How much can I lower my power bill through adopting energy efficiency measures?

Published on 09 Jul, 2018 by Andy Sendy

Categories: Power Savings, Solar Power, Electricity bill, Solar incentives, Energy efficiency


Home appliances

 

This table gives a rough insight into how much the appliances in your home cost you. Keep in mind that the price of power used in the table below is $0.15 per Kilowatt hour, you may be paying a different rate, and this would affect the price accordingly.

Device Estimated Consumption Price per hour (@$0.15/kWh) Hours used per day Cost per month
Central air (high use) 4,000 Watts 60 cents 9 $164.3
Central air (low use) 4,000 Watts 60 cents 3 $54.8
Water heater 4,000 Watts 60 Cents 3 $54.8
Clothes dryer 3,000 Watts 45 cents 0.5 $6.8
Dishwasher 1,800 Watts 27 cents 1 $8.2
Space heater 1,500 Watts 22.5 Cents 5 $34.2
Hair drier 1,200 Watts 18 cents 0.2 $1.1
Electric Range burner 1,000 Watts 15 cents 2 $9.1
Computer and monitor 400 Watts 6 cents 4 $7.3
Refrigerator 200 Watts 3 cents 24 $21.9
Television 200 Watts 3 cents 5 $4.6
Incandescent Light bulb (Singular globe) 60 Watts 0.01 cents 6 $1.7
LED Light bulb (Single globe) 10 Watts 0.0015 cents 6 $0.27

How can I save money on my power bill?

The ways to reduce your power usage can be put into two categories;

  • You can look at how you use the devices you have; and
  • You can look at the energy using devices and the building structure to see if either upgrading devices (i.e., installing a new efficient washing machine) or building work (i.e., installing insulation in your roof) can reduce energy usage.

Using the appliances in my home to lower my power bill?

Think about the devices you have (shower, washing machine, TV, etc.). We all have these appliances in our homes; together they draw a significant amount of energy that can end up costing you a pretty penny.

Here are some simple strategies to reduce to amount of power your appliances use:

  • Showers. Everyone loves a nice hot shower, but those long showers can really hit your wallet hard. Short showers reduce the amount of hot water needed and therefore reduces your heating cost. It's recommended that everyone in your household has showers less than 5 minutes. An easy way of keeping track of time is to set a timer or put on a 5-minute playlist.
  • Washing machine. We all use our washing machines all the time, and most people don't realize that a cold wash works just as well as a hot wash and costs a lot less. By simply washing your clothes in a cold wash instead of a hot you will significantly reduce your power bill.
  • Clothes dryer. Hang your clothes on a washing line instead of using a dryer. If you need to dry more than one load, dry them in succession, so the dryer doesn't have to heat up each time.
  • Dishwasher. If your dishwasher manufacturer allows it, after the wash cycle has finished, open up the dishwasher and let the dishes air dry. Also, make sure your dishwasher is clean. A dirty dishwasher not only produces dirty dishes but also makes the dishwasher uses more energy per wash.
  • Fridge. Make sure the coils at the back of your refrigerator are clean and have space between the fridge and the wall. This allows the refrigerator to easily pull in air and cool efficiently.
  • Appliances. This applies to anything that plugs into a wall: Toaster, Kettle, TV, computer, phone charger, etc. Turn off and unplug from the wall when not in use. When the device is turned off but left on at the wall, the electricity continues to flow and is lost in the system. Wires aren't perfect and lose a small amount of the electricity that passes through them. When appliances are left on at the wall, this loss adds up. This is a simple and easy way to save electricity. Most people leave their TV plugged in at the wall all the time and don't realize how much electricity they are wasting.

 

Unplugging cord

What are the best energy efficient products to install in your home?

Installing energy efficient products in your home can be a great way to reduce the amount of energy use. Here are some energy efficient products to help you save money.

  • Install energy efficient globes in all the lights in your home. As you can see from the table, the difference in consumption from an incandescent globe to a LED globe is staggering. Keep in mind the figures given are for a single globe. Doing something as simple as changing your globe can reduce the cost for each light from $1.70 per month to $0.27 per month for each globe. LED’s also last about 15 times as long. You’d be crazy not to make to switch.
  • When buying a new fridge, washing machine, dryer, TV or any appliance, check how much energy the appliance uses. Purchasing new energy efficient products can help reduce your power bill.
  • Installing dimmers and timers on lights.
  • Install energy saving showerhead, faucets or flow restrictors. Water use accounts for a large percentage of an electricity bill. Reducing the amount of water used will decrease your electricity bill and will also reduce your water bill.
  • Wrap your water heater with an insulating jacket or blanket to prevent loss of heat. Ensure that the air intake vent remains uncovered.
  • Install a solar hot water system. Don’t pay for electricity to heat your water, let the sun do it for free.

