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How to reduce your home water consumption: a step-by-step guide 

Cost of living pressures and environmental uncertainty has many Australians keen on finding better ways to utilise increasingly expensive resources like water and electricity, particularly in the home.  

While it may seem that your home water consumption is by and large going to always remain at a fixed level—given that almost all the ways in which we use water we deem to be routine necessities— there are a few simple tips that any of us can use to lower the amount and costs of our water usage. 

When it comes to lowering your average home water consumption to a meaningful and lasting degree, we suggest that you and your family familiarise yourselves with some—or all—of the information we have laid out below. You could save yourselves thousands, not to mention playing your part in conserving one of Australia’s most valuable assets: potable water. 

On this blog:

  1. Reducing water consumption in the bathroom
  2. Lowering your average kitchen water consumption
  3. Save Water in the Laundry Room 
How to reduce your home water consumption in the bathroom

In the bathroom: 

More than half of a home’s water consumption comes from its bathroom(s). There are two significant ways to lower our bathroom water usage: technologically and habitually.  

When it comes to how we use our bathrooms, there are also a bunch of ways we can reduce our water use, whether it’s taking shorter showers, not running the sink while we brush our teeth, using half-flush or full-flush functions accordingly, and using a bin instead of the toilet to dispose of things like floss, wipes, and cotton buds. Using the toilet as though it’s a bin will inevitably lead to more frequent flushing and clogging. 
 

No other room in the house has more water flow than your bathroom. Actually, more than half of all water use inside comes from bathrooms. 

 There have been many modern innovations that can drastically lower our water use. Ask your plumber to replace your showerheads, toilets and taps! It will significantly affect your home water consumption, especially if your existing amenities are old.  
 

If you’re replacing a bathroom fixture, seek one with a good water ranting score, which denotes products regulated under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme. The label is designed to help you make informed choices about the water efficiency of the products you buy. 

These are some recommendations to reduce your water consumption in the bathroom by almost 50%: 

1. Limit your showers to 5 minutes or less.  

This one is a no-brainer. Shower faster, waste less! And always choose to shower instead of baths (unless you really need a break, your mental health matters). Turn off the water while shampooing or lathering up if it’s not too cold. Likewise, turn off the water while shaving or tooth brushing. 

2. Replace your single-flush toilet with dual flush toilets.  

New toilets perform the same function with 5 L or less than older toilets, which can use up to 12 L per flush. This simple upgrade allows a typical family to use 20% less water per toilet. 

3. Upgrade to lower water flow AAA-rated showerheads.  

Standard showerheads use approximately 11 L per minute. A low-flow four-star shower won’t use more than 6L per min. The difference increases when you live with your family or flatmates. Some councils offer free showerhead exchange programs. You can get more information here

4. Replace your old taps.  

The typical family can save 1800 L of water annually by replacing old, leaking taps and low-flow water-efficient aerators. Low-flow taps work by mixing air into the water flow. Despite the water volume being significantly reduced, this creates the sensation and perception of full water flow. Install low-flow faucets or aerators to cut tap water usage from the typical 15–18 litres per minute to as little as 2 litres per minute. 

And just as a reminder, the toilet is not a garbage bin. Tissues, most wipes, and dental floss are not designed to disintegrate. But if you want to continue using it as a trash can, we are always happy to quote a blocked drain service for you! 

Let us help you to reduce your home water consumption. We are ready take your sustainable home to the next level!
save water at home
Breaking a few habits and upgrading your dishwasher can significantly reduce your water consumption at home.

Reducing water usage in the kitchen: 

When it comes to wasting water in the kitchen, the dishwasher isn’t the culprit—it’s probably you. 

While it seems like the right thing to do, rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher is a huge waste of water. Dishwashers are designed to do this and to remove small amounts of food left on plates. Please don’t take our word for it; check this article out. An old kitchen faucet can expel between 3 and 10 litres of water per minute—that could be saved if we stop pre-rinsing dishes.  

In addition to adjusting your habits, the best way to reduce your kitchen’s water usage is by updating your appliances. 

1. Replace your old dishwasher.  

If you have an old dishwasher, check out its water rating. It might be a good idea to update your dishwasher if it’s old, as newer models often have a much higher capacity to do a better job with less water. And while we’re on dishwashers—don’t put a load on if the machine isn’t full. Limiting the number of loads you’re doing each week can have a significant effect on your kitchen’s contribution to your household’s overall water consumption. 

Perhaps you perceive the initial investment as expensive, but you will recover that quickly, especially if you have kids at home. 

2. Wash only full loads of dishes.  

Please make the most of your dishwasher’s sprayers by loading them by following the directions in the owner’s manual for optimum effectiveness. Most brands have video tutorials to save you the hassle.  

We mentioned this earlier, but upgrading your old taps will drastically reduce your kitchen’s water consumption. To finalise this area, one final tip (this one is from our grannies): give pots and pans a soak instead of scrubbing them under running water. 

save water in the laundryroom

Save Water in the Laundry Room 

Did you know that 15-20% of the water used in the home is in the laundry? Also, the washing machine is one of the bigger polluters at home. Learn more about this environmental issue here.  

Back to the topic, if you are in the market for a new washing machine, choose a water-efficient model. Otherwise, consider the following tips to help you save water. 

1. The stars matter. 

Choosing a 6kg load capacity washing machine with a 6-star rating that uses 30L per load instead of a 3-star machine using 80L per load will save this family 18kL and $54 each year. 

2. Pick the appropriate water level setting. 

Choose the best for the load if your machine has settings for small, medium, and large water levels. Auto-load sensing is a feature of front-loaders, most HE top-loaders, and some of the most recent agitator top-loaders. This feature automatically determines the load size and necessary water amount. 

3. Avoid additional rinse cycles 

Measuring the detergent will save you water, yes! Regular detergents produce too many suds, and using too much of them might force washers to run longer rinse cycles and, in some cases, repeat the whole process. 
 

4. Pick the right soil setting for the load.  

In most cases, the heavy-duty setting is unnecessary. Avoid using it as it uses more water and extends wash time. The standard setting works for most loads.  

If you make it this far, you are really into making your house more environmentally friendly. Thanks for that! You’re mindful of the challenges that are coming and are committed to change.  

