Power consumption with a twist

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 05, 2015 at 22:24
ThreadID: 116943 Views:1763 Replies:7 FollowUps:18
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How many of us have used our power consumption knowledge when travelling, at home? We have all looked into getting the most out of our battery. What uses the most power, getting items that don't use much.
Got my electricity bill recently, and it was no where near as high as friends bills.(average 250, to their 1000) We put it down to doing things similar when travelling. Using power when needed only. Changing to leds, go outside to sit under a tree in heat, etc
Do people change their attitude to power consumption when they know there is a ready supply at the power point from the grid, or just get lazy?
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Reply By: Member - DereelGirl - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 02:18

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 02:18
SDG, I am always looking at the power ratings on household items because my house is 99% solar. I have no mains power, in fact I have no services connected to my house. I go through a 45lt gas bottle somewhere between 12-18 mths. I love it & have learnt to use things like washing machine on the right days at the right time..... when the sun is out.
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Reply By: howie - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 03:19

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 03:19
i had to laugh last week when a family were complaining about their electrickery bill.
i noticed the temp setting on their air-con was 16c, they probably sit at home with coats on.
just had solar power put in (or should it be 'put on') so i'll become a power nazi.
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Reply By: Tim F3 - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 04:22

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 04:22
just curious has anyone experience with solar powered air conditioning units for housing ???
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 09:13

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 09:13
I have a 6kw solar system. I also have an 8kw main room air conditioner. This would probably require a constant 3.5 kw to function. I think you could only have a small air conditioner as it would be limited by the amount of battery storage you have. Really most air conditioners are used at night so you get a good nights sleep. No solar at night ...yet.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:05

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:05
Depending where you live, an evaporative unit will do an admirable job in areas where it's not too humid. You can now get an inverter evaporative unit that claims it is even more efficient.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:53

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:53
Despite researching this extensively I have not been able to find out the difference between an inverter evaporative air conditioner and a normal evaporative air conditioner.

All definitions seem to compare the inverter evaporative to refrigerated A/c.

On the evidence I have found it seems just a termonology thing as we also have inverter refrigerated a/c.

I have both evaporative and modern inverted reverse cycle refrigerated a/c in my house in Canberra and the evaporative outperforms the the refrigerated a/c in all circumstances except very humid conditions. Water usage goes up a bit though.

Garry
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Follow Up By: Notso - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 13:37

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 13:37
They claim lower power consumption, about 40% less than normal system.

Extract from Breezeair site

Why is Breezair Unique?

Breezair® units feature advanced technology and a range of unique and clever design features that combine to achieve the highest cooling performance of any similar air conditioner.
First and Only Evaporative Air Conditioner with Invertacool™ Inverter
Technology Reducing Electricity Usage

Invertacool™ cleverly manages power consumption and eliminates the wasteful and costly stop-start-stop sequence of old-fashioned systems generating greatly reduced energy use and genuine cost savings.

Refrigerated systems with inverter technology use less electricity than those without inverter, but still use a significant amount more electricity than Breezair evaporative air conditioners.

A Breezair Icon series evaporative air conditioner uses up to 90% less electricity than refrigerated units (including split systems and reverse cycle air conditioning) and up to 40% less electricity than conventional ducted evaporative air conditioning systems (without an inverter).
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 14:40

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 14:40
I took that to mean they were comparing their evaporative units with refrigerated units. But reading your quote above I see they are claiming up to 40% less electricity than normal systems. This is comparing their system to the worst oldest system so there is not much in it. Up to 40% of stuff all is still stuff all.

There is no appreciable change in my electricity bill and my unit is on 24 hours a day running on the thermostat form October to May.

Evaporative units do not have a wasteful and costly stop-start-stop sequence - just a fan starting and small water pump that are running when the unit is actually operating.

While Breezair make a comparison of actual cooling performance there is nothing on there site that compares their better power consumption because of this inverter technology.

Still dunno what it is.



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Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 14:51

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 14:51
To cut a long story short, inverters run a low voltage compressor and much like a car fridge with a Eco and turbo switch, they can change the speed the compressor runs at, rather than just cycling in and out as AC stuff does. With an Evap unit the fan and pump speeds would vary with demand I'd expect.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 16:07

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 16:07
Thanks

"ith an Evap unit the fan and pump speeds would vary with demand I'd expect."

