Upper Lachlan

gulp Power Meters Promotion


15 September 2011

Helen from Laggan has discovered her old freezer is twice as expensive as the one she purchased 18 months ago.

Helen decided to borrow a new Home Sustainability Kit from Crookwell Library just “to test out our old appliances compared with the new ones”.

“We have two freezers because we store a lot of home grown meat – they’re both the same size. We measured the dollars and cents they use on an annual basis and were shocked to discover the old freezer costs twice as much to run as the new one.

“I’m not going to get rid of the old one, but I’m certainly only going to use it as back-up now,” she said.

“I tried the laser temperature gun on our old Frigidaire fridge, 41 years old mind you, with a freezer up the top. We replaced the seals on this only last year. I know it’s been leaking air and sure enough the laser gun kept showing up the same spot on the seal around the freezer section which was letting out cold air. There was a good few degrees temperature difference between that spot and the rest of the seals. Goes to show, you can’t rely on new fridge seals for that long.

“According to the power meter it’s costing us $291 to run that fridge for the year. I don’t know if that’s good, bad or indifferent.

“One positive thing we worked out is that our 30 year old microwave oven still cooks a chook for only 15 cents! I thought that was pretty good.”


Bill and Patsy Small from Crookwell who have also recently borrowed a Sustainability Kit from the library say they’re still searching for the culprit at their place.

“Our power bills are pretty high, so we borrowed the power meter to try and work out what’s costing us all the money. We’re still in the dark a bit, but we’ve worked out it isn’t our waterbed!” said Bill.

“For the waterbed to work, you’ve got to keep the power turned on 24 x 7. We keep it covered up with a doona so the heat stays in and it doesn’t use as much electricity.

“The power meter shows us it’s costing us $260 a year. We don’t think that’s too bad for a little bit of luxury. We’ve had it ever since we were married 30 years ago.

“The TV’s costing us $130 a year. And I guess it all adds up when you’ve got teenage kids in the home.

“We’re always trying to find ways to save on our power bill. We turn off lights when we leave the room and now we’re considering turning off at the power point things like the electric jug and the deep fryer and the microwave. Why should they be left on when you’re only using them for a short time each day?”

Crookwell and Gunning Libraries have reported  keen interest from borrowers to use the Home Sustainability Kits. Waiting lists were initially in place to cope with demand but now the librarians say there is usually one kit out of five available to borrow at any given time at each library.

Please ring ahead if you want to check the availability of the kits: Crookwell Library 4832 1048 or Gunning Library 4845 1231.

Go in the draw to win $250 to help pay this winter’s power bill!

28 July 2011

Upper Lachlan Shire residents: To go in the draw to win the $250 to help pay your winter power bill all you have to do is borrow a power meter kit from your local library, tell us in 250 words or less what power saving tips you’ve discovered, perhaps how much money you think you can save and email us a photo with your name, address and contact details.

We would welcome photos of an adult family member using the power meter and/or temperature gun at home or perhaps just a photo of that offending clothes dryer you’ve decided to switch off.

Best stories will be published on the Sustaining Our Towns website.

Entries will only be received electronically so please email your power saving tips and photos through to greenupperlachlan@gmail.com.

The competition runs until 30th September 2011 and is only open to residents of the Upper Lachlan Shire.

The winner will be announced in the Crookwell Gazette and Gunning Lions Noticeboard.

20 June 2011

As a way to encourage residents of the Upper Lachlan Shire to think about saving power at home and in their local place of business, the green upperlachlan project with funding from Sustaining Our Towns has purchased power saving kits which are available to borrow from the Crookwell and Gunning libraries.

There are easy to use digital power meters to measure the power consumption of individual appliances and digital laser temperature guns to check where your house might be leaking heat. The power meter even gives you a conversion of your power consumption into dollars and cents. So you can finally work out how much your electric heater or your computer on standby is costing you every year.

Suggestions on how to use the power meter and laser temperature gun

Warning: Please read the instructions carefully when using the power meter and laser temperature gun. There are safety risks associated with plugging an appliance with an incompatible voltage into the power meter or when shining the laser gun directly into the eyes of humans or animals. It is recommended only adults use the equipment or older children under close adult supervision.

Do you leave your tv and computer on standby instead of turning them off at the power point? Do you leave a lamp on through the night? Do you walk past the doors and windows and feel a cold draught? Is your fridge so jammed full that there are much colder spots than others? Have you ever wondered how much you’re paying to use your clothes dryer, your hair dryer, your electric heaters, your electric blanket, your electric razor?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it sounds like you’re ready to stop wasting power and start saving money this winter.

Each power meter (in the Crookwell and Gunning libraries) has been set to a rate of 0.22 or 22 cents which represents the cost of electricity per KwH for parts of the Upper Lachlan Shire. You can adjust this rate on the power meter settings if you pay more or less for your electricity.

Once you have set the usage rate, you can check out how much power a particular appliance is using, or wasting, for different units of time – for 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week or a whole year. The power meter also tells you the dollar amount of the power consumption.

Did you know a humble table lamp left on overnight could be costing you $150 a year?

Laser Temperature Gun

shine around the edges of windows and doors to check where the cold air might be coming through. Could you plug these gaps?

– shine into different parts of your fridge to check variations in temperature. Are you wasting energy by having too many items in your fridge, reducing its effectiveness?

– measure the temperatures of different rooms in your house. When your heater says the room is at 22 degrees, is it really? or is it hotter than 22 and you’re wasting power using your heater too often?

– if you close the doors from your living room into the other rooms of your house, does the temperature rise significantly? Do you really have to heat those other rooms as often?

Power Meter

– plug the power meter into a power point near your desktop or laptop, plug the computer into the meter, switch it to standby mode and see how much power it uses

– many of us leave our tv sets on standby. Try plugging in the power meter to the power point nearest the tv, then plug the tv cord into the power meter, then switch off the tv to standby mode and see how much power it uses every night.

– measure the annual power consumption of using your clothes dryer for 2 hours every week during winter

– what about measuring the dollar value of your electric heater, left on an automatic timer and thermostat control?

Are you ready to change your old habits, save power & save money?

For more information on the gulp Power Meters Promotion please email greenupperlachlan@gmail.com


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