We’re used to hearing it’s going to be a scorcher in the lead up to an Australian summer. But the 2016/17 summer months are edging at the title. As early as November, the Bureau of Meteorology issued heatwave warnings for southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Turning up the air con is a default move for many of us when the mercury climbs, but understanding how you use energy with an active solar monitoring tool like Solar Command is a big step towards using energy smarter. And with that knowledge comes plenty of other options for keeping cool and help keep energy bills down.
Here are tips to take control of your household energy usage and make the most of solar this summer.
A smarter air-con.
Rather than cranking up the fan force on the air conditioner when you get home, get it to work smarter during the day. By understanding how you use energy, it’s possible to set timers that capitalise on off-peak rates or when your solar system is at peak production.
Setting its timer or sensor to turn on for periods throughout the day will keep the temperature from rising too steeply and you’ll feel less like you’ve stepped into a sauna when you get home. It’s recommended you keep your thermostat at 26°C in summer, as every degree below this could add 10 per cent to your running costs. 1
Around the globes.
When you only need minimal light, opt for lamps over the lights for the entire room. You can also use sensor lights for areas you aren’t in for very long at night, like outside or in the garage – take the extra step and power them with solar.
It’s all about timing.
Solar powered households can make sure they’re using their appliances and panels most efficiently by getting them to work together. Avoid using grid energy, by setting timers on dishwashers, washing machines and pool pumps to work during the day and use energy when your panels are soaking up sunlight.
You could also save dollars by installing a standby power controller – which cuts off power to electronic devices when they’re switched to standby mode – or by simply switching off appliances at the wall.
Keep your fridge chilled.
The second fridge is almost as common to the Australian verandah or garage as the barbecue. But being on ‘round the clock also means they end up being the most expensive appliance in the home – running two is a needless doubling of those costs. When you’re choosing appliances to buy, like a fridge, compare the energy rating of different brands and models. The higher the rating, the better the savings you could see on your quarterly bills.
Track your energy usage.
Just like your water bill tells how much you’re using and the average litres per person to aim for, you can self-monitor your energy usage. Products like Solar Command, which connects to your solar system, give you the latest information on your energy consumption via an online dashboard and when you’re using the most energy. It also lets you know how much energy your solar system is generating and how they’re performing when it comes to saving you money on using less power from the grid.
Looking to keep on top of how your solar is performing? Talk to us about Solar Command today.
1 Estimated figure provided by Carbon Cops show factsheet accessed December 2016. Carbon Cops is a December Films and FremantleMedia Australia production, with association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.