You may think that we have forgotten Outdoors Water saving techniques. Don’t stress, we know that wouldn’t fit on this guide, so we made other 3 Guides on that topic: 


 

Efficient Lighting: 8 Tips to save money while helping the environment!

Choosing the right light bulbs, and light fittings and then using your lighting correctly – by turning lights off when you’re not using them and using natural light wherever possible – will make your home more comfortable, and energy-efficient and save you money on energy bills. 

On this article:

  1. Choose the right lights
  2. Choose the right light fittings
  3. Turn lights off when they’re not in use
  4. Employ Tactical task lighting
  5. Use natural light wherever possible
  6. Light bulb saver app
  7. Install Dimmers
  8. Keep light bulbs and fixtures clean

#1. Choose the right lights

LEDs and CFLs are the most efficient forms of lighting 

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will cost you far less to run than halogen and other incandescent lights. A new bulb can produce the same amount of brightness (measured in lumens) as a traditional bulb using far less electricity (Watts). 

Visit the Victorian Energy Saver website for information about lighting programs that can help you be more energy efficient. 

The cost of running light is directly related to the wattage of the light globe or lamp 

The higher the wattage, the higher the running cost. Reduce your power bills by switching to LEDs and CFLs throughout your home, and replacing halogen lights. Use the Light Bulb Saver app to identify the best light bulbs to replace incandescent and halogen bulbs. 

#2. Choose the right light fittings

Using downlights rather than pendant or fluorescent fittings will mean you need to install more lights, resulting in higher energy use and running costs. Plan energy-efficient lighting to save energy and money. 

#3. Turn lights off when they’re not in use

The longer your lights are left on, the higher your running costs will be. Switch lights off when they’re not in use, to keep your lighting energy costs down. 

Looking to get more efficient lighting?

Our experienced plumbing team can help you. Get the job done today!

Tactical Lighting

#4. Employ Tactical task lighting

Lighting a painting, illuminating a staircase, or installing a reading light at your bedside; task lighting can be just as useful as main overhead ambient lighting in your effort to save energy and reduce your utility bill.  

Installing useful and practical task lighting allows you to use a fraction of the energy of overhead lighting while still achieving satisfactory illumination of your space. Consider a reading light for evening convenience or a picture light to illuminate your favourite piece of art. 

#5. Use natural light wherever possible

The size and orientation of your windows will affect the amount of sunlight entering your home. West, east and north-facing windows tend to be exposed to sunlight, while south-facing windows receive almost no direct sunlight. If you are planning a renovation, consider orienting your living areas and windows to the north, and rooms where you spend less time to the south. This will take advantage of the sun, keeping these rooms warm, light and bright. 

#6. Light bulb saver app

The Light Bulb Saver App identifies the best light bulbs to replace incandescent and halogen bulbs and can help you calculate your savings by switching light bulbs. It also provides tips about choosing the right lighting for each room in your house. Download the free app from iTunes or Google Play

#7. Install Dimmers

Dimming technology continues to advance and consumers that adopt this trend in their home or office often see benefits to both quality of life and their utility bill. Besides the obvious energy savings of dimming your lights and thus using less wattage, dimmers also extend the life of your light bulb, providing security for your investment in quality, energy-efficient light bulbs. 

Efficient Lighting with dimmers

# 8. Keep light bulbs and fixtures clean

An oldie but goodie. Dust and particulates can keep your bulbs and fixtures from utilizing their full available illumination potential. Wiping bulbs with a soft, dry cloth using low pressure will help your bulbs’ efficiency over time and help return their original luminosity. Make sure that all electrical switches are off and bulbs are removed from their sockets before cleaning for best results. 

Extra tip: Take advantage of the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program! 

Although CFLs and LEDs can be more expensive to purchase initially, they will save you money because: 

  • they use up to 80% less energy to produce the same amount of light 
  • you won’t need to change them as often.

A solid long-term investment, switching old incandescent bulbs and fixtures to LED technology can save energy and cut electricity bills for businesses and homeowners. Switch to LEDand start saving.

Also, you can save money with the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.  

Looking to get more efficient lighting?

Our experienced plumbing team can help you. Get the job done today!

 

While lighting is a vital component of our everyday lives, it’s important to consider the impacts of excessive energy usage from an ecological perspective as well as the strain on societal infrastructure. Properly conserving electricity through maintenance, technological advances, and lighting install logistics is not only responsible for the environment and future generations but can save many homeowners and business owners substantial money. 

Reactive Vs Preventive Maintenance – The Property Manager’s Guide

Being a good property manager means understanding how to prioritise a neverending list of tasks, limit emergencies, reduce complaints and encourage repeat business. 

Yes, things will break. Yes, emergencies will occasionally occur. But every other factor that determines your performance as a property manager can be controlled, scheduled and budgeted with the right systems in place.

On this article:

  • Is it better to react or be prepared?
  • Taking control with preventive maintenance
  • Gutter and Drain Cleaning 
  • Safety Checks  –  Gas, Electrical and CO testing
  • Smoke Alarms
  • Solar Panel Servicing
  • Commercial Lighting Checks
  • Sensor-Operated Lighting
  • Doing it all on the same day!

Is it better to react or be prepared?  

The most common misconception about reactive maintenance is the assumption that it saves money. Is it possible that an appliance will function perfectly, well beyond the point when the manufacturer would recommend maintenance? Sure, it’s possible. But it’s more probable that a reactive approach will lead to breakages, expensive repairs, the risk of physical harm, and penalties from one of the many regulatory bodies governing the use of electricity, gas and water. 

In short, the extended use of unmaintained plumbing, power, devices and appliances will usually lead to high costs. The best result would be a simple repair, but other costs can be far more significant, including fines, the loss of tenants, or even the loss of a licence to do business.

Last but not least, the life of a reactive property manager is one filled with chaos. It’s day after day working with a endless to-do list and fielding calls, usually from furious owners and tenants. 

Why face the same hassle every day?

