How to cut down on power use in family rooms
If your family spend a lot of their down time in family rooms such as the lounge, study or games room, you might be curious to see if there are ways to reduce your electricity prices in these areas.
Here are a few tips to cut power bills down this summer.
Open the curtains, shut the blinds
In the summer months you can harness the power of the sun to light up your home. If you close the curtains you may be blocking out the natural glow and could be more inclined to flick the light switch.
Leave the curtains open and let the rays in. If it is too hot, consider cracking a window to let a cooling breeze filter through the room.
Alternatively, if you have blinds, make sure they are angled correctly for the summer. If you have a light coloured roof, tilt your blinds to reflect the sun's light onto the ceiling as it will be diffused by the light shade of paint.
Interior blinds are a useful addition to your property in the summer months. They can reduce heat gain by 45 per cent if they are completely closed, according to the US Department of Energy.
This could prevent you relying so much on high energy air conditioners and other cooling methods.
Outside shades can also be used to lower soaring inside temperatures as they can help reduce the amount of power required to maintain a cooler home.
If you have incandescent bulbs, switch them over to the fluorescent (CFL) or led equivalent. While you might pay a slightly elevated upfront cost, these globes will pay for themselves in terms of energy savings.
CFL and led lights also last longer, meaning you will not need to fork out for replacements as often.
If you have fluorescent bulbs, keep them on if you're only leaving the room for a few minutes, while led lights can be switched off and turned back on again.
CFL bulbs require an initial surge of power, but do not suck up much energy when they heat up, so it is fine to leave them going.
Another helpful tip to save power is to use lamps rather than overhead main lights if you only need a small area lit.
Switch off the computer and tv
While it can be a temptation to leave these appliances on standby, you are much better switching them off at the wall when they are not in use.
DVD players, printers, scanners and stereos are other appliances that suck up power and you may not even realise you have left them.
Check these items at night before bed so you know they are switched off. If you incorporate it into your daily routine, it may make it easier to remember. Or, you could allocate this task to one of your children. It will help them to be mindful of how much electricity they use.
Switch chargers off
If your household relies on chargers to power their electronic equipment, make sure everyone gets in the habit of switching them off once their technology is fully charged.
Installing solar panels can help you reduce your electricity expenditure and depending on your electricity supplier, you may also be able to get a discount or rebate on your bills.
The typical Australian household chews through around 18 kilowatt hours of electricity each day, so installing a 1-2 kilowatt solar system can reduce your bill by around 25 - 40 per cent, according to the Department of Industry.
There are rebates available and some households may be able to get assistance with the initial cost of setting up a solar system.
Another benefit is that you will receive small-scale technology certificates (STCs) which can help you save money on the cost. These work as a form of currency and can be exchanged with the installer for a cash discount or you can sell them. Try your luck on the free market or alternatively you can accept the stable price of $40 per certificate in the STC clearing house.
Use fans rather than air conditioning when possible
If you have a ceiling fan installed in the family rooms, switch this on rather than relying on the more expensive air conditioning unit.
However, this may depend on the climate you live in and the size of the room you need to cool down.
Fans are a more economic choice, but they do not impact the temperature of the room. Instead they simply create a breeze which provides a 'wind chill' factor to make your body cooler.
However, if a fan is not enough to help you beat the heat on its own, you can use if in conjunction with your air conditioning unit.
Use your fan at first and then switch to the air conditioning or alternatively, first cool the air with the air conditioning unit and then circulate that cooled air by using the fan.
This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool down the air when the mercury rises.
Posted by Liam Tunney.