nice and hot under there, you’re just wasting electricity while you’re in there.”

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Author and money-saving guru Joel Gibson said some aren't too expensive to run, and noted there are bigger changes Australians can make to reduce their energy consumption and bill.

“It all depends on which bulb you're using,” he told Yahoo Finance. “Also, if you're having a short shower, it's probably not going to make a huge difference whether you turn on the heat lamp or not.”

Most lighting companies sell globes for heat lamps with a 275 wattage, and Gibson said they are more efficient than other alternatives.

“They use more than a normal light globe, but they probably don’t use as much as those radiant bar heaters which are mounted up high in a bathroom,” he said. “They’re going to use a lot more electricity than a heat lamp would.

“By all means, turn it off if you're trying to save every cent but you're probably much better off focusing on the actions that can save you a serious amount of money, and make sure you're doing all those right.”

So, what steps should Aussies be taking to limit their power usage?

“The other big energy guzzlers are heating and cooling. So obviously, heat lamps are an element of heating, but probably a much bigger issue for most people is whether their home is well insulated," Gibson said.

If your home is not well insulated, you may be losing a lot of heat in the middle of winder which will make your heaters work harder, he said.

“Another thing I always say to people is don't dial the heater right up to 25 degrees straightaway. Start around 21, 22, 23 for example and just see if that's enough to take the edge off," Gibson said.

He also recommended only heating the room you're in, not the whole house if possible because that can save a lot of money.

“If there are appliances in my house that I only use once a month, then I'll turn them off at the power point because they'll be using electricity when they're plugged into the wall.

Gibson said some retailers won't tell you how much of your bill is being taken up by "vampire power" or standby power, which is power that appliances — like TVs, computers, mobile phone chargers — use when they're not being used.

"It can sometimes be 15 per cent of your bill so it can really add up," he said.

“But I think people need to take a common sense approach. Like if I use appliances every day, I won't turn them off at the power point because it’s a pain to go turn the power point back on every time you want to turn the TV on.”

“First and foremost, are you on the cheapest plan you can be on? Because if you're on a plan with crappy rates, of course, it's going to cost a bomb every time you turn the lights on," Gibson said.

“But if you're at least on the cheapest plan on the market, then you don’t have to worry quite so much about turning the heat lamp on on a cold morning.”

Gibson said as we're coming in to winter it is time to start thinking about the smart way to heat your home.

"Making smart decisions about heating can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the season," he said.

“So make sure you're trapping any heat and that it's not getting away. Make sure that you're not sitting around in a pair of boxer shorts and a T-shirt and turning the heater up to 25. And heat the room first of all, not the whole house, and only use the heating when you need it.”

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