Taking control with preventive maintenance

Anyone who deals with property owners knows the thing they hate the most: unexpected costs. Regardless of that old ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ cliche, you know it’s going to be an uncomfortable call when you tell the owner that the guttering on one side of their property just fell into the garden. It’s going to be twice as awkward if the owner starts asking why you weren’t aware of the poor condition of the gutter. 

So here’s the way to avoid those confrontations, improve tenants’ satisfaction, lower costs, and dramatically reduce the number of tasks and communications you manage each day.

It’s time to take control with a preventive maintenance service.

The idea is beautifully simple. You build a team of trusted technicians who can cover every regular test, maintenance or repair that all properties require. You then get quotes in advance, agree on the services that will be provided and lock the dates in. You’ll know the yearly costs, deliverables and quality of service. The right service provider can even create alerts to inform you of approaching maintenance or testing appointments. 

So, what are the essentials every property needs in 2022?

Gutter and Drain Cleaning 

Gutters and drains are constantly in the process of blocking. It’s just a fact of life. The better a gutter or pipe is, the slower debris accumulates to build a blockage. 

A qualified plumber can regularly send cameras down your pipes and gutters, and clear any blockages with a mechanical jetty. Compared to the cost of excavation, it’s a cheap and quick service. This is the best form of preventive maintenance for most properties because it can eliminate a deep blockage that could require deep excavation. 

Recommended schedule: 

Property Type Frequency Notes
Domestic Twice a year, minimum. Once in early summer, and once immediately after autumn finishes
Commercial Twice a year, minimum. Depending on other factors like surrounding vegetation and gutter capacity, you might have to clean out your gutters more frequently

Automate your preventive maintenance process.

We can help you to better manage all the repetitive tasks that are slowing you down!



Safety Checks  –  Gas, Electrical and CO testing

If you haven’t checked appliances powered by gas or electricity, you need to set a strict schedule for regular checks. The rules governing energy usage, particularly appliances that emit carbon dioxide, have changed. 

Your primary motivation for organising safety checks should be the welfare of your tenants. But even if you put that important consideration aside, leaking appliances can become incredibly costly. Every certified technician who assesses your property is bound by law to inform regulatory bodies of non-compliance. Compared to a quick check twice each year, it’s not worth the risk.

Recommended schedule:

Safety Check Property Type Frequency Notes
Gas and Electrical Domestic / Commercial Every two years, minimum. On commercial or renting properties, it is recommended to get a safety check every time there is a new tenant agreement.
CO Testing Domestic Commercial Every two years, minimum. If your heating system will be running more than 12 hours daily, it is recommended to check it before high peak season (usually winter).

For more information on CO testing please refer to our blog “The importance of servicing heaters and carbon monoxide testing”

Preventive Maintenance

Smoke Alarms

Testing smoke alarms is one regular maintenance item that will be high on every property owner’s to-do list. Unfortunately many property managers aren’t aware that smoke alarms have an expiry date. When an owner weighs up the cost of a major fire against the price of a quick test, it should be easy to justify this simple regular maintenance task. 

Recommended schedule:

Property Type Frequency Notes
Domestic / Commercial Every year, mandatory. For renting properties it is advised to run a safety check before a new tenant enters the property.

Improve your preventive maintenance process!

We can help you to better manage all the repetitive tasks that are slowing you down!



Solar Panel Servicing

Twin Electrics & Plumbing know solar panels better than anyone in Melbourne. We’ve been installing panels since Australia first embraced solar energy. That’s why we understand the impact of poorly maintained panels. 

With solar being a significant investment, every homeowner relies on a long-term return. And that isn’t possible if panels are performing poorly. That’s why we recommend a regular check of all panels and any water heater powered by your solar energy. 

Recommended schedule: 

Property Type Frequency Notes
Domestic / Commercial Every year, minimum. Depending on environmental factors, you may need to clean the panels more frequently; system’s performance depends on it.

You may be interested on Solar System Service: do it before Summer!

Commercial Lighting Checks

It might be scary to walk down a dark alley at night, but if you’ve ever been stranded in a pitch-black stairwell, parking lot or toilet, you’ll know a poorly lit commercial property is just as frightening. 

It may be private property, but it’s intended for the public, valued customers and your team. You can’t afford to risk injury, violence or theft. An ignored black spot will be noticed and manipulated by a clever criminal. Even without a crime being committed, darkness can cause serious accidents and anxiety. 

Recommended schedule

Property Type Frequency Notes
Domestic / Commercial Every year, minimum. Smart lighting would help to get a better control and programmatically configure for best performance.


Sensor-Operated Lighting

Even a poorly placed sensor can lead to the discomfort of customers, staff and the public. A malfunctioning sensor is a much more severe issue, especially for people prone to injury or anxiety. Apart from possible injury or panic, the risk of crime skyrockets in any area with poor visibility. 

Sensors are an excellent way of conserving energy and being aware of the movements of staff, customers and unwanted guests, but a malfunctioning sensor can be incredibly dangerous. When the cost of regular checks is so low, why risk the wellbeing of your team and customers?

Recommended schedule: 

Property Type Frequency Notes
Domestic / Commercial Every year, minimum. Smart lighting would help to get a better control and programmatically configure for best performance.

What’s better than regular preventive maintenance? Doing it all on the same day!

There’s no need to schedule 20 events per year. The smart money is on a preventive maintenance package. Twin Electrics & Plumbing is one of the few major plumbing and electrical teams that have packaged all the essential maintenance and tests each property needs. 

We love it because we can send a dedicated team to learn your unique needs and ensure you get superior service. You’ll love it because you can plan, budget and minimise any interruptions to your tenant’s business. We’ll even manage schedules and send reminders. 

Talk to our customer support team about streamlining and improving your property maintenance. Great for tenants, property managers and owners.

Weak water pressure? Here’s how to identify and fix the problem

There’s no point having piping hot water in your bathroom if there’s weak water pressure. It takes the joy out of every shower and costs valuable time. Low water pressure can also make sinks difficult to fill and affect the power of hoses. The time it adds to the cycle of washing machines and dishwashers costs more energy, and that’s bad for your power bill and the environment. 

Many people try workarounds or simply put up with the inconvenience of low water pressure. But many of the repairs are quick jobs for experienced plumbers, and there are a few DIY remedies you can try. Twin Electrics & Plumbing has been dealing with water pressure issues for over four decades, so we’ll help you identify your problem. We’ll start with some more manageable issues and work our way to more sophisticated solutions. 

