Monday, November 29, 2010

Fuel Poverty In Aussie Homes


More and more homes around Australia are facing fuel poverty, as electricity prices rise. A home is said to be suffering from fuel poverty, when 10% or more of the disposable income, is spent on energy bills.

Already with the recent increases in electricity prices, some householders have been forced to:

  • Have the electricity disconnected.
  • Reduce the household food bill.

If you have been affected by fuel poverty, we would like to know. Either leave your comments on this blog, or email Aussie Home Energy.

Today, earlier on the Radio National Fran Kelly Breakfast show, was a report by James Carlton on Fuel Poverty. This audio report is interesting enough, to get an idea on how fuel poverty can easily affect the Aussie household. Shocking, when we hear an electricity provider, state that prices may double in the next five years.

To listen to the 'Fuel Poverty' audio click here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Aussie Home Electricity Bill Errors


Is It Possible For Your Home Electricity Bill To Be At Error?

Like any other bill, the home electricity bill can also suffer from errors. Therefore it always pays, to have at least an understanding of how the electricity bill is compiled.

Not performing the electricity bill check, before paying, could mean you are going to be out of pocket!

Here are two errors in home electricity billing, that we have discovered in the last six months. Both of these errors became apparent, when the bill was inspected for accuracy, at the conclusion on a HOME ELECTRICITY AUDIT, or home energy assessment.

For one householder the error was advantageous, as there was a considerable credit due, from the electricity provider.

The two errors are as follows:

  • No Off-Peak Electricity Recorded - This home uses electric hot water. The error occurred when the client transferred over from one provider to another. Out of the two providers, one did not transfer the hot water usage to an off-peak tariff. Thus the client was awarded a large credit due to the over charging of the hot water usage, having being charged at the on-peak rate

  • No On-Peak Electricity Recorded - A couple of elderly clients, who have only ever paid for off-peak hot water and a service charge. Being in their home for just over 18 months, they were not aware of the electricity bills makeup. There was simply, no on-peak usage recorded on the bill. Nor noted by the electricity provider via the meter reader. A new meter had been installed prior to purchase of the home

Both of the above errors occurred over a period of one and a half years, with meters being read on a quarterly basis. What the above shows is this:

  • Home electricity bill errors do occur
  • It pays to understand your electricity bill

Recently we are becoming more aware of more Aussie homes with errors with smart meters. If you are a householder with errors due to smart meter, please leave your comments on this blog post. For more examples see our ELECTRICITY BILL ERRORS page.

If you do not fully understand youR home electricity bill, then contact Aussie Home Energy for information on their range of ELECTRICITY SAVING SERVICES.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Solar Photovoltaic A Good Form Of Investment?


Two questions we are often asked by householders are:

Is Solar Photovoltaic A Good Form Of Investment?
Will It Really Save Me Money Off My Electricity Costs?

No doubt like many householders connecting a Solar Photovoltaic [PV] system to the grid, you have spent considerable time looking into the efficiency of solar panels and inverters. Finalising your choice based on a mixture of efficiency, cost, warranties and installation time.

  • So how long is your solar pv system going to take to pay off?
  • Are there any other ways you could increase the overall efficiency of the investment?
  • When will you start paying off electricity costs?

With the recent change in NSW to a gross feed tariff of $0.20 cents, we have done a few calculations. If you are thinking of going solar photovoltaic then you really need to read this report first. Read the full report on our GUIDES page.

Power Surge Interview With Giles Parkinson


Homes around Australia are being told by the media & electricity providers to get ready, to face big increases in electricity costs.

How big though will this increase be, as Australia moves to place a price on carbon?

Have critics got it right, when they report Governments have failed by not investing in electricity infrastructure? Is there more pain ahead?

On Radio National's Life Matters program business analyst Giles Parkinson from Climate Spectator discusses with Richard Aedy, why electricity costs are rising and offers some remedies.

