Do your own home energy audit

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1 Do your own home energy audit Are you spending too much on your energy bills? Find out how you use energy in the home and what you can do to start saving $

2 Do your own home energy audit How to complete your home energy audit Completing the audit is easy. Read the questions in the column and tick off your answers in the yes or no arrow boxes. If you answer no, follow the advice in the column. Saving energy includes the actions of everyone who lives in your home, so you may want to involve others when you complete your audit. Most efficient Least efficient Ask yourself, is this what I normally do at home? If the answer is yes, you re already doing the energy smart thing. If the answer is no, you could make savings by following the advice in the What you can do to save energy column. Yes No Follow the advice in this column to help you save energy at home and minimise your energy bills. Where you see the house icon, if you are renting you should ask your landlord before making the suggested changes. The information icon shows there is more information to help you with these actions on page 6. To complete some of the actions you may need a stopwatch, bucket, thermometer and a map or compass. What uses energy in the home? Tick off your answers to each question. When you re finished, you ll have a handy checklist of energy saving actions for your home. The pie chart below shows the average energy use in an Australian home.* When saving energy start by focussing on the largest energy users. % 8% % % 7% 7% 6% *Data based on Baseline Energy Estimates 008.

3 0.0 Do your own home energy audit and cooling and cooling can account for over a third of your energy use. 8% Do you only heat and cool rooms that are being used? Yes No Consider closing doors to unused rooms so you only heat or cool the smallest possible area. If you have a ducted system it may already be divided into zones eg living areas and bedrooms. Make use of zones to only heat or cool occupied areas. In winter, do you open curtains, blinds and external shades so the sun can heat your home? Yes No Use the sun as free in cooler months. Sunlight shining directly onto north, east and west facing windows can produce the same amount of heat per square metre as a one bar radiator. Use a compass or refer to your street directory or online maps to determine which direction your windows face. When, do you set the temperature as low as you feel comfortable with? Do you maintain your and cooling to ensure they operate efficiently? Yes No Most people will find a temperature between 8 C and C comfortable for. Every C higher adds 0% to the running costs of your appliance. Yes No Follow the manufacturer s maintenance instructions and have your serviced regularly. 6 When cooling, do you set the temperature as high as you feel comfortable with? In summer, do you shade windows to keep your home cool? Yes No Most people will find a temperature between C and 7 C comfortable for cooling. Every C lower adds 0% to the running costs of your cooling appliance. Yes No In summer, close curtains and shade windows to prevent heat from entering your home. Sunlight shining directly onto north, east and west facing windows can produce the same amount of heat per square metre as a one bar radiator. Use a compass or refer to you street directory or online maps to determine the direction your windows face. Entertainment 7 electronics When you purchase a or cooling appliance do you seek advice about: the most appropriate appliance Clothes washing, the right size appliance dish washing & the energy rating label or, small if there is no label, the running costs? Yes No The most efficient or cooling appliance is one that is suitable for the area it is or cooling and, where relevant, has been sized appropriately. Consider contacting the Energy Advisory Service for specific advice tailored to your situation. See the back page for contact details. 8 Do you use reversible ceiling fans to assist your and cooling? Yes No Reversible ceiling fans create cool breezes in summer and can redirect warm air down in winter. 9 0 Does your home have insulation? Yes No Consider having insulation installed in your ceiling and walls if you don t have it. If you have insulation already, ask a licensed insulation installer to check its effectiveness. Have you sealed up gaps around doors and windows that let draughts in? Yes No Use draught excluders, door and window seals or gap filler to prevent draughts. See page 6 for how to check for draughts. Important: When using an unflued gas appliance you must ensure you have adequate ventilation.

