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Saving energy at home - Outdoor Living

Outdoor living is a quintessential part Australian life with outdoor living spaces becoming more elaborate from fully functional kitchens, water proof TV’s to state of the arch Spa and Sauna systems.  Making outdoor living appliances a major contribution to your energy bills. 

In some households outdoor appliances can account for up to 30% of your total energy bill, and as more and more features become available this number is set to rise.  It is worth mentioning at this point that as you spend more time outdoors you should be spending less time indoors therefore keeping your power bills on par.  However this is where you can get careless, so ensure if you’re set up for a day/night outside you turn everything off inside you don’t need.

This is where you have to encourage those teenagers to join you outside otherwise your electricity bills are going to go through the roof.  Let’s explore some of the ways you can be energy-efficient outside.

As with most appliances always do your research and ensure you have the right appliance for the area you are using.  If you’re smart about the way you set up your outdoor living space you can actually reduce your power bills!

Let’s explore some of your energy-efficient options:

Lighting

                                       

This is where you need to make the most of the solar option.  Even if you don’t have solar panels installed everyone can take advantage of solar lighting outside.  These days they come in a variety of shapes and sizes perfect for every location in your garden.  Other advantages include no installation fee, as solar is relatively simple to put in yourself, no wires and no electricity bills!

You need to ensure the lights you buy are suitable for the area you want to light up or you could end up just wasting your money.  Here are a few things to consider before you decide on which ones to buy:

  • Firstly decide on what you need the Solar lighting for i.e. security light, ambulance, reading light or to accentuate the landscape.
  • Now decide on the type of lights best suited to your needs i.e. Spot/flood lights, Security light, Lamp post or walk way lights.
  • How much light does your yard get?  If it’s flooded with natural light then you can ensure the solar lights will work at maximum strength, if however your yard is particularly shady you can attach the solar panel to the roof of your house and run a wire to connect it to your solar lights. Such attachments can be found in your local hardware stores or online.  So consider where you want the lights and how much wiring you will need to ensure the solar panel attachment receives the maximum amount of light.
  • How bright do you want the lights? Many possess a single LED light and will not be very bright, so the brighter you want the lights the more lights you will need it to contain.  Always check the capacity of the lights.
  • When do you want these lights operating? It may be annoying if the lights are operational every time the sun goes down especially if you’re inside.  If the lights are for occasional use ensure you get ones that have a motion sensor or on/off switch so you can operate them when you wish.  This will also help conserve energy.

A few extra benefits of solar lighting is they work during power outages so no need to search for a torch or candle.

To summarise a few of the benefits:

  • Safer with no electrical wires
  • Save on your lighting power bills when you spend time outside and shut things off inside
  • Easy to maintain

Swimming Pools & Spa’s

Not everyone will have the money to upgrade their pool’s & Spa with the most energy-efficient products.  So let’s explore some options with your existing pools and Spa’s to reduce your energy bills.

Investing in a pool cover for your pool & spa when they are not in use this is the single most effective way of reducing pool energy bills.  This will reduce heat loss in your swimming pool at the same reducing the amount of water that evaporates.   

Here are 3 types of pool covers with some pros and cons for your consideration:

Winter Pool Covers

These are heavy covers designed to keep out leaves and debris during the winter months.  They reduce evaporation of water during the winter months.  A great option if you don’t use your pool in winter.

If you do use your pool in winter then pulling this heavy cover on and off will becomes frustrating as it can drag debris into your pool with the constant motion.  Therefore having the opposite desired effect.

Solar Pool covers (also known as Solar Blankets)

These guys are the best in terms of reducing heat loss and evaporation.  They claim to reduce evaporation by up to 90% and reduce your heat loss by up to 70%.  These are great energy savers. 

However there are lots of different varieties out there and some really cheap versions you can buy from overseas which will not perform as mentioned above.  They can also increase the temperature of your pool allowing you to reduce the thermostat on your heat pump, again saving you on energy. 

The solar blanket is an investment so ensure you do your research into the right one for your pool or spa to maximise your energy savings.  Solar blankets do need to be replaced every 3/5 years so unless they can be recycle it doesn’t make it a very sustainable option.

Liquid Pool Covers

This is still a relatively new technology and claims to be the most the most eco-friendly of pool covers and I have to say the Team here at Save Energy Save Money agree.  It’s completely bio degradable and safe for you to swim in.

Liquid pool covers save’s you the time and effort of removing pool covers and blankets which makes up for it not being as efficient as the solar blankets.  It reduces evaporation by 50% and traps heat reducing your heating bills.

In summation the right pool covers can save you up 70% on your pool heating bill.

Other ways to save on your pool energy costs:

  • Regulations state that you need to have a fence surrounding your pool. If your pool in is a windy spot shelter it by investing in a fence that will shelter the pool.  Don’t worry if you already have a fence with gaps as you can plant a hedge around which will do the same job.  Properly sheltering your pool will further reduce heat loss, not to mention make the pool more enjoyable to use.
  • Ensure you clean your pool & spa filter regularly, this will keep them working efficiently.
  • Invest in timer switches so you can schedule in maintenance of the pool this will prevent you over servicing your pool and wasting energy.  You can also program in seasonal adjustments to ensure the temperature is reduced in summer.
  • Where possible invest in solar heat pumps, this will keep your carbon emissions down.
  • Rain water tanks are an excellent way to top up your pool without tapping into the mains.
  • Where possible operate your pool appliances during off peak hours.

Outdoor TV’s

No outdoor living space would be complete without and TV and sound system.  Technology has advance at an incredible rate with the rise of DIY shows. You can get a range of different sizes and shapes.  Ensure you check the Kwh per year on the TV to work out the annual running cost.

Watch this space, our research team are investigating and will have the annual running cost of outdoor TV’s calculated here soon.

Power Tools

Lots of tools & gadgets are used in back yards these days from lawn mowers to whipper snippers, contributing to your energy bills and with electricity bills set to rise its important you choose your tools wisely and ensure they cope with the job you need done.

For more ways to save on you energy bills around the home visit www.saveenergysavemoney.com.au and start comparing appliance prices today.

 

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