Did you know that hot water is one of the biggest users of electricity in your home? Many people think their lights use a lot of power, but in reality they only make up about 5% of your electricity bill.
Toasters, hairdryers, and kettles, and also often seen as contributing to your power use. While these devices do use a lot of electricity when they’re on, they’re not on that often and so they don’t make up too much of your bill.
The sneaky culprit behind your bill shock is (very often) hot water. Hot water can make up to 30% of your home electricity bill! This is because it runs 24 hours a day – which is crazy when you think about it. Most of us take showers first thing in the morning or in the evening after getting home from work.
Pretty simple really, switch off your hot water systems when you don’t need hot water.
Electric hot water systems can often be switched off for up to 18 hours a day (if you only shower in the morning or at night) without affecting household needs, and this change reduces overall electricity use by 15% to 20%. For average families, that means a saving of $300 to $400 on their electricity each year.
You’re probably thinking, hang on, it’s not that easy. Switching hot water on and off is impractical because you’re busy, you’re on the go, and you’re not really thinking about your next shower. The water takes time to heat up, and you would have to plan exactly when you’ll need it to turn it on at the right time.
This is when your carbonTRACK system comes in handy. carbonTRACK lets you set automated schedules to make sure that your hot water system is on and hot when you need it, but is otherwise off.
If you need hot water at an odd time, you can easily override the schedules by switching on the hot water from your phone, iPad or desktop computer.
We recommend giving your system about two hours to heat up the water before you want to use it, then you can switch it off and you’ll have hot water for many hours after, because water is good at storing heat.
These times are, of course only recommendations, and we suggest that you experiment with your own hot water system heat up times, and test how long it stays satisfyingly hot*.
If you have solar, heating your hot water during the day when you’re generating your own electricity is a great way to get more from your solar, and save you from having to buy power from the grid later when the sun has set. This way, your energy use is going to look more like this:
Solar Energy generation and use
Smart technologies like carbonTRACK give you the power (pun intended) to make your home more efficient and practical, and hot water management is one of the best ways to start to make your home more efficient, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money.
*If you’re one to get your children involved in sustainable house activities, this can be a fun way for them to experiment and learn about saving power.