That is exactly what any old evap aircon without inverter technology already does.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 16:38

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 16:38
Cool. Coming from coastal QLD those things may as well come from Mars. Never seen inside a Cardiff air in my life.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 16:53

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 16:53
Yes my 15 year old CoolAir has infinitely variable speed on the fan, the lowest setting uses about 140watts of power, the highest around 800.
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Reply By: The Landy - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:26

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:26
Part of my professional life is spent delving into the trading of wholesale electricity, a topic in its own right!

And this involves me in renewables and other sources like solar. And many households have gone down the track of installing solar in their homes. But there are other things you can do before reaching for the cheque book to pay for a solar installation (yes, okay I date myself using a cheque book!).

And these include…

. Upgrading the lighting in your home to more efficient alternatives,

. Roof insulation upgrades can be highly cost effective,

. For those with as pool, putting the pump on a timer can make huge savings for little cost,

. If you use a gas heater or electric resistance heater, then switching to a reverse cycle air conditioner is very cost effective, and

. An air conditioner or fridge upgrade will likely be just as cost effective as solar.

For those who have never optimised any of this stuff you could possibly reduce your power bill by over 50% after some upgrades.

Best estimates suggest a solar system to achieve payback period of 3-5 years at current energy prices. However it really depends on the tariff you’re on how much you use.


Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 549505

Follow Up By: Bigfish - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:52

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 12:52
I paid $11,000 for my 6kw system. My power bill is roughly $1800 a year. I do not pay a bill and normally get a cheque for about $450 each year as well. So about 5 years. I get 44 cents a kw feed into grid tariff. I see some get 66 cents. Lucky buggers. The other side of the coin is some only get 8cents a Kw. However as we have seen huge increases in power bills the pay back time will drop. I had a bill for $840 last quarter. Largest bill I have ever had. Put this down to 2 things. 8kw air conditioner was on its way out and I had the pool pump running way too long and on high revs. New air conditioner and have put pool pump back to 6 hrs a day and have it just above economy mode to make up for the slower filtration. Booster mode is now a no no.. Will be interesting to see my next bill.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:03

Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:03
We put in a 1.5Kw solar system in June 2011. It cost us $8000 (a real rort, I reckon) - but the Gubbmint paid $3500 of it, so it actually cost us $4500.
There's only the two of us in a 3 bedroom house, and we don't have a pool.
We got the free insulation deal from the Gubbmint, so that was a win.

We have 3 x RC Mitsubishi inverter aircons - 1 x 3HP and 1 x 1HP. We use them sparingly.
As with most of the older generation, and with myself coming from a background of rural and private minesite living, where we had to generate our own power, we are frugal with power use.
We turn off all unnecessary items such as lights constantly, and avoid high-power-consuming devices.

We managed to jag the 44c a Kw feed-in tariff (contract is for 10 yrs), so that was a total win.

Our power bill annually is virtually nil. We get a small bill at the height of Summer as we utilise the A/C on really hot days.
In Winter, we get a small bill for heating the house with the A/C's.

The rest of the year we get a substantial credit as the solar system pours the power into the grid.
I've estimated our power bill would be well over $1200 a year, based on the current electricity tariff.

On that basis, we've broken even in the next month - around 3.75 years into the deal.
After next month, we'll be into the 6.25 yr period where we will effectively get free power.
After the 10 yr contract lapses, we'll have to investigate what to do then, to keep our power costs down.
Hopefully, technology will have advanced to the point then, where we may be able to go totally off-grid.

In my rented workshop, I've gone over to LED floodlamps for shop lighting, and the power bill has dropped substantially. I sourced 50W LED floodlamps from China.
They put out the same amount of light as a 150W globe-type floodlamp, and they are excellent.
Can't do much about welders/grinders/saws using power, but I did buy a 200A inverter (stick) welder, which is excellent.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:04

Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:04
EDIT - that should have been "3 x RC Mitsubishi inverter aircons - 1 x 3HP and 2 x 1HP .."
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:19

Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:19
But what are the connection/admin/service fees to be connected to the grid? I live in suburbia in a fully electric house and a very very large proportion of my power bill are the "service" fees before I even use a KW.
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Follow Up By: Tim F3 - Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:29

Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:29
Garry we have a property that is vacant uses no power but the "service " fee is approx $80 per quarter,hope that helps.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:49

Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:49
Ron,

Your solar is same output as ours, and no doubt we have similar electrical loads. But you're streets ahead of us when the bills arrive.

Our first bill after fitting solar was $50!!! Our 2nd bill was about $150, and one day they arrived and replaced the old style meter, one with spinning disc, with a compact, Ergon favoured electronic meter. The only cheap bill now seems to be the last qtr, when sun is bright, days are cool-ish, and a/c's don't get used frequently.