On this article:

  1. Poor hot water pressure at a single fixture
  2. Multiple taps and fixtures with weak water pressure
  3. When the whole house is affected
  4. Are your neighbours affected?
  5. Water tank + water pressure booster pumps
  6. Remember the dangers of DIY solutions

#1. Poor hot water pressure at a single fixture

If you’re experiencing weak water pressure at a fixture that delivers hot water, like a shower, you’ve partly isolated the cause already. That’s usually good news. You can work your way through a logical process of checks and repairs that will begin easy and gradually become more significant as you move toward the supply line. 

For instance, your showerhead could be malfunctioning or blocked. That would be a relatively easy and cheap fix. The more likely cause will be a sediment build-up in the hot water system, which will find its way into the narrow pipes that supply water to your showerhead. Call a qualified plumber to flush the hot water system and clean the lines. Even if this isn’t the immediate cause of the issue, flushing the system will save you some inevitable grief. Few systems can operate for long periods without developing what’s known as ‘scale’. 

If a clean hot water system supplies the tap, shower or appliance, the likely culprit will be an individual pipe. That’s the most expensive cause, but if we can access the pipe easily, you may be able to avoid a costly excavation.

#2. Multiple taps and fixtures with weak water pressure

If more than one fixture is dribbling rather than blasting water, it’s likely to be the pipes. Several issues can occur with the supply line, including bent pipes, corrosion and gravity. At least you’ve isolated the problem to a particular part of the house. It will inevitably require the expertise of a plumber, but hopefully, the issue is limited to one section of the supply line. 

Bent pipes are one of the reasons you have regulators at essential junctions of your water supply to control surges. Water will often travel along bent pipes without affecting your water pressure. But in some cases, it could slow the flow. In that case, it may simply be a case of replacing one section of pipes. The location of the offending section will determine the cost. An easily accessible pipe could be a quick and cheap fix, so don’t assume the worst. Call a certified Melbourne plumber to assess the damage and provide a quote. 

Old corroded pipes will not be the best result for your bank balance. It’s a significant installation. But unfortunately, if the pipes cause poor pressure, you’ll be choosing between slowly waning water supply or investing in modern pipes. It may be a high cost, but it should be a remedy that lasts for many years to come.

#3. When the whole house is affected

When every tap, fixture, and appliance performs poorly, there’s a long list of causes and cures. Some remedies are as easy as twisting a dial. Others may either require significant plumbing, additional supply or pumps. 

Weak water pressure | poor water pressure signs

Check the water metre valve to make sure it’s fully open. Technically, the valve doesn’t belong to you, but at the very least, you can check to see if it’s open. If your water pressure is noticeably lower after a technician has carried out any kind of repairs to your home, your water metre valve could be the culprit. 

Check the main water valve inside your home. You’ll find it close to the incoming supply pipe, and it usually looks like a dial or small wheel. Unlike the water metre valve, this dial is okay to check by turning it physically. This valve is the one you generally use to shut off your water when you have an emergency, and considering how easy it is to turn, it’s also easy to make a mistake when turning the water back on. 

Check the pressure regulator in your home. A fully functioning regulator can save your pipes by adjusting the supply during surges. A malfunctioning regulator can unnecessarily lower your water pressure. How will you know if the issue is the setting or a malfunction? Again, it’s safer and more cost-efficient to ask a plumber to check it. If you set the regulator too high, you may create worse problems by forcing too much water into the supply line. 

Experiencing weak water pressure issues?

Our experienced plumbing team can help you. Get the job done today!



#4. Are your neighbours affected?

It’s a question many people fail to ask. We all tend to get fixated on our problems, but a quick friendly chat with a neighbour may determine the exact nature of the issue. You could be living in an area that simply doesn’t have strong water pressure. The pipes may be fine, but the supply is simply weak. If that’s the case, read on to discover a great solution.

Incorrect pipe sizes are a common cause. Let’s be honest here. Not all plumbers are created equal. Our certified crew of technicians wouldn’t dream of installing a small supply line that squeezes your main supply into a narrow pipe. In that situation, it’s just as bad as a blockage. If you’re the victim of poor installation, it can be frustrating and costly. But it’s relatively easy for an excellent plumber to re-pipe your supply line, particularly at the point where the mains meet your home’s system. 

#5. Water tank + water pressure booster pumps

When all else fails, the powered blades of a pump can help to increase or regulate your water supply. These devices only function when water is needed. That means you’re not wasting energy. 

Of course, you can’t turn a weak supply into high pressure without storing water. Talk to Twin Electrics & Plumbing, the water tank specialists, for the right advice on the size and type of tank you need. Provided you’re following regulations, it’s not a complex installation, and it will provide many more advantages, including an additional water supply.  

You can set your pump to control water pressure depending on your household needs. Generally, that will be around the 50 PSI mark (PSI is how we measure pressure). Less than 40 PSI may be too weak. More than 60 could damage pipes. 

For that reason, you need a plumber to advise you on your supply line’s ability to handle the extra pressure. Some older pipes could be damaged if you set the pressure too high. You also need to make sure you are allowed to add a pump. Knowledgeable technicians, like the Twin Electrics & Plumbing crew, usually know which regions can legally use pumps. 

#6. Remember the dangers of DIY solutions

Cleaning a fixture can’t hurt, but beyond simple maintenance, most of your issues with weak water pressure will require a qualified plumber. The important thing is to make sure you choose a certified technician with good experience, training and equipment. With the latest equipment at their disposal, Twin Electrics & Plumbing’s dedicated plumbing team can often clear blockages without excavation, which means more cost-efficient solutions. 

How To Choose The Best Hot Water System – 2022 Top 10

Until recently, choosing the best hot water system was easy. You simply calculated the amount of hot water you needed and worked out the cheapest way to generate it. But times have changed. We’ve become more aware of the impact of fossil fuels on the environment, leading to greater awareness of the many options available. 

If your old system is costing you a fortune in hot water repairs, or you’re frowning at your electricity bill each month, it’s time to upgrade.

