Hot Water Service (HWS)

Hot water systems use a lot of power. You can save quite a lot of money by installing a timer on your existing system if you do not have the money for a solar HWS. Instead of the unit switching on frequently throughout the day, it switches on only in the desired period. For example a family of four with average water usage (showers not baths) can get by with the system switching on for: 15 minutes in the morning before the bedside alarm goes off, 5 minutes in the middle of the day, 15 minutes in the afternoon before the afternoon shower and dinner period.

Mostly the timer will fit straight into a newer switchboard or can be mounted externally to the switchboard as well. Call us and we’ll see what we can do for you!

Other things you could do include: insulating (lagging) the hot water pipes from the HWS, having 3-5 minute showers, installing a low flow shower head.

Also, if you go on holiday, why not switch off the HWS altogether?

Roof Insulation

In an older home (or the one you are designing) go the extra mile with insulation. It will keep your house cooler during the day and warm at night. Your air-conditioning won’t need to work as hard or turn on as often if good insulation keeps the temperature inside consistent. We built a large shed and used good quality foil air cell insulation on the walls and roof. It’s surprisingly cool inside even though the shed is in full sun all day. With an air vent at the high point of your roof for heat exit and some vents in the eaves for cool air to enter your house could be up to 5 degrees cooler every day.

Airconditioners

If your old window rattler stops working, invest in an inverter type aircon. They cost more in the initial outlay, but will save money in the long term. Because an aircon is basically a big fridge, the compressor turning on-off-on throughout the day is what costs you money. So if you can bare to raise the temperature a couple of degrees whenever you run your air con you’ll save money there too. Using ceiling fans instead is a positive step also. If buying an aircon, buy a unit suitable to the size of the room you want to cool.

Pools

Use a timer for pumps and chlorinator, either plug in or hardwired are available. Solar heating is also recommended. You can even DIY with a roof mounted black poly pipe system and a small solar pump, but you’ll probably only want it in dry season.

Computers

Set the sleep when inactive and screen off timer to only a couple of minutes so you save power when not using the PC.

Kitchen

Cooking: If you own a pressure cooker, you can nearly halve the required power as an electric oven takes to cook your Sunday roast! Also, be sure to thaw your meat totally before cooking as it will take less time cooking. Opening the oven door too often will also slow down the cooking process and cost you money. Using the fan forced setting saves time and energy used in cooking.

If you have a ducted range hood, make sure it vents into the ceiling and through correct ducting outside the house. Otherwise you are heating up your ceiling space as well as your house. Ranges venting into the ceiling just coat everything with grease, oil and fat as well.

Use the toaster or sandwich maker rather than the electric grill.

Turn appliances off at the wall if they have a standby light.

Fridge: think of what you want to eat before opening the door. Kids especially can raise the internal temperature of the fridge by many increments by day dreaming with the door open about what they want to eat. Fridges are more efficient when they have the recommended space filled with food. Is that empty beer fridge costing money in power?

Freezers: defrost them regularly and keep them at the recommended level of storage.

Laundry

Only wash the clothes when you have a full load and only use a cold cycle. Remember that a small wash costs about the same as a large wash.  Do you really need to use that clothes dryer? Here in the tropics during dry season, clothes can be dry in a few hours.

Lighting

Fluorescent lights use much less power than halogens or the standard incandescent. Compact fluorescents are a good alternative that aren’t too expensive to buy. Just because it’s cheap at the shop, doesn’t mean it’s cheap to run.

Led lights can use 1/5th of the power that a 50W halogen uses. They also last for many years longer than halogens. That’s a huge power saving. we strongly recommend making the switch to LED lighting for the great power saving benifits that can be experienced and how much cheaper to run they are.

Timers and movement sensors are a good way to save power. Whether it’s a sensor in the garage or the bathroom. Dimming existing lights will also work toward a lower bill.

Natural light if free, sometimes a skylight will light a room up just as much (or more) than lighting can.

Remember: If it’s not in use, switch it off.

Appliances

Appliances with standby mode should be turned off at the wall to save power. Anything that has a standby light, turn off when not in use.

By Jon Story