Advice, News and Reviews

MacBook Pro Laptop Power Consumption Review

The MacBook Air, in particular, had very low power consumption. I was keen to get the Air, but in the end I decided to get the MacBook Pro 13 inch as this was to be my main computer (it has a larger hard drive, a CD/DVD drive etc).

Keep reading MacBook Pro Laptop Power Consumption Review

What is the Power Consumption of an Electric Blanket?

The power consumption shown below is for 'half' of the queen size electric blanket. Electricity usage ranged from 15 through to 140 watts.

Keep reading Power Consumption of an Electric Blanket


Bunnings cheap electric 'halogen' heater: to buy or not to buy?

If you've been to a Bunnings Warehouse recently (in the lead up to winter) you may have noticed a vast array of electric heaters on offer.

Keep reading Bunnings Electric Heater: to buy or not to buy?

Steplight Power Meter reviewed by CHOICE

The "people’s watchdog" CHOICE magazine recently reviewed 11 plug-in Power Meters.

The review included testing the accuracy of a high power reading (over 1,000 watts) and a very low reading (about 1 watt). We're pleased to report that our power meter (pictured on the left) scored well (the highest of the low cost power meters). You can purchase the full article here.

Power meters are a handy educational tool for consumers. By monitoring your energy consumption you can use these devices to your advantage. You’ll discover the power hungry appliances in your home... CHOICE put 11 power meters to the test ranging in price from $15 to $395. Each power meter was tested to see how accurately it records high power usage and very low power usage and was compared to CHOICE’S calibrated power meter. Power meters are generally easy to use – you simply plug your appliance into the meter (which needs to be plugged into the power point) and clear readings are given to you on a LCD screen. You don’t need to spend top dollar, most of the cheaper models will do the job. [...]

Models tested

  • Arlec Energy cost meter PC222
  • Belkin Conserve insight energy use monitor F7C005au
  • CCI Power Mate PM15A
  • CCI Power Mate Lite PML10A
  • Clipsal Ezaudit power usage meter 10A
  • DOSS 3 Way Wireless Power Meter WPM03
  • DOSS Mains Power Meter MPM01
  • Efergy Esocket Energy Monitoring Socket KAS01-01
  • Powertech Plus Wireless Energy Monitor MS6116
  • Powertech Plus Multifunction Energy Meter MS6115
  • Steplight Plug-in Power Meter

- CHOICE 8 June 2011. Full article can be viewed here.

See our full range of energy meters and monitors.

By Abraham Wile | | Read more

No matches? Just leave the gas stove on...

Turkmenistan is not a country you hear about every day. That's probably why you haven't heard this crazy story about household energy use.

Keep reading Turkmenistan Energy Consumption

Qantas aircraft carbon emissions: EU price hike

The Australian and various others are reporting today that Qantas will be slugged with an EU carbon tax penalty for some of their carbon emissions from next year. Details are a bit sketchy at the moment, but it's worth taking a look at some of the underlying issues.

Keep reading Qantas aircraft carbon emissions

By Ryan McCarthy | | News and updates | Read more

8 things to check when buying your next light bulb

Buying a replacement light bulb (such as an LED downlight) is often an unnecessarily complicated experience. In particular, choosing an energy efficient option and getting poor results is all too common.

Keep reading Check this before buying your next light bulb

How to Read Dial / Clock Face Type Electricity Meters

Knowing how to read your dial face electricity meter is an important part of understanding your energy use. By reading your own electricity meter, you can check that you are being billed correctly. You can also note down your consumption more frequently instead of waiting till the end of each quarter for your bill.

Even if you have a wireless energy monitor installed, being able to read your meter is a good skill to have. Note that if you're after the consumption of individual appliances you are best off using a plug-in power meter.

The new digital or 'smart' meters are quite intuitive to read (they have a simple digital read out). But most households in Australia still have the older style 'mechanical' or 'dial face' meters. These are a little more difficult to read - they require you to read the clock faces to get a number for total kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed.

How to Read Mechanical Dial Electricity Meters

1. Stand at eye-level with the dials on your meter.

2. Read each dial one at a time from right to left and note the direction of the numbers. Dial A in the example above is read anti-clockwise.

3. To read the dial, we note the lower number, not the number that the dial is closest to. For example, E is between 0 and 1 so we would read it as 0. An exception to this rule is if the dial is between 0 and 9 in which case it is read as 9 (dial C).

4. If the dial is right on top of a number, you cannot assume that it is that number. For example, in B it might not be right on 5, it might actually be a little to the right, between the numbers 4 and 5 which would be read as 4. To be sure, check the reading of the next dial.

