Take control of your power bill today

How many times have you braced yourself for a nasty shock when opening the electricity bill? Many of us experience this scenario every quarter when that dreaded envelope lands in the mailbox. What if there was a way to avoid going through this anxiety-inducing situation?

As electronic gadgets increasingly become part of our day to day life, slowly but surely our home electricity needs increase. Where once we would have battled with a hand-operated can opener, now the task is easily performed by an electric model. The simple job of brushing our teeth has been automated with electric toothbrushes becoming a common sight in many bathrooms. The list of gadgets is almost endless, our homes are full of electronic versions of what were once manual contraptions. Each needing power.

A surprising portion of the power used by some of these electrical items is consumed when they are not in use, on standby, idle or sleep modes. If you actually added up all the appliances which are ‘on’ in some form when you’re at work or out of the house you’d be shocked. An average house could have:

  • an alarm clock (or two)
  • an electric hot water system heating the water
  • an electric toothbrush charging
  • the fridge cooling your food
  • an electric kettle on standby (if it has an electronic display)
  • the microwave clock
  • the oven clock
  • the coffee machine on standby
  • a computer on standby
  • a modem or router
  • the television on standby
  • a PVR or set-top box on standby
  • a tablet or laptop on charge
  • the washing machine on standby

That’s 14 items that could be drawing power each day without you even being at home. This list would just be the beginning for many homes. What about those homes with multiple computers or TVs, a spare fridge, or a charging station that keeps the Bluetooth speakers, camera battery and the robot vacuum cleaner ready for use.

It’s true that most of these appliances only use a small amount of power on standby but if you look at it from a plumbing perspective, a dripping tap can waste around 3 litres a day, that’s 1095 litres over a year. That’s a lot of water, and a lot of electricity, every little bit adds up.

Appliance calculator

Becoming more educated about how much power our appliances use allows us to make decisions about the way we use different appliances and how often. Knowing more gives you, the consumer, power over the electricity bills, rather than the other way around.

An appliance calculator is a handy tool that allows you to get a better idea of what is using the most power in your home. From this, you can make educated decisions on how you choose to use them. Give the appliance calculator at Switch On a go to see how much the appliances in your home are costing you to run.

Factors that can affect how much power an appliance uses

There are a few variables that can affect the power use of different appliances. Factors such as:

  •  age of the appliance – newer models tend to be more energy efficient
  •  frequency of use – if you wash part loads twice a day with a hot wash every time you’ll use more power than washing full loads less often on the cold setting
  •  appliance repair – a fridge with a damaged seal has to use more energy to stay cool, most appliances have to work harder if one or more parts are damaged or broken
  •  maintenance schedule – regular maintenance and servicing will keep appliances like the air conditioner or pool pump running efficiently

Home energy audit

Another way of taking control of your home power use is to get a professional home energy audit. During the audit, an electrician will review each appliance with a usage meter to predict the hourly, quarterly and yearly cost of running each electrical item. For more information on home energy audits and how they can help your home save, visit – home energy audit.

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