An average power account is made up of:
- 33% Hot water
- 42% Refrigeration, Cooking and other appliances
- 13% Heating
- 12% Lighting
- Check the temperature of the water and turn down if necessary, 55 C at the tap is the economy temperature. The hottest water you need is probably for washing dishes, use that as a guide and if you add cold water to do the dishes turn the thermostat down.
- Fix dripping taps, a hot tap dripping at the rate of one drip per second wastes 28 litres of hot water per day. ( approx. 36 cents per day )
- If your cylinder feels warm or hot to touch cover with a cylinder wrap to minimise heat loses, insulate the cylinder outlet pipe ( pipe lagging ) by at least a metre and any exposed hot water pipes.
- A shower uses less water than a bath. For added saving fit an energy efficient showerhead.
- Check overflow vent pipe regularly to pick up problems with the Ajax valve.
- Do not run the hot tap unnecessarily, e.g. if only a small wash up use a large bowl rather than fill the whole sink. Fill your electric jug with cold water unless the hot tap is already running hot. Always put in the plug, hand and dish washing under a running tap is wasteful.
- Use cold water washes rather than hot or warm in your washing machine. The optimum wash temperature for removing soil and dissolving detergent is 20 C and this can be reached by only adding a small amount of hot water to the wash.
- If your hot water use is small talk to your energy retailer about changing your hot water tariff to night rate. You could trial this yourself by turning your hot water on when you go to bed and turning it off when you get up in the morning (the actual hours are 11.00 PM - 7.00 AM) if you still have plenty of hot water for dishes at night or that last shower or bath, night rate could suit you. If you have a lot of visitors to stay hanging to night rate may not be a good idea. Ask your energy retailer the cost to change tariffs and take this into consideration when calculating your savings.
Refrigerators and Freezers
- If purchasing a new model look at the Energy Rating Label, this will tell you how energy efficient it is (the more stars the more efficient) and also the annual energy consumption in units. Remember when comparing brands compare the same size in each.
- Defrost freezers regularly.
- If your fridge or freezer is quite empty put in a few bottles of cold water to store the cold.
- Avoid leaving doors open unnecessarily.
- Provide adequate ventilation around top, sides and back of units.
- Check door seals are securely fitted and clean regularly.
- Cool hot food before placing in fridge or freezer.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored.
- Think ahead - defrost your food in the fridge instead of the microwave. This keeps the fridge cool too.
- Maintain a constant temperature of around 4 C for the fridge and -18C for freezers, or use the ice cream and lettuce test. In the freezer ice cream should not get too icy or too soft and if lettuce leaves freeze in the fridge, the fridge is too cold.
- If you suspect your fridge or freezer is running more than it should or if it's old you can borrow a checkmeter from Northpower and see exactly what energy the unit is using. This applies to all plug- in appliances.
- The more refrigerators and freezers you have the more they cost to run. Ask yourself, do you need to have them all running?
Cooktops and Stoves
- Use the microwave as much as possible.
- Use the minimum of water in pots and keep the lids on when cooking as much as possible.
- Bring pots to the boil then turn down and simmer until cooked to conserve energy.
- Match the size of the pan to the size of the element and use flat-bottomed saucepans for maximum impact with elements.
- Steamers enable two things to be cooked on the one element.
- When using the oven try and cook more than one thing at a time, e.g. while a casserole is cooking cook a cake or dessert at the same time
- Check the oven seals regularly.
- Do not leave the oven door open as a heater. An oven on can draw 4 kilowatts that could cost $1.25 an hour.
- Turn the oven off well before serving; food will continue to cook for some time in a switched - off oven.
- A pressure cooker, crock-pot, simmer-on, electric frypan and of course the microwave all use less energy than the oven.
Washing Machines and Driers
- Use cold water washes.
- A washing machine with a higher spin speed will extract more moisture from the clothes and reduce the drying time.
- If possible have a clothesline undercover for those wet days so the drier can be used for a minimum time, e.g. to air or to finish drying only.
- Avoid over- drying, a sensor drier minimises this but is more expensive to buy.
- Duct your drier to the outside and clean out the filter after every use.
- Turn off unwanted lights.
- In main living areas or lights that are left on for long periods of time install compact fluorescent lights. These use 20% of the energy of a standard bulb and last 12 times longer but initially cost more to buy.
- Clean your light bulbs and fittings regularly, dust and dirt lowers the lighting output.
- Instead of rooms being a blaze of light it is better to have locality lighting with individual switching.
- Insulation will considerably reduce your energy needs. Where possible insulate ceiling, walls and floors.
- Eliminate draughts around windows and doors.
- Heavy drapes that cover the sides and bottom of windows keep the heat in.
- Close or block up fireplaces that are seldom used.
- On winter days close windows by midday and let the sun warm the house during the afternoon. Draw the drapes as soon as the sun goes down to hold in the heat.
- A heater with a thermostat is more economical to run than one without as long as the thermostat cycles on and off. It also maintains an even, constant temperature.
- Choose the type of heater that best suit your room and your needs. Portable electric heaters are 100% efficient; heat pumps can be more than 300% efficient.
- It is more economical to heat the room you're in or yourself than trying to heat the whole house.
- Timers on heaters can be useful for controlling when you want the heat, e.g. when you get up in the morning or for when you get home at night.
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