4 0.0 Do your own home energy audit water for showers and clothes washing is a major energy user. % Do you take short showers ie three to four minutes? Yes No Taking shorter showers will save water and reduce the energy needed to heat water. Do you have a solar, electric heat pump or a five star energy rated gas water heater? Is there insulation on external water heater pipes? Yes No Choose an energy efficient water heater when your current water heater needs replacing. Visit sa.gov.au/energy for advice on choosing a water heater..0 Yes No Insulate pipes with foam tubing, known as lagging, to prevent 0.8 heat loss. See page 6 for how to insulate hot water pipes. Is your shower flow rate nine litres per minute or less? Do you ensure taps don t drip in your home? 0.6 Yes No If the flow rate is more than nine litres per minute, consider installing 0. a three star rated water saving shower head. To find out how to check your shower flow rate, 0. see page Yes No Have dripping taps fixed as soon as possible. Not only do they waste water, leaking hot water taps waste energy too. Running costs for all the in a home can add up. 6% Do you know how much your use? Do you use the energy rating labels to compare running costs when you purchase? Do you you run your dishwasher and washing machine with a full load? Yes No If you know the input of an appliance (eg 00 watts or.kw) you can calculate how much it costs to run. See page 7. You can also borrow a meter from the Home Energy Toolkit. See page 0. Yes No Consider the ongoing running cost when choosing an appliance. Energy efficient models will cost you less to run over the life of the appliance. Yes No Washing a full load means fewer washes overall and reduces the amount of wasted energy and water. Do you always wash clothes on a cold water cycle? Yes No Cold water cycles will use less energy than warm or hot cycles. The majority of energy used by clothes washers is for water. Do you hang your clothes out to dry? Yes No Clothes dryers can use a lot of energy. Hanging clothes out to dry is more energy efficient. Clean your lint filter regularly to ensure your dryer is operating efficiently. 6 When you purchased your clothes washer or dryer, did you select an energy efficient model that was the right size for your needs? Yes No Consider an energy efficient model when you replace your old clothes washer or dryer.

5 0.0 Do your own home energy audit Entertainment electronics Clothes washing, dish washing & small and freezers Average home energy use of fridges and freezers Most fridges and freezers are switched on hours a day, 7 days a week. 7% Do you run one fridge and freezer? Yes No Only run additional fridges and freezers when necessary eg a bar fridge could be turned off when not required. When you purchased your fridge and freezer did you choose an efficient model that was the right size for your needs? Yes No When you replace your old fridge or freezer choose an energy efficient one. Choose the right size fridge first then select the model with a high star rating on the energy rating label. Is your fridge temperature between C and C? Yes No Adjust your fridge temperature to between C and C. If colder, more energy is used while higher temperatures allow food poisoning bacteria to grow. See page 6 for how to check the temperature. Is your freezer temperature between - C and -8 C? Yes No Adjust your freezer temperature to between - C and -8 C. See.0 page 6 for how to check the temperature. 6 7 Are your fridges and freezers located in a cool, well ventilated & area freezers and out of direct sunlight? Do your fridge and freezer doors seal properly? Entertainment electronics Clothes washing, dish washing & small Is there less than mm of frost build up in your freezer? Yes No Move 0.8 unit to a cooler location if possible or shade windows to stop direct sunlight. 0.6 Ensure air can circulate around all sides. Average home use of and cooling Yes No 0. Replace door seals if ineffective. See page 6 for how to check your door seals Yes No Defrost your freezer regularly. An auto defrost model should do this automatically. Average home energy use of fridges and freezers Make a habit of switching off lights when you leave a room. 7% Do you turn off lights when you leave a room? Yes No Leaving lights on in an empty room wastes energy and adds to your bills. Make a habit of turning off lights. Do you open curtains and blinds to use daylight instead of turning on lights? Yes No Daylight costs you nothing. Open curtains and blinds before turning on a light. Do you have energy efficient lights - eg fluorescents (compact, tubes or downlights) If you have outdoor lighting, is it operated by motion sensors? Yes No Consider replacing inefficient lights with energy efficient lights. Yes No If you regularly leave your outdoor lights on, consider installing sensor lights so they only come on with movement and turn off after a short period. Do you use low wattage lights? Yes No Select a light with the lowest wattage for your needs it costs less to run.

