Solar power is a great way to slash your energy bills down to size, especially when combined with smarter power management strategies.
Here are a few surefire tips from the ZEN Energy team that will help you make more out of your solar power.
Switch off unused lights
Develop a habit of switching off lights as soon as you leave a room. Over the course of a year, just a couple of lights switched on when they don’t need to be can add up on your power bills.
Use energy efficient bulbs
Making the switch to LED bulbs requires an upfront cost, but the savings you get in both reduced power use and longer bulb lifetime makes up for it over the long term.
Use natural light
You’re already using solar to power your lights, why not cut out the middle man? Open up those blinds and let the natural light in before you switch on the overhead lights.
Use task lighting
Table lamps and track lighting use far less energy than the overhead lights, and if you’re only doing something that requires lighting in a single area, why go overkill with the overheads when you don’t have to?
Master your shower time
Hot water is expensive and is one of the primary energy guzzlers in your home. Take shorter showers, only wait the minimum time for the shower to get hot, and make sure your shower pressure is right. If it fills a 2 litre ice-cream container in less than 15 seconds, you might want to switch to a lower flow shower head.
Turn down your hot water cylinder
Your hot water cylinder only needs to be 60 degrees Celsius or higher for health and safety reasons. Anything above that could be wasted energy. Turn it down.
Fix leaky faucets
That drip drip drip might seem only minor for now, but over time, those drips add up on your power bill. Fix the leak sooner rather than later and save energy.
Use less water
It’s simple. The less hot water you use, the less energy you’ll use. Turn off the water when you’re shaving, washing your hands, or brushing your teeth - and stick to showers rather than baths, as they usually use less water.
Unplug unused and fully charged electronics
Standby power consumes more power than you might think. Take your phone or laptop off the charge once it’s full, and switch your appliances off at the wall (or unplug them) to reduce this silent consumer.
Use a laptop instead of a desktop
Older desktops are notoriously high in their energy use. Switch over to a laptop to save power compared to a desktop.
Switch to higher efficiency appliances
Older TVs have significantly higher power requirements compared to their modern equivalents. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade, this is your opportunity to get a better picture quality, more features, and use less power all at the same time.
Manage your natural airflow
During summer, open up your blinds, windows and doors to promote air flow to push warmer air outside. During winter, close things off to keep the warm air in.
Cut back trees and bushes
If you’ve got north-facing windows, make sure they’re free from foliage that might block the sunlight from getting into your home. This also helps to ensure that your solar panels get the most sunlight hitting them for power generation - that’s a win-win.
Only use temperature control when you’re home
If everyone is out of the house, why waste energy keeping it warm or cool? Use timers or smart devices to set your heat pumps to only work when there’s someone there to appreciate it.
Control your cooking appliances
Only use your cooking appliances as much as you need to. Don’t fill up your kettle all the way if you’re making just a couple of mugs and don’t spend more time pre-heating your oven than necessary. In the summer, a hot oven can also heat your home, increasing your temperature control needs.
Be smart with refrigeration
Fridges are likely the highest constant energy users in your kitchen. Make sure to regularly check their seals to ensure that they’re keeping the cool air in and not working overtime, and consider cleaning the grille behind them and defrosting them regularly for peak efficiency.
Use your pots and pans efficiently
Cover your pots and pans with their lids to reduce cooking time and energy use - plus it reduces the amount of moisture being released into your home. Try to also use the correct size of pan for your cooking needs. The larger the cookware, the more energy it’ll use to heat up.
Wash and dry full loads
Don’t use the washing machine or dryer for only a few items. Fuller loads will reduce the total number you have to do and therefore reduce the amount of energy you have to use. Same goes for dyers. Pro-tip: aim for three quarter loads for the dryer. Too full, and it won’t be as efficient.
Avoid heated water if possible
Use cold washing settings for clothes and hang-dry your laundry if possible. This will cut how much power you use and you’ll often find this also makes your clothes last longer, so an added bonus there.
Use the correct setting for your dishwasher
Full loads for the dishwasher is best, but if you’re going to do a smaller batch, take the time to switch the setting to a shorter wash. Better yet, rinse your dishes more thoroughly by hand and use shorter washes for full loads as well.
With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to cut down on your overall household energy consumption and make it far easier to meet all your energy needs from your own free self-generated solar power.
For more information on saving energy - and money - with a solar power system, get in touch with the ZEN Energy team today.