It's nearly winter and the temperature is starting to drop, particularly at night. Unfortunately, when the temperature drops, our power bills tend to rise dramatically.
In the discussion below, please share your tips for saving energy and keeping your power bill as low as possible.
What are some of the ways that you save energy in your home?
May 2016 - last edited May 2016
I'm a big fan of the humble draught stopper. Cheap and can make a big difference to the temperature of a room. Also make sure your doors and windows are well sealed.
I'm passionate about this topic. I would really like to reduce our dependency on electricity and maybe even go off the grid. I want to install solar panels on the roof and get some batteries that can store the electricity we would generate. I was really excited when I saw the Tesla Powerwall and hoping they become widely available and affordable soon. I've also just seen that Solarhart are offering batteries so must investigate...
A few years ago we got a couple of energy saving powerboards that turn all devices off (at the wall) rather than keep them in stand-by mode. So if you turn off the tv, the amplifier and PVR and the games console also go off. Same goes for the computer one - it turns off the monitor and the speakers as well. Devices in standby mode can use up a surprising amount of power.
Hi Isobel, I too am a fanatic on solar power and trying to minimise our impact on the environment. Minimising the profits of the power companies is also a good thing!
The Tesla Powerwall is just one of many alternatives out there and is quite pricey at the moment. Enphase have a similar solution but much more within reach of the regular Aussie. I'm still holding off on this storage idea as I'm sure the price will drop in the near future.
A good source for all things solar is solarquotes.com.au. I find this site very enlightening and a good resource for all things solar albeit it with some rather political leanings!
Henno, you & Isobel have earnt my unreserved thumbs up.
Your mention of solarquotes.com.au is a path that we took, but as you say, people need to tread carefully.
We'd previously commited to a company that touts itself (without naming names), that energy matters. Long story short, they wouldn't install, until we had a structural engineer approve the gang-nail truss triangulation modifications that were made to accomodate a ducted air conditioning install, some 30ish years ago. I went above & beyond compliance, by replacing the nail truss members that had been removed, while leaving in place the modded trusses that had stood the test of time. They didn't budge on their brainless stance, so we gave them the flick.
Madison Australia caught our attention on solarquotes.com.au, & with a cursory glance of my truss fix overkill, they gave an immediate thumbs up.
They sent fixed quotes for several options, all of which utilised superior panels that were conservatively rated, giving a higher capacity system, at a lower price. As luck would have it, the authorities refused the larger system capability install, as they'd already sanctioned our previously submitted 5Kw system. No problem, we went with the conservatively rated 4.8Kw system, & saved over $2K. Oh how I love poking my tongue at authority. : )
Crux of the matter, shop around, use solarquotes.com.au, & ignore the urge to go with companies that spend up big on advertising, but don't have a clue when energy matters.
It sounds silly to run an air conditioner during the day while no-one is home, but you'll need to run it less in the evenings, when you're paying peak tariff rates. Of course it all amounts to nothing if your house isn't insulated properly, so check what insulation you have, & how long ago it was installed. Insulation is the best bang for buck money saver, so even if you decide to retro install cavity insulation in your double brick home (like chose to do), you'll find that isn't cheap, but the interior temperatures are a lot more stable/consistent throughout, & your heater/cooler won't have to work as hard.
Don't get me wrong, insulation doesn't stop heat gain or loss, & that can be seen if researching purpose built ice chests. The very best of them do an amazing job, but can only maintain food storage temperatures for 5 days.
Shade your hottest (Western) walls to reduce the harsh sun bearing on it, then the cavity insulation slows it's ingress, & the air condition has an easier time coping. Having solar, good insulation, & setting the air con on a timer, will mean that you're cooling is mostly free. On that note, do not wait for the inner walls to heat up before switching on the air-con, it will not only have to cool the airspace of the interior, but also have to try to suck the heat out of that high thermal mass wall too. I found this all out the hard way, so learn from my mistakes & enjoy affordable comfort.