On this article:

What Is The Best Hot Water System? – Energy, Capacity And Appliance Type

There are three parameters to consider if you want to do the right thing for your family, budget, and planet. 

The first parameter is energy. There are a few motivators when considering energy options, including emissions, costs and supply. Narrow down your choices by determining whether you can generate solar power or receive a natural gas supply. 

Secondly, consider household requirements. Any solution that doesn’t deliver a reliable source of hot water for your household can be crossed off the list regardless of how clever, sustainable, or cheap it is. 

Finally, you need to determine the size and type of device. There are several popular choices, including tanks and on-demand water heaters. If you’re shrugging your shoulders and assuming you need a tank, make sure you’re aware of recent improvements in heat pumps and instant water heating appliances. 

Let’s take all those parameters into account to create a top ten list of the best hot water systems for a household of four people.

#1. Solar Powered – Natural Gas Boosted 

Nobody is pretending solar power has a low entry price, but this combo can ease your conscience and save huge sums of money on annual energy bills. In the emissions category, it wins by a landslide, generating only 1.9 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over a decade. You’ll also be confronted with a whopping annual energy bill of – wait for it – $65! When you compare that to the $920 you’d pay for a system running on peak electricity, installing solar panels looks a lot more affordable. Add the rebates and incentives available to Victorians on the Solar Homes program, and our number one choice just got a lot hotter!

#2. Solar Powered – LPG Boosted Tank

LPG cops a bad rap, but the stats tell the true story. It may not be the sustainable energy source the world needs in the long run, but it may be a viable band-aid to apply until we’ve all embraced greener forms of energy. Used to boost a solar-powered tank, it keeps prices and emissions low. It narrowly misses out on taking the honours for low emissions, and although its annual energy costs are twice as high as our first choice, it still manages to outperform every other alternative. 

You may also be interested on:  Why It Is Important To Have Your Gas Heater Serviced Regularly

#3. Heat Pump – Off-Peak

Heat pumps draw ambient heat from the air and force cooler air out, creating a water heating process that is up to three times more energy-efficient than standard tanks. The jump from solar to heat pump more than doubles greenhouse gas emissions (5.3 tonnes per decade), but that’s still very low compared to standard electricity. The big benefit is for your yearly budget, keeping the energy costs down to $160 a year, making it the third-best combination on our list.

#4. Solar Powered – Electric Boosted

With the right combination of tank and primary energy supply, electricity still plays an important role. That’s a relief for people without access to natural gas lines or preferring to avoid LPG. With an annual energy cost of $210, it’s not far off the mark set by our top three choices. Over a decade, it’s relatively kind to the environment, generating 7.1 tonnes of greenhouse gases. That figure isn’t even enough to push its emissions into the mid-range.

#5. Natural Gas – Instant

If it’s been a while since you tried an instant water heater, your opinion may be as outdated as those old, poorly performing models. Gas and instant go hand in hand, and the latest instant hot water heaters generate piping hot water on demand. There’s an additional cost because you usually need an appliance in each room that requires hot water. But with an annual energy bill of $255, your long-term savings should cover the entry fee.

#6. Natural Gas – Storage

A big tank powered by natural gas is a very popular choice. Natural gas is a reliable compromise that is still below the mid-range for emissions generated by water heaters and saving plenty of money with its $280 annual energy bill. It won’t top any of our three categories, but it’s a solid performer. A qualified technician can install a gas heater quickly and affordably, making it an easy option for many Melbourne households.

#7. LPG – Instant

We’re adding this option for people determined to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions but who don’t have access to solar power or natural gas. While the price tag for annual energy doubles (not to mention the cost of the appliances), emissions are only slightly higher than natural gas. This is a case of putting your money where your mouth is, but if you’re limited on options but determined to make a difference, LPG will only produce 9.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases in ten years.

You may also be interested on: Troubleshooting the Water Heater: Why Is My Hot Water Not Working?

#8. LPG – Storage

With an annual energy bill of $485 and 7.9 tonnes of greenhouse gases generated over ten years, LPG stacks up surprisingly well compared to the many other options. As we’ve mentioned before, it may not be the first choice for the most idealistic climate change campaigner, but what the world needs right now is results. With half the emissions of a tank heated by electricity, LPG is a viable interim solution that can make a difference right now.

#9. Electric – Instant

If you’re determined to use electricity, changing to an instant heater can reduce your ten-year emissions by five tonnes. If enough people followed suit, it could make a big difference. But most people striving to make a positive impact would consider five tonnes to be trivial. It’s better than choosing the most expensive and destructive option (see below), but even if you limit your requirements to cost efficiency, it’s hard to justify the $805 annual energy bill.

#10. Electric – Storage

There’s only one reason an old-fashioned electric-powered tank can make this list. That’s because it’s literally the last combination of energy and appliance we haven’t covered. Now that we’re at the tail end of options let’s make some shocking comparisons. Stored hot water generated by electricity creates up to 23.6 tonnes of greenhouse gases over ten years compared to solar-powered and gas-boosted systems that generate 1.9 tonnes. The same colossal gap applies to annual bills, which are $920 and $65, respectively. Add up those savings based on the ten-year life of a water heater, and you can put more than $8,000 toward solar panel installation.


Migrating To Greener Energy Comes At A Cost

There’s no doubt it’s a tough time to invest in anything new. We’re still struggling to recover from a worldwide pandemic. But despite economic hardship, it’s the citizens of the world who are leading the way to a sustainable future. We’re doing it with our choice of products. But we can make the most significant change by choosing more innovative ways to power our homes. 

We hope our list of the best hot water system helps you carefully consider your options, especially when it comes to long-term investments versus short-term goals. You don’t have to install expensive equipment to make a difference. Even a compromise can quickly halve your emissions. But if you’re making a tough choice between solar, gas or electricity, we encourage you to shoot for long-term savings and low emissions. Investing in infrastructure is rarely a poor decision, even when applied to the energy supply of a suburban home. 

12 Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

Australia’s extreme weather makes us rely on air conditioning systems to keep us comfortable. AC is the one appliance every household can’t live without during unbearably hot temperatures on summer days to freezing winters.