Listen to the Power Surge interview and leave your comments.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Flueless Home Gas Heaters & Window Ventilation


On A Cold Night Are Your Windows Open?

Whilst this may sound like a stupid question! You're need ventilation if you're operating a flueless / unflued gas heater and want to remain healthy, even according to the manufacturer's documentation.

YES! Manufacturers and the Building Code of Australia state you need adequate ventilation, when operating these devices.

We are often asked whether flueless / unflued gas heaters are healthy or unhealthy by householders in Australia.

If These Heaters Are Healthy, Why Is It They Are Banned In So Many Places?

If they are banned in schools, is it really a wise choice to go and install them in our homes? At Aussie Home Energy we do not think this kind of heating is a healthy choice. There are too many pollutants, with unanswered questions as to the future effect on health.

Are You Aware You Need Adequate Cold Air Ventilation When Operating These Heaters?

We say 'cold air' as that is what it is, when you need a heating source. In most manufacturer’s documentation it states, adequate ventilation is a requirement! How much ventilation though and what type on a cold night, results in most homes we have visited, having no ventilation!

In this report on Flueless Gas Heaters hosted on the Federal Government's health website, the Building Code of Australia states a requirement of openable windows or the installation of mechanical ventilation system, conforming to the appropriate Australian standards (AS1668.2 1991 & AS3666).

The code requires all occupied rooms to have ‘adequate flow-through or cross-ventilation and air quality’. This must be provided by natural ventilation from permanent, openable windows, doors or other devices with a combined openable size of NOT LESS THAN 5% OF THE FLOOR AREA of the room to be ventilated, or a mechanical ventilation system conforming to the appropriate Australian standards (AS1668.2 1991 and AS3666).

To put that in layman's terms, for every 10 metres of floor area you need at least a window of 0.6 x 0.9 OPEN. Now on a cold night, non of our clients when asked had nor were going to do that! So we know the requirement is not being applied in most Aussie homes!

Further information on the health effects of unflued gas heaters, is available on the Federal Government's Department of Health & Ageing's website, where they state:

The Building Code of Australia requires the provision of openable windows or the installation of a mechanical ventilation system conforming to the appropriate Australian standards (AS1668.2 1991 and AS3666). The code requires all occupied rooms to have ‘adequate flow-through or cross-ventilation and air quality’. This must be provided by natural ventilation from permanent openable windows, doors or other devices with a combined openable size of not less than 5% of the floor area of the room to be ventilated, or a mechanical ventilation system conforming to the appropriate Australian standards (AS1668.2 1991 and AS3666).

To read 'The Health Effects Of Unflued Gas Heater Use In Australia' report visit their website.

To help you work out what 5% equates to in window sizes, we have a table on our website on the Home Energy Gas page.

So Are You Increasing The Risk Of Health Issues With Your Current Flueless Gas Heaters Operation?

We hope not. But if your like some of the homes we visit, we hope you are going to make healthy changes!

ONE CLICK POLL : We would like to know how much ventilation, you are operating your unflued gas heater with. We are asking for your vote. Firstly you will need to know the size of your room. Secondly to assist you in working out the 5% of floor space, thus resulting in the required window size we have a table on our Home Gas Energy page.

Thank You for your vote.....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Home Computer Electricity Cost Reduction


Are you aware of what your old home PC is costing to run?

No doubt, if we all had the extra cash, to go and buy a more efficient PC we would!

So how do you make sure you are not wasting more power than you need to be. Take a look at this report, just released on Reducing Home Computer Electricity Costs.

We compiled this report as it became obvious to us, a lot of homes are not aware of how and where they can save on the a home computer's electricity costs.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Home Electricity Alerts On Your Mobile Phone

Click To Visit Energy_Monitor On Twitter

Smart households are realising one easy solution to reducing home electricity, is to monitor the usage 24/7. Now whilst this is not a hard task when in the home with a wireless home energy monitor, what happens when you leave the home?