What are some simple home modifications that I can install on my home to reduce my monthly energy bill?

  • Installing insulation can be the easiest way to reduce your energy bill. Insulation can help keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Having insulation in your home is a must if you don’t have good insulation in your home you should seriously consider installing some.
  • Sealing up any air gaps. Gaps can let air out which can be a huge problem when trying to heat or cool your home. Sealing these can help cool your home faster and increase cooling efficiency by 30%.
  • Installing blinds on windows. In summer months blinds that block the sun can help keep your home cooler.
  • Installing double glazed glass windows. Glazed glass lets less heat in than regular glass and will keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

How can I improve air conditioner efficiency?

As you can see from the table at the top of the page, heating and cooling can account for the majority of the bill. The AC is one power thirsty machine, and can quickly rack up a massive electricity bill if you're not careful. The best way to lower the amount of power is to use it as little as possible. Having said that, no one wants to sit in a steaming hot house on a sweltering summer's day. So, if you want to stay comfortable in summer but don't want to break the bank follow these strategies.

  • Increasing the operating temperature. You may not even notice raising the temperature by a few degrees, but it can make a big difference. Each degree below 78˚F will increase energy usage by 3-4%.
  • Don’t turn it on if you don’t need it. Unless it’s scorching hot (96˚F), consider if you really need to turn your AC on.
  • Clean around the AC unit. Make sure the Unit is free from leaves, bird feathers, plants and other debris. This will put less strain on the AC unit and increase efficiency.
  • Check the air filters. Dirty filters slow air circulation. If cleaning the filters doesn’t help, buy new filters and clean them monthly.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Make sure that your AC unit is shaded. If your unit is shaded it can be up to 10% more efficient than one that is not.
  • Utilize fans. Ceiling fans help circulate air around your home. Fan use considerably less power than an AC unit and can do a great job in helping cool your home. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, it may be a good idea to install one.
  • Make sure windows are covered. Blocking sunlight from entering your home helps your home stay cool, this, in turn, means your AC unit doesn’t have to work as hard.
  • Check your home for air leaks and insulate them. Air leaks can let all the cold air escape, blocking these can help your home cool faster. Cold air escaping from your home can account for as much as thirty percent of additional cooling costs.

How can I use TOU rates to my advantage?

The major utilities are offering TOU (Time of Use Rates), this rate plan provides electricity at peak and non-peak rates. Under this plan, electricity costs more at peak times (typically between 4-8pm in summer and 6-9am and 6-9pm in winter) and less at non-peak times. TOU plans are an increasing trend among utilities; they expect that most of Americans will be on TOU plans by 2019.

To make the most of TOU rates customers need to use their power at non-peak times and use minimal power at peak times. This means cooling and heating your home should be done at non-peak times. If you have an Electric Vehicle, charge your car at night during non-peak times.

This seems trivial but under TOU rates if you can hold off till non-peak before you do a load of washing or turn on the AC. It could end up drastically reducing your power bill. These suggestions will help reduce your power bill. Use this calculator to get the best rate plan for you.

How can Smart meters help me save money on my power bill?

Before a utility can offer TOU (time of use rates), they need to install a smart meter in your home. A smart meter lets the utility track your usage in real time, hour by hour or even minute by minute. As a customer, a smart meter allows you to easily track your energy usage through a mobile app or website. This gives the customer the ability to see in real time how much energy they are using and adjust their usage accordingly.

So, if you're away and your son or daughter has the AC on full, the TV on and every light in the house on, you can monitor this from anywhere in the world. It also allows you to trial energy-saving strategies and see the results very quickly.

Contact your utility for more information on smart meters.

How would solar affect my power bill?

Solar is by far the best way to save money on your power bill. Solar can set your current electricity bill to $0. Solar has many options available to people which make it easier than ever to make the switch to clean renewable energy. Loan, lease, and PPA (power purchase agreements) options give customers the option to pay $0 upfront for solar and pay a monthly bill less than your original power bill. If you wish to save the maximum amount of money and purchase a system outright, you could save $60,000 over the lifetime of the system (25 years).

Right now, solar incentives are extremely generous, the ITC (Solar Investment Tax Credit) will pay for 30% of your total system cost, and some states have even more incentives which can save you thousands. The ITC will start to wind down in 2019. If you’ve ever considered getting solar, get in now while the government incentives are as good as they will ever be. See how much solar can save you.



Author: Andy Sendy

Andrew Sendy is the Chairman of Solar Investments Inc and also Chairman of the largest solar panel installation company in South Australia.