When your air conditioning isn’t working correctly during a heatwave, you’d be frustrated. Fortunately, your AC will generally give some warning signs before it completely breaks down.

We have compiled 12 common sinister signs that you need  a new air conditioner or perhaps an urgent repair. This will help you to be prepared and know what to look out for.

Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

1. Moisture Is Accumulating, or the Unit Is Leaking

A slight amount of moisture from condensation occurs naturally only when the air is heated and cooled. However, if you find a large amount of water on or around the air conditioner, or worse, if there is a leak, it indicates that you should call an air conditioner specialist.

This extra moisture may result from a mechanical malfunction or may be related to the refrigerant. Anyway, these two issues need to be addressed quickly.

Dripping unwanted water into your home can cause flood damage and can be very expensive to repair. On the other hand, exposed refrigerants are associated with a wide range of health hazards. In this case, it may be possible to repair the existing air conditioning system, but system replacement can often be cheaper.

2. Strange Smells 

There are a lot of strange odours emitted by the air conditioner when something goes wrong. You can learn a lot from an AC unit based on the smell. The musty odour can indicate mould in the system or indicate critters that found the unfortunate end in the duct.

All odours indicate a problem with the air conditioner, but some smells can also be dangerous to your and your family’s health. It would be great to remove the stink with a thorough cleaning and simple repairs, but it may be time to replace the unit altogether.

Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

3. Poor or nill airflow

Did you notice a drastic change in the airflow of the system? Within minutes of turning on the air conditioner, you will feel warm or cold air coming out of the unit. If not, the airflow in the vent may be restricted, or the fan may be defective.

These problems don’t vanish on their own and can easily be avoided with regular maintenance. An air conditioning specialist can identify the problem and repair or install the replacement unit before a major issue arises.

You may also be interested on: One AC to rule them all – reverse cycle split system air conditioners

4. No Cool or Warm Air comes from the Air Conditioning Unit

If you switch your air conditioner on however your property nevertheless feels stifling warm or freezing cold, that’s a clear signal it’s time to update your air conditioner. There’s a protracted listing of motives why your air conditioner isn’t developing the cool or heat air you’re after, and you may want a certified professional to evaluate the scenario and behaviour upkeep or replacements.

Inconsistent Temperature in Airconditioner

5. The Temperature is Inconsistent

The whole idea of getting an air conditioner is to provide a consistent airflow to control the room’s temperature according to the desired setting. Minor fluctuations are expected as the system regulates the temperature, but significant deviations are not typical. 

Air conditioners that blow hot air in cooling mode can have serious problems such as compressor breakage. Mismatched temperatures can also be caused by failures in filters, condenser coils, condensate drains, or other internal components.

Major failures that prevent air conditioners from producing constant temperatures or reducing cooling capacity are often too expensive to repair. In this case, we recommend getting a new air conditioning unit.

Experiencing any of the 12 Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner? Let us help you to solve the issue!


AIR CONDITIONING SPECIALIST

6. Your Air Conditioning is making strange noises

There is no completely quiet air conditioner. Over time, you will learn the typical sounds that your particular air conditioner makes. If your air-con suddenly makes a strange noise, call an expert to inspect it ASAP. It may be a simple issue that can aggravate if unattended.

Squeaking, squealing, rattling, and clicking sounds are all bad signs of a problem with your air conditioner. Repair or replacement is appropriate, depending on the issue that causes the noise.

You may also be interested on: Air-conditioning Service – Benefits for you!

7. It Takes too long to start

The air conditioner alternates between on and off to maintain the desired temperature. If you have problems starting the air conditioner, or if it switches on and off randomly in a short cycle, it may indicate an issue.

Switching on and off frequently puts stress on the air conditioner and shortens its life. If you’re lucky, it’s just a blown fuse. If not, you will probably be on the hunt for a new air conditioner.

Excesive Dust accummulation

8. Excessive Dust Accumulation

A well-maintained air conditioner does more than just heat and cool. They also clean the air in your home with their air filters so you can breathe clean air.

If you have more dust in your house than usual, clean the system’s filter if these are dusty. If the problem persists, it may be time to start thinking about a new air conditioner.

9. Not enough humidity removed by the air conditioning

One of the roles of air conditioners is to lower the humidity in the house. Even in low-humidity climates, the air retains a small amount of moisture. If you start to feel moisture inside your home while the air conditioner is running, the unit may need to be serviced.

Experiencing any of the 12 Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner? Let us help you to solve the issue!


AIR CONDITIONING SPECIALIST

10. Your Air Conditioning is Inefficient or Old

Age affects all of us, including our air conditioners. If you’re worried about your home’s energy cost or energy efficiency, it may be a reason to upgrade your current system to something new in itself.

Newer models can save you more in the long run than older air conditioners. They are inherently more energy efficient with new technology. Just compare the power consumption ratings of your old and new devices.

Also, you may be upgrading other electrical appliances or integrating a solar panel system in your home. You may want to get a unit that works in synergy with the rest of the appliances.

You may also be interested in:  The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Sustainable Home

Inefficient Air Conditioning | Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

11. The aircon frequently needs repairs

Like any other appliance, air conditioning units will show signs of use and tear over the years. An old air conditioner that needs frequent repairs may be close to the end of its life expectancy. Perhaps getting a new unit is cheaper than regular technicians visits. This is especially true after the warranty expires and you cover the total fees.

You’ll also get to enjoy all the great features new AC systems come with, such as their smart capabilities and greater energy efficiency.

12. Energy Bills Skyrocketing

Although there are many causes for energy bills fluctuations, a malfunctioning air conditioning system will definitely increase your monthly electricity expenses. 

Over time, you come to learn the energy costs despite seasonal fluctuations. Unless your energy provider has significantly increased their charges, spikes in monthly fees indicate an electrical problem at home. 

If you are experiencing any of the issues mentioned on this list and your electricity bill has increased dramatically, it is very likely to be connected. 

There you have it! If you can at least consider each item on our 12 warning signs you need a new air conditioner, you’ll be armed with enough knowledge to take action before it is too late. The best time to make a positive change is when devices reach the end of their lifespan. Simply upgrade rather than replace. You may even find it’s cheaper to buy a superior product. 