6 0.0 6 Do your own home energy audit Use smaller cooking when you can..0 % Does your oven door seal properly? Yes No Replace door seals if ineffective. See below for more information on checking door seals Do you use small kitchen instead of the oven eg microwaves, electric fry pans? Switch off at the wall to avoid stand-by costs. 0.0 Yes No Smaller generally use less energy. % Do you leave on stand-by eg televisions, stereos, computers? Yes No Turn off at the wall to prevent stand-by use. You can use the meter in the Home Energy Toolkit to measure stand-by use. See page 0. More information How to check for draughts You can check for draughts by: looking for daylight around the edges of doors and windows looking for gaps around skirting boards feeling draughts on a wet finger. How to insulate hot water pipes You can purchase foam tubing from hardware and plumbing stores. Look for one which has been cut along its length and has a self-sealing adhesive strip. To install: slide the foam tubing onto the external heater pipes peel off the adhesive strip and join the sides together. Check your shower flow rate You will need: a bucket and something to measure water volume such as a measuring jug a stopwatch (available in the Home Energy Toolkit). Turn the water on full and let it flow into a bucket for ten seconds. Measure the amount of water in litres. Multiply by six to determine the flow rate in litres. Shower flow rate example: flow in 0 seconds = litres litres x 6 = litres in 60 seconds Flow rate is litres per minute. Check your fridge or freezer temperature You will need: a thermometer Place your thermometer below the top shelf and towards the front of the fridge, or anywhere in the freezer. Leave the thermometer in the closed fridge or freezer for about 0 minutes and then observe the temperature. How to check door seals on fridges, freezers and ovens Close the door on a piece of paper. The door seal should be strong enough to firmly grip it. Check in several places around the edge of the door. Look for sections that are cracked and brittle or pressed out of shape. If the paper slides out easily, or the seal is damaged, consider having it replaced.

7 Do your own home energy audit 7 Entertainment electronics Clothes washing, dish washing & small How to calculate running costs Knowing the running cost of an appliance will help to keep track of how much you are spending on energy. Not all operate constantly at full. Appliances with high and low settings or thermostats can use less energy. The most accurate way to find an appliance s running cost is to use an appliance meter. You can borrow a meter in the Home Energy Toolkit free of charge from most public libraries in South Australia. See page 0. For a list of average running costs of household see Follow the steps in the tables below to calculate the running costs of electric or gas. Example: Portable electric heater 7 Entertainment electronics Step Clothes washing, Action dish washing & small Find the appliance s input in watts or megajoules The watts or megajoules will usually be on a label on the appliance or in the owner s manual On small electrical the amps and volts may be indicated instead. Multiply the amps by the volts to get watts Convert input to kilowatts (kw) or megajoules (MJ) if necessary One kilowatt equals,000 watts, so divide watts by,000 to give kilowatts eg:,00 watts =. kilowatts One megajoule equals,000,000 joules, so divide joules by,000,000 to give megajoules eg:,00,000 joules =. megajoules Check your bill for your energy tariff the amount you pay per unit of electricity or gas For electric, use the Peak rate as most, besides hot water systems, will be charged at this rate. See page 8 for advice on reviewing your energy bill If you are unsure you can use an average tariff of 0 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity and cents per megajoule for gas Multiply the input by the energy tariff to get the hourly running cost in cents per hour, eg:. kw x 0 cents = 7 cents per hour, or. MJ x cents = 6. cents per hour Multiply the hourly running cost by the number of hours per day you run the appliance to get a daily running cost, eg: 0 hours x 7 cents = 70 cents or $7.0 per day To compare an electric heater to a gas heater, it may be useful to convert megajoules to kilowatts or vice versa. To convert megajoules to kilowatts, multiply the number of megajoules by 0.78, eg: 0 megajoules x 0.78 =.78 kilowatts. To convert kilowatts into megajoules, multiplying the number of kilowatts by.6, eg: 0 kilowatts x.6 = 6 megajoules. Step Action Label shows 00kW Divide 00W by,000 =.kw Check your bill for your energy tariff if you are unsure you can use 0 cents per kwh for electricity Multiply the input by the energy tariff. x 0 = 7 cents per hour If the heater is turned on 0 hours per day*: 0 x 7 cents = $7.0 a day Example: Gas space heater Step Action Label shows MJ per hour on low setting Convert joules to megajoules (MJ) by dividing by,000,000. In this case no conversion required Check your bill for your energy tariff if you are unsure use cents per MJ for gas Multiply the input by the energy tariff x = 8 cents per hour If the appliance is turned on 0 hours per day*: 0 x 8 cents = $.80 a day * Note that if the heater is controlled by a thermostat its energy use will be lower than if it is constantly on full.

