Chopping some power bills

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by AgB deano, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. AgB deano

    AgB deano Member

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    After getting a bit tired of receiving $700+ power bills, I've decided to invest some time and money into cutting these costs a bit for our household.

    I've since ordered a Jaycar Mains Power Meter, a house full of Phillips 25w Compact Fluorescent Lamps and have been looking at this Jaycar Mains Standby Power Saver with IR Receiver to start my power saving regime. The standby meter will be used for a bunch of home theater gear (TV, amp, 2x DVR, 1x VCR, 1x DVDR) that is on standby for a good 20 hours a day.

    I'm still not sold on how useful the IR switch is though, I mean has anyone here got one? Does it actually detect the IR well or is it just a pain in the arse?

    Failing that I was thinking of getting the Jaycar
    Remote Controlled 240V Mains Outlets
    as these seem to be a solution guaranteeing less hassle and will actively reduce standby usage - given they remember to switch it off when they are done.

    Other thing's I am doing is underclocking/undervolting systems that mostly idle and generally getting pissy with everyone when they leave shit on :lol:

    Any other simple solutions that I can incorporate into my regime?

    Also a good point to note is that my parents are investing in a 2kW solar heating system as well :)
     
  2. Simpleguy304au

    Simpleguy304au Member

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    do you have air conditioning ??
     
  3. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    With a bill that high first step would be working out where all the power is going. I suspect the bulk of it is going in heating, cooling or cooking. Whilst reducing the amount of energy used keeping the roaches warm with units in standby is a good move it may make for a very small impact on the overall bill.
    If you have time of day tarrifs using the lowest rate period for whetever you can could also reduce your costs.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    AgB deano

    AgB deano Member

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    Yeah we've got an Braemar Signature Series evaporative tower with ducting to all of the rooms. It is quite efficient and now spends most days sitting at the lowest possible speed.

    We've also got a large inground concrete solar heated pool. With what you mentioned about the offpeak tarriff's I've now set the barracuda to only do its thing during off peak times and the solar heating kicks in when the pool temp gets below 27 and I might look into getting a timer to operate it between 2-4pm or only when we actually switch it on.

    Another thing is we have 2x 20,000 litre rainwater tanks. A good bit of the power bill is running the motor that feeds that into our house and other points for general usage as these (given decent rain) can sometimes last us most of a year.

    I know I won't be able to see massive savings but as far as i'm concerned at least i'm doing something about it. Half the problem in this household is we just pay the bill, don't really look into how it can be reduced.

    Still after as many tips as I can get :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  5. OP
    OP
    AgB deano

    AgB deano Member

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    Cheers for the advice, that measure strategy is what I have in mind. I plan to work out how we get to that $700p/q figure, take out the essentials and work on the rest :)
     
  6. myforwik

    myforwik Member

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    Those 433Mhz wireless power points at Jaycar are really good, the IR stuff is crap, you want to be able to hide the power boards out of the way etc.

    You might also want to check out www.smarthome.com.au. They sell X10 power line control stuff, you can control things via your existance power lines. You can switch power points off remotely, you can even get a PC USB interface and have it all timed by your server etc. Have a look around that site they have heaps of cool stuff for home automation etc.

    I think switching completely off all your hifi gear will save heaps of power. Like I switch completely off TV, PS3, sound system etc. etc. Hifi setup can be 100W or more in standby. Some sony hifi's like mine have fake standby, they just turn the screen off but continue to draw 50W. I have also found that my dlink wireless router, which has an old transformer, not a SMPS, it draws about 50W just sitting their.... and the power adaptor gets over 60 degrees...

    My logictech speakers draw 50W even when the power switch is in the off position. I have a blender that has a blue backlight display, it draws 40 friggin watt just sitting there all day! My oven draws about 30W. My microwave draws about 20W. Anything with a clock in it that blinks away is almost certain to draw 20-50W just from the inefficiencies of their transformers or SMPS's.

    The best way to save power is to simply shut computers down and completely disconnect them. Even the standby current due to the inefficiency of the SMPS can cause the PC's to draw 30W when turned off. Do you really need server on all night? If there are no downloads/recordings going on, shut them off. Modern bios' should be able to boot at a certain time every morning based on time alarm, or you can trigger boot via network etc. A single PC can easily be 200W - 300W constantly... thats about $50 per bill.

    The biggest power draw in any house will always be motors/pumps, vaccum cleaners and cooking appliances. If you have a pool oversize your filter by miles. For example I have a sand filter that can filter a pool about 6 times the size of mine. Because its so big the pressure remains low and you can pass much more water in less time. On my new filter I can run the pump for 3 hours in summer and 1 on winter, instead of 8 hours in summer and 3-4 hours in winter.

    Hard wired ovens can draw 5000W+ making them cost nearly $1 per hour. make sure people always use the timer and switch them off.