The solution is to combine technologies. Whereby the energy monitor sends it's data to the internet via a computer home energy monitor software program. In this case the software sending electricity usage alerts online to twitter, a social networking platform. Once these alerts are on Twitter, they can be either be monitored via a smart phone or sent from twitter via SMS automatically. See Energy_Monitor on Twitter as an example of this.

This is a great joining of technologies allowing for easy home energy monitoring whilst on the go. A solution that can easily be applied to small business, where monitoring the power supply could relate to profitability and safety.

An example here could be a battery business charging batteries over the weekend. Being able to keep an eye on the current drawn by charging devices. A dramatic change in the difference maybe pointing to an issue. Instantly alerted and able to rectify any problem!

On our website you will find home energy monitor software that sends alerts to Twitter.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are Unflued Gas Heaters A Health Risk?

Click To Visit COUGH : Campaign Opposing Unflued Gas Heaters
The answer to these unflued gas heaters being a health risk for many people, is YES! Why is it that these heaters are banned in so many places, in so many countries!

Did you read your operation manual fully when you bought your unflued gas heater? If not, you may have missed the section where it stipulates, you must operate the unflued gas heater with a window open!

There is no question according to research found easily on the internet, about unflued gas heaters producing several by-products which are harmful to human health, at all ages! Why are these heaters banned in so many places?

Of these by-products the most noxious are:
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Formaldehyde

Pick you poison carefully! Read this report Unflued Gas Heaters - Why Are You Putting Your Health At Risk?

Nearly all the homes we have taken our Home Energy Assessment Services to, are operating these unflued gas heaters in non-ventilated rooms. And the householders are totally unaware of any ventilation requirement.

Should their health be penalised because they did not read the operating instructions? That is a very weak argument from the manufacturer of these toxic heating devices!

Further information on the effects of unflued gas heaters is available on the Federal Government's Department of Health & Ageing's website. Visit their website to read the report on 'The Health Effects Of Unflued Gas Heater Use In Australia'.

ONE CLICK POLL : We would like to know how much ventilation, you are operating your unflued gas heater with. We are asking for your vote. Firstly you will need to know the size of your room. Secondly to assist you in working out the 5% of floor space, thus resulting in the required window size we have a table on our Home Gas Energy page.

Thank You for voting.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Energy Efficient CFLs Mercury Ends Up In Council Landfill


Did you know that most energy efficient lights contain 4mg of deadly mercury?

Is you local council really doing enough to offer a safe way of disposing of this toxic waste?

Light fittings that when easily broken, discharge the deadly mercury & vapour into your garbage bin. Worse still this local large collection of mercury is then transported to a waste collection depot. Distributing the mercury on the highway, finally to be hidden and buried out of sight!

Now whilst we have not done the calculation for total mercury from all households over a year, even in our local small shire that does resemble a lot of mercury!

An amount that would ring alarm bells loudly, if it were measured and presented in kg's at the tip's door!

So how are you currently disposing of your energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights?

Aussie Home Energy would like to know. Are you as concerned as we are about this toxic waste entering our everyday lives.

Please make your vote count, leave your reply to our survey.




Our local Council the Nambucca Shire Council has a safe collection point at the local rubbish tip. But what about those people that are unable to arrive at the tip door? Yes the mercury goes into the garbage bin!

Arriving unbroken at it's final destination? We don't think so!

Energy Efficient maybe but not Health Efficient!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Electricity Standby Guide

Just released is our Electrical Standby Guide.

It is a crazy world indeed when it comes to the waste of electricity in our homes, due to 24/7 electrical standby.

Can the LCD television really cost you more on 24/7 standby, when compared to the hours you watch it?

It would appear it can, when you watch it rarely and it is on 24/7 for most of the time! Read our Electrical Standby Guide to learn more about this hidden cost on the electricity bill.

There is no excuse for electrical standby. The new power boards available in hardware stores allow you eliminate standby from within your home.
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