Can voltage optimisation reduce your bills?

Voltage optimisation is often cited as a solution for questions such as Is your voltage too high? Does it matter? Can I do anything about high voltage?

Voltage optimisation for homes

Voltage optimisation is presented as a way of reducing your electricity bills by about 10 to 20%. The logic is that if you have 250V coming into your home a voltage optimiser could reduce this to 230. Accordingly you use around 10% less electricity.

However consider the following

  1. Your lights will dim if old fashioned. LED lights will stay the same
  2. Heating will also use a thermostat
  3. Boiling a kettle, heating hot water for a bath or cooking using an electric oven all take the same heat or power

In the above situations the effect of voltage optimisation is almost nil. Units with compressors such as fridges, freezers, heat pumps and air conditioning make greater losses when run at higher voltages. In addition motors will also run more effectively at their optimal voltage. This could be a fan (computers or TV’s, a pump, or mixer. In addition washing machines, tumble dryers, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners may all work better. Out of the home and in the garden you have lawn mowers, and some people have a shed with power tools.

However in an initial study undertaken in 2011  found that there were about 5% of savings made. The study was only done for 50 homes, and is perhaps not definitive. It also does not examine where the savings were made. Producers of optimisation equipment state that they can make savings of 10% or more.

It is likely that the effects in most homes will be limited and that more effective measures such as switching to LED lighting will be more effective. However some analysis needs to take place. Does the home have high voltage? Are there items that use a lot of electricity that would benefit from lower voltage? What is the likely effect?

Solar PV is another instance where voltage optimisation can help. Installing solar PV can raise the voltage coming into the home. High voltage can cause the inverters to overheat, to turn off, and could reduce their lifepan.

Our conclusion is that voltage optimisation can help particular homes, but certainly not all. If homes have solar PV then there perhaps more of a case for investigation. If you feel that you are affected by high voltage and have solar PV, then please contact us.

Voltage optimisation for businesses

Businesses that use motor driven appliances and have high voltage may well benefit from voltage optimisation. A typical saving of 10% may make a huge difference.

Items such as chillers, blowers, electric heaters, machines, tooling, or cutters, may find that the motors contained within the unit will work more effectively if the voltage is optimised.

If the bills for a business unit are significant then this may be an obvious move to save 10% of electrical bills. Clearly this will work better for businesses with machines, so manufacturing, farming and food retailing will work better than the standard office. Alternatively this could be a public building such as a hospital that contains a lot of electrical equipment.

If reducing your electricity bills are a priority, then please contact us and find out if we can help.

 

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