That's my whinge for the day. :-))

Bob

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:52

Saturday, Mar 07, 2015 at 14:52
Garrycol - The supply charges in W.A. for us are as follows ...

1. House supply - $25.86 supply charge every 2 mths approximately (this period varies by a few days according to the billing period, which is 6 times a year) ...

2. Rented workshop (3 phase power supply) - $19.00 supply charge every 2 mths approximately.
I use about $10-$15 worth of actual power a month in my shop, I only run power tools sparingly on repair/restoration work, I'm not carrying out full-time fabrication or power-hungry work.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Mar 08, 2015 at 06:06

Sunday, Mar 08, 2015 at 06:06
Bob Y,

the price of electricity will certainly have gone up quite a bit since you installed your solar as I know ours certainly has. We have a 1.9 kw unit and I think the first year we got a cheque for $450, that has now dropped right back over the years and after this summer I think we will be paying ergon money again. One thing I do is wash the panels about every 3 months and that ups the output. Another thing we have been doing which probably won't work out your way due to the high ambients, is set the air-con on dry and up at 28 or 30 degrees. This works ok for us with the high humidity.

I just changed some lights at home as masters had 13w led oyster fittings on special for $15 each. Chinese units but they work well.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Mar 08, 2015 at 10:21

Sunday, Mar 08, 2015 at 10:21
Thanks for the comments, Slow.

Yes, definitely a price rise out this way too. :-(. Our high temps certainly don't help performance, nor do these long spells of >40 deg days help power usage either. Have bounced up on the roof and washed the panels a number of times. As we're very close to the highway to Longreach, there's a lot more dust than one realises.

Humidity??? What's that, Slow?

Didn't know about the LED oyster lights, so looks like a trip to Bunnings shortly.

Bob



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Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 14:29

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 14:29
Hi SDG

Not sure if it is a concious change in attitude but i think it is just hard to quantify when there is a endless supply. But when you are runnig on 12v and watching the supply yes i think you get a bit more concious of usegae.

At home we dont have scheme water, all our water is from rainwater and stored in a 96,000 lt tank. Out of this we shower, wash, flush toilets etc and we have never run out. But we watch the supply and useage, but we are nto stingey either.
But if we look at others bill for scheme water quite often there usage per bill is greater than our storage tank. And there use is just the same as ours.

AnswerID: 549512

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 18:05

Friday, Mar 06, 2015 at 18:05
SDG,

We've only been in town for 6 years, having been on stations all our working lives, so have always produced our own power. THAT'S when you can whinge about the cost of electricity!!!

With gensets running 24/7, we often had more appliances running than we were using.......just to keep the gensets "loaded" up, and reduce risk of glazing the cylinders. From my experience, gensets and/or electricity, were most important things on a station. No power, cook can't cook meals, no lighting, can't refuel vehicles, use welders, grinders etc etc

Our house has solar hot water, gas/electric stove(45kg cyl has lasted us past 9 years) a small solar system and with only 2 of us now, we don't use a great deal of power. Well, except at the moment, when it's been 40 deg plus for past fortnight, and it looks like we'll get the same till next week.

We turn most appliances off at GPO each night, and only have lights on as we need them. Aircons (5 x Rev Cycle splits) are set at 25 deg and we only use 1 @ night, perhaps 2 during the day. Think our highest quarterly bill has been about $630, in summer, down to $150 in Spring.

Your final question.........they use it 'cause it's there, it's easy, fast, comfortable, clean and many of them are just too lazy to turn off a switch. Then whinge like mad when quarterly bill is nudging a grand for an average family.

Bob

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Reply By: Member - johnat - Sunday, Mar 08, 2015 at 08:05

Sunday, Mar 08, 2015 at 08:05
Simple answer is "Yes, to both".
Houses with no eaves to speak of, bloody great windows facing North and/or West, black roof and dark brickwork - a recipe for a big air conditioner!

My house has no air con, is slightly raised above the ground, so the air underneath keeps the floor cool, has a 4.5m wide verandah facing west that keeps the hottest sun off the living area (and roller shutters that keep the direct sun out later in the day). ventilation to every room by cross flow so every little breeze cools the rooms and well insulated roof (light green colour) and walls.
Added to that, we have a solar array - grid connected - and our last quarterly bill was under 200 bucks. The bill increases during April/May when we are harvesting and processing olives (on farm oil press chews a bit of electricity) but still nowhere near a grand for the quarter!
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