When it comes to electricity consumption, all devices are not created equally. In fact, a few of your devices are likely responsible for a huge percentage of your energy usage each month. When you have the Economy 7 tariff enabled in your home, it is especially important to realize which electronics are the greatest culprits for using electricity. These appliances are the ones that you should make every effort to run only in the seven daily hours during which you are charged a lower rate for your power usage. Here are some of the worst offenders when it comes to electricity consumption.
Heat Pump/Central Air Conditioner – If your home is kept warm via an electric heating system, you are likely quite familiar with high power bills during the winter. According to TLC.com, the average heat pump consumes about 15,000 watts of electricity for each hour of operation. When you compare that to the 60 watts used by a typical light bulb, you can understand why heat has such a substantial influence on your overall energy consumption. The same is also true of central air conditioning during the hot summer months. When you are being charged a higher rate for electricity during the day than you are at night, you should try to plan your heating and cooling habits to coincide with when you will pay less. If the house is feeling uncomfortable in the evening, try to hold off turning on the heat until you have ticked over to your off-peak rate. Similarly, it is a good idea to blast the heat or air conditioning in the morning right before your meter switches back to the peak rate. By getting your home to a comfortable temperature when the cost is lower, you can then try to keep the system turned off for as long as possible when the price goes back up.
Water Heater – Heating water at home is extremely energy-intensive, but it is also one of the easier tasks to put off until your cheap hours. Since most hot water tanks are quite large, you can store a good deal of the water you’ll need for the day overnight while energy rates are lower. You should, however, proceed with caution when heating your water too far in advance. Getting enough water heated for your morning routine overnight is a smart idea, but if the water is allowed to sit for the whole day, it might drop below a certain temperature (usually below 60 degrees Celsius) and begin to harbor dangerous bacteria. As a general principle, therefore, you should only pre-heat as much water overnight as you will use fairly quickly in the morning.
Clothes Dryer – Most of the energy in your laundry cycle will be used by the dryer. The washing machine is fairly electricity-intensive as well, but a good portion of its power usage comes from the action of your water heater. Getting your clothes from damp to dry usually takes about 4,000 watts on an hourly basis, so your dryer could end up costing you a bundle if you choose to run it during your period of peak rates. Your best bet with laundry is to try to put the whole process off until late in the evening when you can run both machines after the lower-rate hours have started. Luckily, once you start the dryer, you can head to bed. In the morning, just fluff your clothes for a couple minutes and then take them out to fold.
Hair Dryer – Beauty doesn’t come for free, so you shouldn’t be too surprised that hair dryers use quite a bit of energy in the process of heating up air to blast at your locks. A typical hair dryer uses around 1,200 watts in an hour, so you should aim to run yours during the lower-rate period whenever possible. To best accomplish this task, you might need to take your showers very early in the morning or later at night.
The Economy 7 tariff will save you the most money if you combine the normal rules of energy efficiency with the habits that will save you money. Even if you are only going to run your devices at off-peak times, it is still a good idea to shop for Energy Star appliances and other energy-efficient devices. If your most power-hungry devices don’t use too much energy, you’ll quickly be on your way to lower electric bills.
Author Sam Jones advises poeple thinking of moving to the economy 7 tariff that there is more info about energy prices at aSwitch.com