A research study conducted by ThinkInsulation.com.au, a new initiative from Knauf Insulation reveals that Australians go to great lengths to keep cool during hot summers.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says Australia has had its hottest spring on record with no likelihood of the heat easing up. With another summer scorcher well underway, Aussies are relying on air conditioners at home, and stripping down to the bare minimum.

Over half of the people surveyed in the ThinkInsulation.com.au study believe that summers are hotter now than they ever remember from their childhoods.

Air-conditioning remains the most popular method of staying cool in summer; however, it is also the most expensive. Over 80% of Australians leave the fan or air-conditioner on all night, needlessly costing billions of dollars each year. Since 2000, electricity usage for cooling homes has doubled, with around 8.5 million air-conditioners now installed in Australian residences. Though households spend over $2.5 billion each year on energy to cool and heat their homes, 75% of homeowners continue to feel uncomfortable during the peak of summer and winter temperatures.

Tips and tricks to stay cool this summer

The location comes into play when one assesses annual spends on heating and cooling the property. At the top end of the scale, Northern Territory homes spend an alarming $831 dollars on average per year cooling their homes, with Darwin air-conditioners running for around 2000 hours in a season. Tasmanian homes, at the other end of the scale, spend just $45 on average each year. State-wise average spends include Queensland at $322, South Australia at $232, New South Wales at $215, Victoria at $55 and Australian Capital Territory at $54.

Home insulation is proven to be the most cost-effective way to reduce household energy bills on average by $450 each year. In the absence of adequate levels of insulation, hot air will enter the home from outside and warm up the cool air generated by an air-conditioner, wasting the money spent on it. The latest 2014 figures show that out of the 9 million homes in Australia, 1.2 million still don’t have insulation and a further 1.6 million households are unsure whether they have it at all.

Ravi Chandra, General Manager for Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy at Knauf Insulation Australia and New Zealand explains that Australia has one of the most extreme climates in the world, necessitating residents to depend on air-conditioning to keep cool during summer, and gas to stay warm in winter. However, they don’t realise the impact of inadequate levels of insulation on their energy bills.

The research also shows how rising energy costs have affected one in two Australians, with two-thirds having to cut back on dining out and at least half not being able to afford holidays.