8 8 Do your own home energy audit Reviewing your electricity bills Electricity bills contain a lot of information that can help you understand how much energy you use in the home. You should take note of: daily energy consumption the tariff rate or how much you are charged per unit of energy, and changes in consumption patterns between billing periods and seasons. 8 The average number of units (kwh) used per day over the last billing period and compared to the same period last year. An estimated meter reading is based on energy used in the past. It is indicated on your bill by the words estimate or the letter e near the meter reading. An actual reading may be indicated by an a. You can check the accuracy of the estimated or actual reading by reading the meter yourself. This bill is an example to show you what to look for. Please note, your bill may look different and contain different information. This graph shows you the pattern of your electricity use compared with previous billing periods, allowing you to compare your use across billing periods and seasons. This area shows the billing period and whether the bill is based on an actual reading or an estimate. Many homes have more than one electricity meter, for example one for Peak and the other for Off Peak. Use the meter number when checking the related reading. A digital meter can record Peak and Off Peak so may show on the bill as the same meter number twice. 6 The number of days this bill covers. For households that are billed quarterly, this will be around 90 days. 7 6 The total number of electricity units used per meter a unit is a kilowatt-hour (kwh). 7 7 The prices you are paying (per kwh) for your electricity, in different periods, eg summer rate, non-summer rate and Off Peak rate. The Unchanged Rate normally refers to a rate that does not change in summer. In this example it is Off Peak. 7

9 Do your own home energy audit 9 Reading electricity and gas meters Electricity and gas meters are used by your energy provider to measure the energy you use. Knowing how to read a meter allows you to: keep track of your home energy use as often as required even on a day-to-day basis! check the meter reading on your bill is correct. Digital electricity meters Digital electricity meters display the meter readings as a row of numbers, like the kilometre indicator in a car. You simply read the number from left to right. There may be a number of screens to scroll through before you reach the electricity meter readings eg date and time. The screens containing the meter readings are numbered, look for: 0 or 00 for the Peak electricity meter reading 07 or 007 for Off Peak electricity meter reading Most homes with a solar panels installed will have an import/ export meter installed. The reading for the generated by solar panels and exported back into the grid will be indicated with an 09 or 009 on these meters. Refer to the manufacturer s instruction manual or contact ETSA Utilities to find out how to read this type of meter. Dial or clock face electricity meters Always read the dials from left to right, ignoring the dial marked /0 as it is only for testing. Each dial revolves in a different direction to the one next to it, eg anti-clockwise, then clockwise Always note the number the pointer has just passed eg it if is between 7 and 8, write down 7. If the pointer is directly over a number underline that number when you write it down. If any of the underlined numbers are followed by an 8 or 9 reduce the underlined number by one. Digital gas meters Digital gas meters, also known as metric meters, are read from left to right. You only need to read the black and white digits, ignore any red numbers these are used for testing purposes. Digital meters record the amount of gas used in cubic metres. See page 0 for an explanation of how to convert cubic metres into megajoules and use this reading to calculate and understand the energy use shown on your bill. Dial or clock face gas meters Imperial or clock face meters comprise of a number of dials. The hands rotate in different directions. Standing directly in front of the meter: Only read the four dials closest to the left. Read the dials from left to right and record the number the clock hand is pointing to. Each dial revolves in a different direction to the one next to it, eg anti-clockwise, then clockwise If a hand is between two numbers, note the lower number except when the hand is between 0 and 9, in which case read 9. The reading given by the clock face meter is the amount of gas used in cubic feet or metres as indicated below the dials. 9 The above example gives a reading of 9 cubic feet. See page 0 for an explanation of how to convert cubic feet or cubic metres into megajoules and use this reading to calculate and understand the energy use shown on your bill. Because the is underlined and followed by a 9, we change the to a, so the meter reading is 798 kwh.