    You will find a big saving if you can greatly reduce the number of times you use a washing machine or dish washer. Modern washing machines can be loaded far far more than people realise. Get weigh scales and see how much 8kg of clothes actually weigh, you can really cram heaps into them.

    The best way to save money is to get a dodgy electrician to wire into your off-peak tarriff. There are stupid rules that say the off peak tarrif must be hardwired to devices and not to any power points, but thats crap, you want as much of your house on it as possible. You can even by active swith overs that can switch your main 20A lines between offpeak and peak when offpeak is cut off saving you big $$$, but im not sure if this is legal...
     
  7. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    having set the timer to off-peak doesn't mean it's on the off-peak tariff
    you need to have the pump wired to the off-peak side of things, otherwise you're still paying peak rates
     
  8. frenzal

    frenzal Member

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    Could you elaborate a bit? So your power meter is hooked up to different power circuits? How are you supposed to know what is on which? That sounds really dodgy.
     
  9. watteez

    watteez Member

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    this would be the case in Brisbane, though Vic has time of use meters
     
  10. LethalCorpse

    LethalCorpse Member

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    It is, not to mention highly illegal, carrying massive fines if you're caught. Ignore this tool.
     
  11. frenzal

    frenzal Member

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    Don't worry had no plans to do anything like that would need my own place for one.
     
  12. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    ok, my terminology is not quite right, the off-peak i mentioned is actually a "controlled tariff"
    electric hot water is often on a different tariff, the supply authority can switch this on and off to help with load shedding. it is totally legal to have other appliances hard wired to this tariff
     
  13. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    Just to back up MUTMAN - It's not dodgy at all. If you have multiple tariffs you have multiple power meters in your switchboard. Usually the hot water system is connected to a different tariff (ie, power meter) so the supply authority can turn your hot water system on and off to balance loads out, giving them this ability means that you get a cheaper rate for the devices connected to that meter.
     
  14. MagyaR

    MagyaR Member

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    I purchased a jaycar watt meter as well, my

    S6 Samsung LCD draws around 170~ watts ON 27 watts stand by
    my pc's draw 12 watts when off
    gaming machine draws around 150-180~watts ON
    HTPC around 60-90watts
    xbox 49watts ON 7 watts stand by
    fridge 2200 watts when turned on and 150watts when motor running.

    Fridge is a killer, I'm borrowing it from relo's so it's free but massive.
     
  15. BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    My girl friend and I use about $1.10 of electricity a day each. 2 computers that we switch off when not in use, a big telly and a fridge. Oh, a small heater and an air-conditioner too, which are only used sparingly.

    We pay for the green power too. What's everyone else's daily electricity cost?
     
  16. Onyx

    Onyx Member

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    If your ultimate goal is to save on your electric bills, as opposed to reducing your electrical consumption (it's not a linear relationship), figure out when your electricity supplier considers peak, shoulder and off-peak times. Then do what you can to change your electrical consumption around those times, eg. schedule a load of washing away from peak times.

    Also if your hot water is electrically heated, and you live alone or don't have a large family/high demands, you can get away with switching off the hot water heater at the switchboard in daytime hours. So it's on only during the offpeak hours (11pm to 7am for me), with the storage capacity holding enough and the insulation being sufficient enough for hto water to last throughout the day.
     
  17. Amran

    Amran Member

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    I have a few of those Jaycar power meters - they seem great but I've been told they are inaccurate for inductive loads (whatever they are?).

    My fridge in particular gives a spastic reading which is bad because fridges can really affect the power bill.

    Article on Dansdata about it somewhere, sry I don't have time to find it for ya!
     
  18. s3kemo

    s3kemo Member

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    i live on my own, pretty much the same usage as you only i dont use a heater (i like the cold :)). at last calculation i use about $1.50 a day, but i consider that expensive since i leave all the lights on all the time when i'm home, and buy the brightest bulbs i can find. so this billing period i'm experimenting with turning off unused lights will do for my bill.

    my summer usage is lower because i only have cold showers in summer and only use hot water for dishes and occasional hot water laundry (mostly cold wash).
     
  19. Thrawn

    Thrawn Member

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    Your Jaycar power meter is crap for measuring some things.

    Example my PC. Reads about 130 watts at load with a one PSU, switch to a different PSU and it reads 400 watts (which is more accurate). I think its something to do with PFC that it can't correct properly.
     
  20. Untaag

    Untaag Member

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    Inductive loads are things like motors. Which your fridge would certainly have.

    It all depends on the supply authority though and the type of customer they consider you to be.
    I'm not sure where you live OP, but in Qld Ergon Energy has a number of tariffs which may be beneficial to you. If you ARE in regional Qld, shoot me a pm and I might be able to help you out.
    http://www.ergon.com.au/home/electricity_for_your_home/ep_domestic.asp?yf=true&platform=PC
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009

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