If the dial on the right reads 8 or 9, the left dial is read as the lower number. If the right dial reads 0 or 1, the left dial is read as the number that the dial appears to be on. For example, dial C, is read as 9. This means that dial B is between the numbers 4 and 5 so it would be read as 4 (the lower number).

The meter Example 1 above reads 04980.

Now, try reading these electricity meters with dials

Note that the last dial in the example below (black with a red arm) has no numbers. This is the decimal point, showing increments of 1/10th of a kWh. To note its direction, follow the arrow (this one is going from 0-9 clockwise).

The reading for this Example 2 is 04434.1

All the dials are clearly between numbers except for the last which appears to be on 4. To read this, look at the decimal dial. Because the decimal point (in this case rotating clockwise) reads 1, the previous dial is between 4 and 5, so it reads 4.

This is a hard one. The reading for example 3 above is 63599.8

The last dial appears to be right on 0, so we look at the decimal dial (in this case rotating anti-clockwise) which reads 8. This means that the last dial reads 9.

Because the last dial reads as 9, the dial to the left of it (which also appears right on 0) is actually read as 9 as well, which makes the dial to the left of that 5.

How to make use of the meter readings

A meter reading all by itself is not of much use. You need two readings to get total kWh over a period of time by subtracting one reading from the other. If you want to analyse specific usage (such as using the reverse cycle air conditioner or not) take a reading once per day and compare days when it used to those when it is not used.

Otherwise, even taking a reading once a week or once a month can be quite informative.

Click here to see our full range of measuring and monitoring devices.

- Alegria Alano

By Abraham Wile | | Electricity Bills, Electricity Meter | Read more

A door snake that actually stops the drafts?

Considering I seem to be stuck in a series on how to seal your doors... It's probably time I discussed the most-obvious solution: the door snake.

Keep reading A door snake that actually stops the drafts?

Door bottom weather seals: your options simplified

You can seal your door in more ways than you would care to imagine. To illustrate this, I've listed below the 'basic' options from just one manufacturer (Raven Products Pty Ltd).

Keep reading Door bottom weather seals: your options simplified

How to make an effective door seal for under $10

If you have looked in the weather stripping section at your hardware store you may have seen the plethora of door sealing options available. In fact, it is this multitude of options which initially turned me off fixing the problem discussed below.

Keep reading An effective door seal for under $10

Alpha Lujo MyEV: Australia's first low cost electric car?

I read with some interest in today's Sydney Morning Herald that there is a new electric car (EV) on its way to Australia. The Alpha Lujo MyEV will allegedly be available later this year for as little as $18,000.

Keep reading Alpha Lujo MyEV: Australia's first low cost electric car?

Today Tonight electricity bill rip off: Off Peak power

Thank you Today Tonight for informing me of the latest electricity company rip off: off peak power. (Not.)

Keep reading Today Tonight electricity bill rip off: Off Peak power

8 Convenient Truths about Climate Change and Energy

Amory Lovins is an American physicist and energy efficiency guru who has been working on the topic since the 1970's. He's not exactly a household name, but he is well respected in energy efficiency circles.

Keep reading Amory Lovins on Climate Change and Energy

Does Earth Hour Work? (Earth Hour Photos from Sydney)

The focus of Earth Hour is on turning off your lights for one hour. It is a largely symbolic gesture: lighting is just one part of the problem and it's only one hour. Despite this, I think it is a great way to focus attention on our current wasteful use of energy.

Keep reading Earth Hour Photos from Sydney

Three new names in NSW energy supply: Endeavour, Essential and Ausgrid

In the end, the sale of the three NSW electricity retailers went ahead on the 1st of March without much fuss at all. It turns out that the Sydney Morning Herald (and others) were wrong when they claimed in February that the sale was "grinding to a halt."

Keep reading Three new names in NSW energy supply: Endeavour, Essential and Ausgrid

By Ryan McCarthy | | Read more

99% Waste: The Unexpected Energy Consumption of Smoke Alarms

I thought I'd kick off this series of 'Hidden Standby Loads' with a bit of an obscure one: smoke alarms. It's not a device normally considered for its energy consumption.

Keep reading The Unexpected Energy Consumption of Smoke Alarms

By Ryan McCarthy | | Read more

Power Saver scam brought to you by Today Tonight and ACA

Today Tonight and A Current Affair both ran stories on 'Power Saver' devices at the end of January. Proponents claim that these devices will save up to 40% off residential electricity bills. The problem is, these devices are scams...

Keep reading Power Saver scam brought to you by Today Tonight and ACA

By Ryan McCarthy | | Read more

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Reduction Revolution is a business focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. Our products will help slash your energy usage. But they also often improve comfort, save time, and reduce your maintenance costs. That's why we say waste less, live better.

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Since 2010 we have supplied tens of thousands of customers across Australia & NZ.

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