Top Ten Tips - General
- Monitor your electricity use with a power monitor / power usage meter such as the low cost Clipsal Cent-a-Meter, the amazing looking Wattson 01 or the Clipsal 5504CMU Current Measuring Unit for C-Bus systems.
- Reduce the largest Time/Energy consumers first as this makes the most difference in cutting your bill (see Energy over Time table below).
Vampire Power is the colloquial term for power that is drawn by almost all appliances when in a 'Stand By' or 'awaiting your use' mode. Many appliances, through poor design are very bad at conserving power when in Stand-by, and so even though they are using relatively small amounts of energy compared to when they are ON, this power never abates being part of the 'background load'. Background load can be seen to be 15-30% of a normal household's electricity bill and so is a fruitful area for any potential reductions that can be made. Some tips for Vampire Power:-
- Switch off your gadget chargers at the wall (Phones, Shavers, iDevices etc) or put them on an individually switched power board, and only switch on the charger you are using.
- Have your computer set to auto-sleep or hibernate automatically when you leave it alone for a period.
- Laser Printers are always warming their fuser rollers, turn them off when not in use, or look for the 'Power Save' mode in the manual
- Consider putting cheap $10 timers on stand-by'd equipment set to be off for at least the time you are at work (8 or more hours, 1/3 of the days vampire power saved), or use a smart power board device like the fully automatic TrickleStar auto-standby products to reduce vampire power use by standby'd equipment. These automatically switch on all your entertainment components when you switch on for instance, your TV.
'Ugly' Bulbs and LEDs
- Many People (me included) hate/d the look of Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, not helped by the cheap nasty 'freebies' given out by councils etc. But the new ones are much better looking than they used to be, come in decent colour choices and can be dimmed, so even if you hated them before, take another look. They are SO much better.
- Even if you still hate them, consider putting CFL bulbs in utility areas such as 3rd toilets, laundrys, garages etc.
- If you're inclined, replace halogens with LEDs. Equal light output gained for a fraction of the watts means long term savings and better bulb life expectancy too.
Other 'Problem Children'
- Beer Fridges (2nd Fridges) are only really needed in Summer months so turn them off in Winter, Spring and Autumn.
- Tell your wife no one eats watermelon in winter so you can use the extra fridge space for beer and switch off fridge 2 as it saves power.
- Washing Machine - Use Warm water instead of Hot, or Cold Water instead of warm. Warm Wash Cold Rinse = >$100 per annum saved over hot/warm.
- Put your laundry outside to dry when it's warm, instead of using the clothes dryer which is a big consumer.
- Run a power lead to your neighbours garage sshhhhhh!!!..... Just Kidding ;-)
Largest Time/Energy (Kilowatt Hours) Consuming Items
Reduce the Biggest 'Energy over Time' Consumers, that is those that are on for the longest periods each day to maximise your savings.
