How can I start saving power?
There are numerous ways you can save power without even spending any money. The best approach is to first understand where the power is been used. Most people are often surprised as to what uses the most electricity however generally people are becoming more aware.
What are some practical ways to save power?
First and foremost – turn things off! Apart from that it is important to keep things maintained and be aware of new technology. For example air conditioners will use more power if the filters arent cleaned regularly and old air conditioners will use far more power than a new inverter model.
Work with thermal energy – do you know where you are losing temperature in your home? It is often through large glass door or window, or through gaps around frames and in floor boards. Try pulling the blinds down to contain thermal energy, or close your downstairs garage if in a two story home. Remember that even living with 1 degree of difference off normal settings will make a significant difference to the amount of energy being used for heating or cooling.
Leaking hot water taps can also cause leaking energy issues when driven by resistive elements. Ensure that hot water systems are either on the full night tariff, or driven by solar. Heat pumps are seemingly very expensive for the outcome, and gas systems use micro amounts of electricity.
As for lighting its is of course best to change to LED as lamps blow. Its currently still challenging to source quality replacements, but we suggest choosing minimum 7 and preferably 12-13W lamps for general applications. Pay attention to the color index, as that more than anything generally determines the quality of the lamp. LED lamps especially in the 13W range do not respond as claimed to temperature and can still get quite hot. Whilst this is highly unlikely to be a fire hazard, it does significantly reduce the life of the lamp. This means paying attention to segregation and spacing requirements, but any light to current standard for incandescent will be ok for LED.
How do I know where my power is being used?
Accurate measurement, logging and trends can be achieved in a variety of means with the most cost effective method dependent upon the site and equipment on hand. In many cases this will be via the inverter logging system or inverter communication modules. If there is no logging present a cheap and comprehensive example is the eMons Energy Monitoring open source project.
The ’emons open source energy monitor’ looks pretty neat. Its a rasberry pi in a little box with wifi that has inputs for 2 x current, 1 or groups of 8 temperature, voltage and pulse. Everything is plug and play, but the clamps (mains and solar) need to be installed by an electrician. The unit is a single small box which sits in or near your switchboard and internally logs energy data. It can communicate wirelessly with good range and offers both web and app access.
There is of course a wealth of information available on the web to analyze and estimate your usage. For example every appliance has an average running cost per hour in watts. These averages can either be found on the web or taken from the ‘appliance plate’ or sticker on the appliance itself. For example a common toaster uses roughly 1000W per hour or 1kWhr.
If for turned it on for 2 hours it would consume 1000W x 2hrs giving 2kWhrs of consumption. Multiply that by a tariff rate of say 30c and you have the running cost. In this example it would cost 60c to run the 1kW toaster for 2 hours.
Why not see for yourself using our simple calculators or give us a call and ask for a detailed assessment?
How else can I save power?
We would suggest reading up first – Energex have a great website here;
or you could look at DIY power monitoring solutions such as here;
or browse some of the devices in the Energy Efficiency section of our shop.
We are of course assuming that you have already installed – or are considering to install solar PV – there is no single greater and cost effective way of reducing your power bill. Take a look at this residential calculator showing how solar PV can reduce your bills from day one!