10 0 Do your own home energy audit Using electricity and gas meter readings Keeping a written log of your meter readings and the dates taken can help you track your energy use over time. Using the electricity meter reading The electricity meter reading shows you the total amount of electricity used over the life of the meter. You can determine how much electricity has been used over a period of time by subtracting a previous meter reading from the current meter reading. 0 Using the gas meter reading A gas meter can be used to calculate the energy used over a period of time by subtracting a previous reading from the current reading. Digital gas meters record in cubic metres and dial or clock face gas meters record in cubic feet or cubic metres. To convert the reading to megajoules (MJ), which are the units shown on your gas bill, multiply it by the gas s value (the amount of energy in a cubic metre or foot of gas). A typical value used for natural gas in South Australia is 8.6 MJ/cubic metre or.09 MJ/cubic feet. Gas meter conversion examples Convert cubic metres to megajoules: Action Record previous reading Record current reading Subtract previous reading from current reading Example 0786 cubic metres 0800 cubic metres = cubic metres Convert to megajoules cubic metres x 8.6 MJ / cubic metre = 0. MJ of gas has been used. Convert cubic feet to megajoules: Action Record previous reading Record current reading Subtract previous reading from current reading Example 07 cubic feet 9 cubic feet 9-07 = 0 cubic feet Convert to megajoules 0 cubic metres x.09 MJ / cubic feet = 8.8 MJ of gas has been used. Would you like to do a more detailed audit? Borrow a Home Energy Toolkit Home Energy Toolkits can be borrowed free of charge from most South Australian libraries. They come with a comprehensive home energy auditing manual which lets you explore your home energy use in much more detail. Each toolkit contains a thermometer, compass, stopwatch and a meter that can measure home appliance energy use, running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Call your library to check if they have a Home Energy Toolkit available. Go to sa.gov.au/energy/toolkit or call the Energy Advisory Service on for a list of participating libraries.

11 Do your own home energy audit Online resources: sa.gov.au/energy The sa.gov.au website has a wealth of energy efficiency information to help you understand and reduce your home energy use. There s also information on: Choosing energy efficient Energy bill comparison Events about saving energy Choosing renewable energy Rebates and concessions Electricity and gas safety advice. Explore the interactive energy efficient house Explore the energy efficient house by clicking on items to discover where and how you can save energy in the home and minimise your electricity and gas bills. Find the interactive house at

12 More energy information Energy Saving Advice The Energy Advisory Service offers free independent information about saving energy in the home. See below for contact details. Borrow a Home Energy Toolkit Home Energy Toolkits are available from public libraries across South Australia. See page 0 of this audit for details. Are you getting the best deal for energy? Visit to compare your bill with all the prices offered by energy providers in South Australia. Are you eligible for a concession? Call the concessions hotline on or visit the website to find out if you could get financial help with your energy bills. Help to resolve a dispute with your provider The Energy Industry Ombudsman offers a free independent service to all South Australian domestic and business customers that can help resolve disputes with gas and electricity providers. Call or visit the website Get your organisation involved to help others save energy The Energy Partners Program works with organisations across South Australia to help promote energy efficiency. See Energy Advisory Service Visit the website: us: Call us: (Freecall ) ED0

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