I just found a terrific site that shows you how to calculate the power usage of all your appliances.  I was wondering whether our TV is a guzzler as often I tune it to its radio stations and listen to that.  Of course it is double power usage as it needs the tuner plus the monitor.  Also, as I work around the clock, I leave my computer on all day, just turning it off when I sleep. Heaters can use a lot of power.

But check out the Victorian Government site – Switch On. They have an interactive house plan and a lot of information about how to save energy. This is Victorian based but you can get a lot of information and ideas from this site.

Elsewhere on My Green Australia we have listed tips for reducing usage, but it is pretty scary for me to realise that my 3500 watt coffee maker uses almost as much as a plasma telly.  No wonder it initially blew out my 250 watt transformer!

Well, I am not going to stop using it, but I never leave it on while not making coffee or tea and we have solar power.

Of course, solar doesn’t give me the right to waste the power I harvest and we are just as careful as ever with usage.  But a little less hard on ourselves on hot days as we do now use the air conditioners, especially at night when it never seems to cool down.  The water from the air con goes on the garden.  So that is some saving at least!

Here are Switch On’s top 10 ways to save

During winter we can spend a lot of our time trying to keep warm. Energy bills can soar. Here are ten easy tips to help keep your energy bills down in winter, and stay warm.

1. Shut doors and keep out draughts

Heating the whole house can be very expensive. Shut doors to areas you aren’t using and only heat the rooms you spend the most time in. Block draughts around doors and windows to stop warm air leaking out and cold air coming in

2. Set your thermostat

You can save money by having a programmable thermostat and keeping the internal temperature set to around 20 degrees. Every degree lower you set your heating can save you up to 10 per cent on your energy bills.

3. Turn heaters off when you don’t need them

Only use heaters when you need to and only in the rooms you are using. Turn off your heaters before going to bed and when you leave the house. This will reduce your power bill and help keep you safe too.

4. Close the curtains and blinds to stay warm

Windows let as much as 40 per cent of your winter warmth sneak out of your home. You can improve window efficiency by having insulating curtains and blinds that stop heat escaping through the glass.

5. Wash clothes using cold water

If you change to washing your clothes in cold water, you can save around $115 per year. Make sure you also select the shortest appropriate washing cycle and wait until you have a full load.

6. Insulate your roof

If you haven’t already insulated your roof, now is the time to think about having insulation installed. Up to 45 per cent of the energy we use to heat our homes in winter can leak out through the ceiling and roof. Moreover, as the roofing professionals at Colorado Roof Toppers remind us, “Insulating materials function by stopping heat from passing through them. It doesn’t matter whether the heat is outdoors or indoors.” So, roofing insulation not only keeps heat in during the winter, it keeps hot air out during the summer.

7. Don’t use the shower to warm up

Keep your showers under 4 minutes. Hot water accounts for a large chunk of your power bill. So try to avoid using the shower to get warm.
Your shower uses up to 20 times as much energy as getting out and standing under two heat lamps instead.

8. Use energy-efficient globes

Replace standard light globes with energy-efficient globes in high-use areas. Energy-efficient globes will save power and last longer. Light globes can sometimes be replaced for free or at reduced cost.

9. Turn off gadgets and appliances that you’re not using

Did you know your phone charger is still using energy even when your phone is not plugged in? Up to 10 per cent of the electricity used in your home is used on gadgets that are on standby. Some of the biggest culprits are TVs, DVD players, game consoles, mobile phone chargers, microwave ovens, MP3 docks and sound systems. You can install a standby power controller that will automatically reduce the amount of time your devices spend in standby mode, and switch appliances off when not in use.

10. Take advantage of your Smart Meter

If you have a Smart Meter, you can take advantage of web portals to track your power use and set usage goals. For more information see: Smart Meters – web portals.

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