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The winter chill has come early again this year so the monthly electricity bills will be soaring. Oily raggers have lots of ideas on how to keep electricity costs down. Here are some we thought may be of interest.
Andrew from Mt Maunganui says, “Water heating is your major energy user. The weather is hot over summer... so I just turn off the hot water altogether and take cold showers etc - cold for everything! I only light the room I am in and turn things off at the wall when I have finished with them. My electricity bill is down to $28 a month! For hot water.. why not go solar. I bought a camping solar shower for $5 and use that for my hot water needs.”
Mackie from Auckland has a money saving tip for showers. “Hot water accounts for at least a third of your power bill. I bought a shower timer on Trade Me for $18 and have reduced our power bill by $100 a month. We no longer have an excessive $300+ bill per month!”
Tom says, “Enjoyed your book and learned a lot. Best tip for me was rather than charging working kids board to give them one of the bills to pay - power or petrol would be my pick!”
Peter from the North Shore is using old pillows to save electricity! “Oily Rag has some very good tips on saving hot water costs which inspired me to check my hot water cylinder. I found it to be very well insulated but there's a one meter long copper pipe coming out of it which is always too hot to touch. The heat loss from this pipe must waste a lot of electricity over time. Anyway, I was just about to throw out two old pillows but instead I've tied them around this pipe with some old rope. It will be interesting to see if this rather crude insulation has any impact on my electricity bill.”
And Peter has this to say about appliances. “My television corner is a jungle of appliances most of which have external transformers and/or standby options which gobble electricity whether I'm using them or not. I plug them all into a multi-socket power board which in turn plugs into a single wall socket. When I'm not viewing I just turn off the wall socket and the whole lot shuts down. Turn on the wall socket and all the appliances wake up again. The only useful thing I lose is the clock setting on my VCR, which only takes a minute to reset on the rare occasions I forward plan a recording. By the way, a power board with surge protection will also protect your equipment from power surges which may start to occur if power supplies become less reliable in the future.”
When buying new appliances, look out for the star rating sticker. This shows how much energy (in kWh hours) the appliance uses in a year. From this it is easy to calculate the annual energy cost. For example, if the sticker says 433 kWh, and energy costs say 23 cents a kWh (check your last power bill to see how much you are paying), then the annual costs will be $99.60 a year (433 x $0.23). Most appliances have a ten-year life so the life-time cost would be $996, which may be as much or more than the purchase price and should be taken into account when buying appliances.
These are just some of the money-saving electricity tips listed on www.oilyrag.co.nz.
* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.