We seem to always talk about the cool stuff we do in regards to energy efficiency like: LED lights, reverse cycle heat pumps, solar hot water and solar power. And yes, these are awesome fun and all essential in reaching that self sufficiency goal.
Yet, there are far more simpler things we can do to lower our power bills with very little effort and every single one of these revolves around simply using less.
Hot water is one of the largest single consumers of power in the family home. Yes, you could have cold showers but I doubt that’s going to win many votes in your household. So what can you do? Shorter showers is the first obvious solution. If you have a standard shower head using 10 litres per minute and half of that is hot water thats 5 litres per minute.
In 15 minutes thats 75 litres (or around 4kWh/68 cents on tariff 41). If you have 4 people that’s $2.72 per day and over a 90 day billing period, that’s around $245 on your power bill. Therefore, taking 5 minute showers is around $82 on your power bill. Or 2 minute showers just $32 on your power bill.
Likewise, an energy and water efficient shower head will reduce the flow rate so instead of consuming 10 litres of water per minute I have seen these as low as just 3.5 litres per minute. I have had these when I was living in a house on tank water and reducing the water consumption was far more important in that particular scenario than the energy savings and they do alright.
Hopefully, we can now see how just small changes can lead to big changes in your power bills.
Turn the lights off when you’re not using them and as bulbs blow replace them with LED bulbs. Not only do they use around 80% less energy they last at least 5 times longer. Though lighting is typically not a huge issue on power bills, around 10% unless you have halogen down lights as they can be heinously expensive to run plus a high fire risk due to their heat.
Heating & Cooling
Heating or cooling is another high energy consumer and in most cases the highest by a long way. Heat/cool the areas you are using, close the doors, use draft excluders/door snakes, close the curtains to keep comfortable temperature inside and the Tassie temperatures out. Opening windows, encouraging natural ventilation and the fresh air will do you more good than harm in summer. These are the simple things.
But do you know what is the most beneficial thing you can do to lower your heating and cooling costs if you are using reverse cycle air conditioners or other electric heating devices?
When you’re heating the house, turn the thermostat down and when cooling turn the thermostat up.
A weird observation I have noticed is that I see homes in Summer time with their AC turned to 18 degrees Celsius but the same home in winter the temperature is set at 21 to 22 degrees.
When heating, every degree above 21 degrees, in a typical house, you could expect around a 15% increase in running costs. The physics on this are clear, as the hotter a home is the quicker the energy leaves the building. This means the more energy is required to replace it. The opposite is true for cooling. The colder it is versus the hotter it is outside, the more energy that is required to keep the house cool.
The energy savings at running the home at 18 degrees Celcius are huge, as opposed to 21 degrees in winter and running the home at 21 degrees for summer for cooling likewise, is good for your back pocket.
Refrigeration is a must for this time of year as we all like a cool beverage or just stop our foods turning to compost in the summer heat. This can be a high appliance load especially at this time of year as the hotter temperatures mean the applicants are working harder. Simple things would be making a quick selection of what’s in the fridge. Standing there with the door open, thinking about what you are going to put in your sandwich, is literally letting all the cold air out and it has to be replaced by the fridge sucking the energy back out of that space which costs you money. Go to the fridge with a plan of attack instead of looking for inspiration.
Fill your fridge up with bottled water. It adds to the thermal mass and reduces the amount of air in the fridge and as we have discussed previously, air is a terrible medium to store and contain energy (or in this case being cold the absence of energy). It reduces the amount of cold air lost every time the door is opened and who doesn’t like cold water at this time of year.
We do talk about the cool stuff that DMS Energy do in the realms of energy efficiency. The LG & Q.CELLS solar panels and the SolarEdge inverter systems, the NEOPOWER solar hot water systems, LG and Actron heat pumps or reverse cycle air conditioners do seem to hog the lime light, but little changes can be the most efficient out of all the above. Low to no cost in materials and most largely revolve around breaking bad habits or just making the connections between how we live and operate appliances and the relationship these actions have on our power bills every 90 days.
If you dont use it they cant charge you for it.
Or likewise you can call DMS Energy and we can have you harvesting, consuming and storing your own energy so you still get to stick to the man and live like a King or Queen.