As always, get your installation done by reliable professionals. There’s nothing worse (and more expensive) than poor installation and maintenance. Twin Electrics & Plumbing has a dedicated in-house team of the best electricians in Melbourne. Get it done fast and get it done right the first time! We can usually get a technician to your home in an hour, so give us a call. We won’t let you down. 

Remember to check our blogs for Going Green and Buy Smart guides. We publish regularly and always have the latest information on new products and cost-saving initiatives. 

Power Outages – 10 Ways To Prepare, React And Recover

Power outages are usually far from our daily thoughts. If you’re involved in a business that depends on electricity, it’s likely that you have a contingency plan for the office. Meanwhile, you may have completely forgotten to give your family the benefit of preparation and planning that can save lives and protect their most valuable belongings. 

While we go about our lives assuming electricity is 100% reliable, the companies that supply our power are constantly repairing faults. Debris, storms, traffic accidents, fires and malicious damage can suddenly cast a suburb into pitch black chaos. At any given time, there are minor outages happening across the state. A power outage in your suburb is likely to happen, but you’ll seldom know when. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of top tips that you can apply in chronological order, beginning with preparation. 

Be Ready For The Next Power Outage 

#1. Don’t Fry Your Laptop – Always Use Surge Protectors

Don’t let your most expensive devices take the strain of a sudden burst of electricity. Some surges are simply too powerful for any device to handle. Surge protectors are like a bullet-proof vest for your electronic devices. Even in the case of the most powerful burst of electricity, a properly functioning surge protector will sacrifice itself to keep your favourite gadgets in A1 condition. Twin Electrics & Plumbing can help choose and install the latest surge protectors

#2. Serious Storm? Power Down!

Sure, it seems extreme to pull out every plug, but with so many devices being wireless, it’s not as disruptive as it was a decade ago. There’s no point complaining about it ruining your night when most of your favourite entertainment can still be enjoyed without power. Surge protectors may act as an important defender, but an extreme electrical storm carries the risk of lightning. Every connected electrical wire or device can act as a conductor. If there’s any risk of extreme weather, trust the experts when they recommend powering down. 


Power Outages scan start with a storm

#3. Water + Electricity = Tragedy

Here at Twin Electrics & Plumbing, we constantly remind Victorians of the immediate and severe risk of electrical wires exposed to water. Aussies tend to build vertically due to our experiences with flooding but there are plenty of homes with basements and cellars. Anything below ground level is susceptible to flooding. However minor it seems, it only takes a small puddle to create a tragedy. Anyone with subterranean rooms needs to have a way of pumping out the water fast. A sump pump powered by a generator can extract water quickly. 

You may also be interested on: Power outage Melbourne: can your business afford it?

#4. Invest In A Generator 

If you absolutely must have uninterrupted power, a small generator is the answer. They should always be used outside rather than enclosed spaces, but they’re tough enough to handle the elements. It may seem like a luxury for a minor outage but there’s no telling how long it will take for damaged lines to be repaired. If power outages affect medical equipment or the refrigeration of medicines, you need to get advice from a medical practitioner. That advice may include investing in an alternative power supply. 

 #5. Darkness Is Dangerous – Always Know Where Your Flashlights Are 

We’re keeping flashlights separate from the survival kit because let’s face it, you may never find the survival kit without the flashlight. As a senior member of the family, the onus is going to be on you to shed some light on the situation. Have a small LED flashlight where you put your keys or in a location where you’re reminded of it. You can then have a range of LED flashlights and lamps in one obvious location. It’s also advisable for every member of the household to keep a small LED flashlight in their room. 


A survival kit will be necessary upon power outages

#6. Prepare A Survival Kit 

An electrical outage survival kit is similar to any standard zombie apocalypse survival kit except you probably won’t need a crossbow or samurai sword. You’ll need some warm practical clothing, non-perishable foods, back-up flashlights, batteries and a waterproof outer layer (e.g. poncho). You might think it seems like a lot of effort (and storage) just to survive a half-hour outage. But imagine what a genius, champion and hero you’ll become when that little outage stretches into a marathon. 

#7. Food Preservation – The Fridge-Freezer Shuffle

When the temperature of perishable goods rises above 40 degrees, you may as well throw them in the bin. Let’s face it, food isn’t cheap in Australia, and Murphy’s Law suggests the most likely time for an outage is after you’ve spent a hundred bucks at the supermarket. Worse than wasting groceries is eating rotten food. It could potentially be more dangerous that any electrical risk. While it doesn’t take long for a fridge to lose its cool, a freezer can hold its temperature for up 48 hours. Try swiftly transitioning perishable items to the freezer, making sure doors aren’t left open for too long. It could buy you time and help you avoid buying the same food again tomorrow. 

#8. Stay Informed With Real Time Maps

Power outages aren’t dirty secrets energy companies hide. In a connected world where people demand instant answers, most power companies are completely transparent. You can access real time interactive maps which will highlight outages and describe the severity of the damage. You can also get estimated times and important safety information. Knowing which company supplies your energy is a good starting point. Find out how they alert customers, what channels they use, and their recommended safeguards. 

You may also be interested on: Electrical hazards at home – the ultimate guide.


Be ready for the next power outage

#9. Bored Games?

While we may have created a less extreme survival kit than the one you’ll be using for the zombie apocalypse, the outage kit can be more fun. You may not instantly get a positive response when you reveal a classic board game, but attitudes may change as devices run out of power. If you’ve followed our tips, you should be safe enough to simply wait it out. What better way to enjoy some unexpected family time than forcing the kids into Monopoly bankruptcy? 

#10. Evacuation 

The concept of evacuation is alien to most people, but anyone who has ever been forced to leave their home will tell you it’s a much less frightening experience when you’re well informed. The majority of homeowners are dangerously unprepared and that leads to panic. Emergency services teams lose so much time on unnecessary communications, and it can be avoided if homeowners understand when and where to go during an evacuation. Of course, it’s likely you’ll be ordered to evacuate just before you win that game of Monopoly. 


Electrical problems | Signs of electrical problems

Over 40 years providing preventing power outages in Melbourne.

