Friday, November 29, 2013

Beware aircon use this summer

We don't have aircon at home, but Amy's parents do. Amy's Dad diligently records their power readings once a week. Each year I input their PV data to show them how much power they generate and consume. They're pretty good, consuming between 6 and 9 kWh a day on average. Inputting the data this year I saw what I thought was a mistake, a reading that just couldn't possibly be right. Then I looked into it and saw a comment, "heat wave". This made me wonder and I checked with Neil. Yes indeed, the heat had been so bad in late December 2012 that the aircon was on 16 hours a day! Power consumption went through the roof, as you can see.

A whopping 48 kWh a day! Another heat wave in February saw jumps to 20kWh a day too. Now I'm not going to preach about the use of aircon, lots of people have it and that's fine. It's not my cuppa tea, but if you do use it then beware that it will cost you. 50kWh a day equates to $12, that's $85 a week more or less. It also obviously costs the planet in carbon emissions and it costs other power consumers too. At peak times the wholesale price of power goes through the roof, so the more that is used in these times pushes power prices up to everyone. So, here are some tips to minimse your use of aircon:

Turn it up. If you set the thermostat higher (say 23-25 C) you'll use much less power and you'll still be comfortable.

Go outside every now and again, you might just find that a lovely sea breeze is in and you can open up the house and turn off the aircon.

Do the flush. We do this all the time in summer. At night open up the house to let cool breezes in; first thing in the morning we shut up the house on hot days and close curtains, etc. This way we trap the cool air inside and stop heat getting in. Then open up the house when a breeze comes in and it's cooler outside than in.

External shade on east and west facing windows is essential in summer. This is the best and easiest way to stop your house becoming a green house!

Turn on ceiling fans, they use little power and can make rooms feel five degrees cooler than they actually are.

Good luck keeping cool this summer, here's hoping that we don't get too many heat waves...

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