Average kWhrs per day for a typical house (averaged over a week)
|Electrical Appliance or Equipment|| kWh per day||Other Notes|
|Water Heaters ||10 - 14||Are most usually on an 'Off Peak' circuit to save the most. 'Dual Element' systems continual re-heat the water throughout the day so ask you electrician if you can put the second element on a switch to use only when needed.|
|Under-Floor Heating Systems ||6 - 15||Most systems are around 120 - 250 watts per square metre making the average sized bathroom floor equivalent to running your electric kettle.|
|Pool Pumps ||6 - 10||Pumps for pools use lots of electricity. Try to reduce the number of hours needed to keep your pool clean, always reduce for winter and move to lower tariff periods to make substantial savings|
|Air Conditioning / Heating ||5 - 8||Look for efficient heaters. Column and fan heaters can be very large consumers and are usually less efficient than other forms of heating. Place column heaters near masonary walls so the wall acts as a secondary radiator even when the heater is turned off.|
|Clothes Dryer||3 - 5||Try to use during lower electricity tariff periods if you have a smart meter.|
|Large Fridge||3 - 5||Newer models seem to be getting ever more efficient. Check the star rating when buying a new one.|
|Lighting||2 - 4||Try a few low power globes out in utility areas. You won't notice until your bill arrives.|
|TVs||1.5 - 3||Generally LCDs are more efficient than Plasmas which are are more efficient than old Cathode Ray Tubes.|
|Dishwasher ||1.5 - 2.5|
|Washing Machine ||1||plus any heated water used|
|Vampire Power||1 - 2||TVs, Computers, Printers, Amplifiers, DVDs etc all draw quite a bit of 'Vampire Power' when on Stand-by. Use a power sensing power board (eg Tricklestar) to turn the other equipment on when your TV starts up.|
- Better Energy Star ratings can save you with the long term cost of new appliances
- Old (1990s) Fridge to a New fridge = $150 per annum
- Top to Front Loader Washine Machine = $150 per annum
- Plasma TV to a same size Led/LCD TV = $150 per annum
- Use dimmers and set lights at 80%. You'll cut your power bill and make the bulbs last heaps longer
- Outside Lights should be on a combined movement sunset sensor when you are away from home.
- Status Lights are a huge waste of power and makes everyone else think you're a plonker anyway!
- LED are cool and new, and save you lots of power too (says the poet)
- Adjust the thermostat down in temperature a bit. You'll hardly notice!
Blinds & Curtains
- Leave them down to keep sun out in summer reducing cooling costs.
- Open them to let the sun in in winter reducing heating requirements.
Air Conditioners, Heating and Cooling
- Use a cheap Floor Fan on days that are only marginally hotter than usual
- Clean your air filters at least monthly or the extra backpressure created draws more current
- Setting your temperature just 1 degree cooler or warmer makes a considerable difference in A/C running costs
- Shut the doors of any rooms that you will not be in
- If its cold outside, why are you wearing shorts and T-Shirt?
- If its hot outside, why are you wearing jeans and a sloppy joe?
- Hot inside? Sure you don't just need some better ventilation. Fans are cheaper to run than A/C.
- Put in a timer so it's only on just before you need it, even if that's 5 times a day the timer can do it.
- Consider moving underfloor heat supply line to an off-peak circuit.
- Does it really need to be SOOO warm underfoot? The average sized bathroom is like running your kettle for the same time.
- Backwash your pool filter at least every 2 weeks to reduce pump backpressure and therefore energy consumption
- Keeping your Chlorine levels slightly higher can reduce your required filter pump time
- Reduce filter pump running time at least 20% in Autumn and Spring
- Reduce filter pump running time at least 40% in Winter
If you have a Smart Power Meter
- Read the online guide from your electricity provider about energy tariff periods.
- Move Dishwasher running time to Shoulder tariff time from Peak tariff period.
- Move Washing Machine use to Shoulder tariff time from Peak. Weekends or Sundays are cheaper tariffs in many areas.
- Clothes Dryers are huge energy guzzlers. Always use them in Shoulder or Off-Peak tariff periods where possible.
If you own a Pool and have a Smart Power Meter
- Move some or all of the pool pump run time to a lower tariff cost period ie Peak to Shoulder,Shoulder to Off Peak.
Have Nous House put in a Clipsal C-Bus system for you and have it handle a lot of the extra 'reducing energy costs' work for you automatically.
Help Save the Planet, One Watt at a Time
Article by Brad Merrick - Technical Director - Nous House
Feel free to swipe this piece for your own use, but please kindly give me a credit or put a link to our site.
E&OE. This article is general opinion only, includes some levity and may contain inaccuracies or errors and therefore should not be relied upon by the reader for any particular purpose.
If you need to talk about the information contained in this article or would like to discuss reducing your energy use, please contact [email protected]
For a much more comprehensive guide into Saving Power and reducing your carbon footprint
See http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/ the self professed "Mr Electricity". Though this site is US based, most of the information is still useful to use in Australia as a guide.
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