Be Ready For The Next Power Outage 

Whether it’s due to a rosy outlook, busy lifestyle or tight budget, we tend to deprioritise preparations for power outages. After all, it seems like a rare occurrence. But tell that to the 18,000 Australians who were evacuated due to flooding during March. 

During our lifetimes, few of us will avoid the discomfort of long electrical outages. Start with personal safety. Then take the necessary precautions to protect your home and valuables. Finally, make outages less frightening for kids by ensuring they’re warm, well fed, well-lit and entertained. 

As always, check our safety guides for all the latest advice, checklists and news. And if you’re eager to safeguard your property and devices with surge protectors, sumps, generators and improvements to wiring, call Twin Electrics & Plumbing for a free quote. 

Choosing the best electrical contractor for your business

You’ve got an electrical issue, and all you want is a quick solution to the problem. But choosing the best electrical contractor is so much more difficult when you run a business. Beyond the usual requirements like speed, quality, and reliability, you have the added pressures of compliance, insurance, and responsibility to the people you manage. 

What you need is a checklist of essential considerations to help you choose the right contractor. Of course, Twin Electrics & Plumbing would love to be your first choice. But we’re on a mission to improve electrical safety, so regardless of your decision, we encourage you to use this guide as you research the best options. 

BUY SMART#1. Qualifications

If one of our technicians turns up at your door, we expect you to ask them to prove that they are licenced. For Twin Electrics & Plumbing, it’s no inconvenience because we only hire and train certified technicians. But some solo contractors don’t meet the same standards. No licence means no compliance. Non-compliant work is legally (and in many cases, practically) not up to industry standards. In the event of an incident caused by an electrical issue, tracing it back to incompetent electrical work could put you in legal hot water. 

 

Best electrical contractor#2. Experience

Now that we have a certified electrician, the next obvious question is whether they have the necessary experience. With so many contractors out there, you should be able to find someone who is either very experienced across the entire gamut of electrical appliances, wiring and infrastructure; or a technician who has developed a particular area of specialisation. When searching for the best electrical contractor, make sure you only hire electricians who have solid evidence or testimonies to back their experience.

#3. Insurance

As a business, you’re probably already juggling a few insurance policies. Somewhere in the fine print of your policy, you’ll find clauses that insist on 100% compliance. While insurance companies are known for a little bit of leniency during claims, they will withdraw that generosity if the claim is large enough. It’s not something you can take to the bank, figuratively or literally! As for insuring the electrical work, if your electrician isn’t insured, you can probably guess who will be liable in the event of an accident. The contractor will be long gone, leaving you holding the smoking gun!

You may also be interested on: How to choose the best plumbing company in Melbourne?

#4. Pricing 

Life can often surprise us. Perhaps the cheapest electrician you find will deliver the highest quality of work. Is it likely, though? Rather than price, we recommend looking at value. For larger organisations like Twin Electrics & Plumbing, our operations are expensive. We hire the best technicians, buy the latest equipment and have a dedicated customer support team. We may be slightly more costly than a solo contractor, but we strive to offer much better value. 

#5. Speed

We all know that the cost of an electrical issue in an office, warehouse or factory is measured by lost productivity. Good managers always have an eye on the clock. You may have found the best electrical contractor, but a long wait will be far too costly. In terms of costs, a fast solution that gets your team back to full productivity can often pay for itself. If you’re losing a thousand dollars an hour, every minute counts. 

#6. Reputation

The bigger the brand, the more investment in its development and maintenance. That’s the way it works in a world of fast connectivity and transparency. It’s great for the consumer and tough on the vendor. But for brands like ours, built over 40 years, reputation is everything. We can’t afford to deliver shoddy work or overcharge customers. Every job is performed strictly to standards, both internal and regulatory. So, is your contractor reputable? In other words, are they accountable? 

Twin Electrics Services Electrical Contractor Reviews#7. References and Reviews

With plenty of disreputable characters giving our industry a bad name, the default starting position for any customer is cynicism. We get it. Once bitten, twice shy. Still, that customer feedback is an excellent tool for anyone looking for the best electrical contractor. Make sure you don’t base a decision on one great review. Check to see how many reviews the business has received. A decent rating backed by a large number of reviews is a much more reliable indicator than a small handful of high ratings. 

Preventive Maintenance | Electrician Contractor#8. Equipment

It’s not always an essential box to tick, but in some cases, equipment is critical. For the most advanced electrical work, one particular item of equipment may dramatically increase quality or reduce labour. Costs will be reduced if you deal with a vendor who owns, rather than leases, equipment for large-scale infrastructure projects. Also, ensure you’re dealing with an electrician who has well-maintained equipment. Some tools are extremely powerful, so even a minor malfunction could put you or your team at risk. 

You may also be interested on: Safety Tips Guides, dealing with dangerous hazards every day

Best electrical contractor#9. Product

For products like larger electrical appliances, a well-established company with key industry partnerships can help you access cutting edge products or massive discounts. The more prominent and older the vendor, the more likely they’ll have closer ties with major brands and suppliers. Exclusive deals are always the ultimate goal in partnerships, so you could find that a premium or unique product is available when you choose a particular vendor. 

Best electrical contractor customer service#10. Manners

It’s rarely going to make the top of a priority list but choosing a crass, impolite or untidy contractor is something you’ll immediately regret. If it’s a minor inconvenience during a quick repair, imagine how you’d feel if you had to put up with a toxic or offensive individual for a week or more? Ensure you check reviews and testimonials for comments regarding etiquette, courtesy and personal hygiene.


AIR CONDITIONING SPECIALIST

Over 40 years providing commercial electrical services across Melbourne Metro.

Finding The Best Electrical Contractor – Is It Possible To Tick Every Box On The Checklist?

It certainly is. It may seem like a few items belong on a ‘nice to have’ list, but at Twin Electrics & Plumbing, we believe these ten characteristics are essential. That means our technicians are fast, reliable, experienced, certified and polite. They all represent the Twin Electrics & Plumbing brand – a family business with over 40 years of experience and 40 vans on the road in Melbourne. 

We may not be the first choice for your next electrical project, but we’d like to think you’ll choose a company with the same high standards. We look forward to working with you in the future. Until then, please always try to tick all ten boxes on our checklist.