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kWh explained

kW and kWh explained: what does it all mean?

24 Apr 2019
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amaysim's content guy

Ah, kW and kWh....wait what?

To be fair...unless you work in the energy industry, chances are these terms will leave you scratching your head. (And yes, the correct way of writing these out is with a lowercase k and an uppercase W)

If you’re wondering what these terms mean in relation to your energy bill mean, you’ve come to the right place.


What is a kW?

kW is short for kilowatt.

A kW measures power.

Power = the combination of all the watts used to power your house.

Your appliances should tell you how many watts they require to run. One watt = one joule of energy per second.

Kilo = one thousand
Watt = a measure of power
One kW = 1,000 Watts

Ever had to change a lightbulb in your lifetime ? Chances are you might be somewhat familiar with wattage. In fact, you probably fitted a 40-watt lightbulb in your kitchen after the last one blew.

Well, a kW is just an easy way to measure electrical power over 999 watts. So your 20,000-watt generator could also be called a 20kW generator.

OK, we get it. A kW is 1,000 watts. But what does that mean for my energy bill? Well kW are used to determine the rate of electricity used at any given time, or your demand. If you’re using high-kilowatt appliances, the rate of energy needed to run them goes up.

You generally don’t pay for the demand you put on the system (kW), but how much energy you use (kWh). So when you’re comparing energy retailers, you should be looking at the electricity usage costs per kWh ($/kWh).

curious about how much electricity your appliances use? let's break it down

Home Office Workspace

What is a kWh?

A kWh measures energy.

Energy = the power (or watts) you’re using, multiplied by the amount of time those appliances are used for.

Kilo = one thousand
Watt = a measure of power
Hour = a measure of time
One kWh = 1,000 watts (or 1kW) sustained over 1 hour.

If your vacuum cleaner uses power at a rate of 1kW for one hour, you’ll have used 1kWh. Unless you’re on a ‘demand tariff’, your energy bill will show electricity usage costs per kWh.

This $/kWh change from provider to provider , and there are a other factors that can affect your costs, including peak and off-peak tariffs, as well as the state you live in, so it pays to look into the rate breakdown of your plan if you're on the hunt for a new energy plan.

From the kitchen to the laundry, our kWh appliance guide provides a rundown of your appliance use, so you can become more informed about how much electricity is being used by your household favourites


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winter energy

5 Ways to Reduce Winter Energy Usage

10 May 2020

Many of us watch our energy bills creep up during the peak of winter, but a warm home doesn’t have to go hand in hand with a massive power bill. These energy saving tips will help you discover how to save electricity in winter. Try our seasonal winter home energy saving tips and keep your energy bill manageable.

1. Stay old school, where possible

Being able to walk around your home without having to wear a lot of layers or carry a blanket is a wonderful luxury in winter. However, there’s a certain vintage charm to getting warm under a heavy blanket while the air outside your cosy blanket haven is still chilly.

Keeping things old school as much as you can, pulling out thermals, putting on socks, and cuddling up for warmth during a Netflix session, are some of our favourite power saving tips for winter.

Smart Home Devices

2. Go smart

Not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how to lower an electricity bill in winter, but smart devices can help you save heaps when it comes to your power bill.

If you use household heating, a programmable smart thermostat can save households up to $180 per year in heating and cooling costs, according to Energy Star. Some of these smart home devices can even be operated from smartphones, for when you just don’t want to leave the warmth of your blanket.

Who would have thought having an awesome home automation setup would bring your energy bill down!

Standby Power

3. Upgrade to energy efficient appliances

Just like choosing smart devices to save power, you can upgrade to energy-efficient appliances to save power too.

In Australia, most household appliances are rated according to their energy efficiency. Since efficient appliances use less electricity, they’re way cheaper to run. Of course, you don’t need to toss out your washing machine, dryer, fridge, microwave, and kettle just to save electricity in winter.

If you have an appliance that’s costing you a lot to run, it might actually save you money in the long run to buy a new, more efficient replacement.

Look up the energy ratings for all your big appliances (and small ones too if you can) and find any that could do with replacing.

4. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs

Energy-efficient bulbs are a no-brainer when it comes to ways to save money on electricity in winter. In fact, you should use these bulbs throughout the year to keep your electricity bill down, no matter the season.

These efficient bulbs use less power to produce the same amount of light. They also last longer than traditional bulbs.

If you feel like splurging, check out smart bulbs, they can be controlled by your phone as well as being energy efficient, neat! The savings from swapping these bulbs alone aren't massive, but every little bit adds up when you know you’ll spend more power heating your home in winter.

5. Build up the washing pile

There’s no point in chucking on two jumpers and a pair of jeans into the washing machine during winter, how dirty could they really be? Before doing a load of washing or drying make sure you have a full basket.

It’s no secret that the washing machine and dryer chew up the most electricity in your house. Don’t let the chilly season increase your wash load because of the more layers of clothing being added to the basket.

Follow these simple tips on how to save electricity in winter and you should hopefully see some great results during the cold season.

Reducing your energy usage all year long will help you get in the mindset before June even comes around or if you want to be even more prepared for when summer rolls around.