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Electrical 101...What is a watt?

We have learnt a great deal about load shedding over the past few years, however, the basics still seem to baffle a large amount of consumers. Alison Bulgin, from Mr. Power, helps us simplify electricity measurements.

 

What is a watt?

• A watt is a unit of power and describes the rate at which electricity is being used at a specific moment. For example, a Mr. Power 5-watt LED downlight draws 5 watts of electricity at any moment when turned on (compared to a halogen downlight that uses 50 watts).

• A watt-hour is a measurement of energy, describing the total amount of electricity used over time. Watt-hours are a combination of how fast the electricity is used (watts) and the length of time it is used (hours). For example, a 5-watt LED downlight, which draws 5 watts at any one moment, uses 5 watt-hours of electricity in the course of one hour.

Kilowatts and kilowatt-hours are used for measuring amounts of electricity used by households - these are what show up on your electricity bill, describing how much electricity you have consumed. One kilowatt (kW) equals 1,000 watts, and one kilowatt-hour (kWh) is one hour of using electricity at a rate of 1,000 watts.

Some tips to whittle your watts during summer:

  • To keep your home cool, open the awnings and shades to prevent the direct sunlight from coming through the windows which makes your home hotter
  • Turn off ceiling fans when not in the room as they keep you cool, but not the actual room
  • Grill outside on a braai or make delicious cold meals instead of using stoves and ovens
  • Make sure all exterior lights are off during the day
  • Where possible, use appliances such as the washing machine, during off-peak periods
  • Switch to LEDs as they run cooler than traditional globes and have the added benefit of running on 10% electricity or less of halogen lights – they only draw 5 watts (as opposed to 50 watts). LED lights can have a life cycle of 15 years plus, give a fuller spectrum of light and don’t attract insects
  • Keep your geyser off when you’re away

For more advice and information please visit www.mrpower.co.za

 

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