Saturday, 28 June 2008

Standby power in the home

A few months ago I was visiting our local library, when I noticed some interesting kits behind the the desk. They turned out to be "Home Energy Action Toolkits" (which has an acronym of HEAT!). I put my name down on the list, and finally last week it was my turn to borrow one of the kits.

They include the following items:

  • Power-mate power meter
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Stop watch
  • Compass
  • Worksheet

I was primarily interesting in using the power meter to gauge how much power various appliances use in our home.

Here's what I discovered:

Appliance Standby (Watts) On (Watts)
DVD Player 2.1 12
VCR 5.6 16
CRT TV n/a 56
2400 W Heater 1.3 960/1370/2210 (low/med/high)
CD Cassette Radio 1 5.3 8.5/6.5/6.3 (Cd/Tape/Radio)
CD Cassette Radio 2 4.0 5.9/5.3 (Tape/Radio)
Computer + CRT Monitor 8.5 160
Computer speakers 2 3.6
Small CRT TV n/a 44
1000 W Heater n/a 960
Camera battery charger 0.4  
Automatic garage roller door 10.4 100
Mobile phone charger 0.2  
Microwave oven 5.4 1550
ADSL Modem n/a 8.3
VoIP ATA n/a 2.9

Two other appliances were also measured, using a feature of the power meter which calculates running costs by allowing you to enter in the cost per kilowatt hour (I used 17.99 cents). The results were very interesting:

Dishwasher 14.44 cents per standard cycle
Bread machine 8.3 cents to make 1.25Kg loaf

So it probably is cheaper to make your own bread after all.

As a family we’re not too bad at turning off things that we’re not using. We’ve also started the move to compact fluorescent lights, and I intend to make use of a service like Envirosaver, which will come out and replace all your incandescent bulbs with CF ones for free.

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