Switchmate combats vampire power
Between 2009 and 2012, Queensland electrician Daniel O’Dwyer spent many hours developing a new way to eliminate vampire power. The result was Switchmate – a product that would combat the modern scourge of standby power wastage.
“This is a global problem. And it’s not just an economic problem, it’s an environmental problem,” Daniel says.
“If home power usage was reduced by 10%, it would make a massive difference to carbon emissions around the world. Switchmate was developed to help achieve this.”
As an electrician, Daniel says he was aware that consumers were essentially oblivious to the amount of electricity – and money – they were wasting unnecessarily every day of the year.
“I was aware of how much power appliances used, but also that it was unfeasible to expect many people would walk around, bend over, shift furniture and squeeze into tight spaces to switch off every appliance in their houses every time they were going out or going to sleep. So I started thinking about a simpler way this could be achieved in one integrated system.
“The initial idea was to retrofit the device into existing houses. Unfortunately the work required to do this made it financially unfeasible for most home owners to consider. While the environmental benefits were there for those who could afford it, from a financial point of view it meant it would take the average user many years for the savings to offset the cost of installation.
“I then realised it would be much cheaper and easier to install the system during the construction of new homes. In this way it adds just $1,500 to the cost of a building a house, so it’s easy to see that an average family would save much more than this in the first few years of living in their new home.
“Switchmate allows consumers to have control over what appliances are essential and non essential to their own lifestyle and can make changes as they need at each power point.”
That said, Daniel assures that Switchmate can still be retrofitted into existing properties.
“They key to Switchmate is the dual power supply (DPS) wiring system. When electric wiring is installed during construction of a house, traditionally one power cable runs throughout the frame to each power point. To install Switchmate, this cable is simply doubled up with a second parallel cable. Both cables run to every power point in the house,” he says.
“Once the wiring is complete, a qualified electrician mounts Switchmate into the switchboard, just like a safety switch. The first circuit in the DPS is the ‘Essential’ circuit for appliances that need to be on full time – fridges, electric clocks and security systems. The second circuit is the ‘Non-Essential’ circuit for standby devices like TVs, air conditioners and computers. The Switchmate remote disconnects power to the Non-Essential points with one remote switch.”
He says the Switchmate system complies with the AS/NZS 61000-6-3:2007 Standard and is easily installed by a qualified electrician.
“Switchmate fits in the market between low-end competitors and more expensive solutions like Clipsal C-Bus. It is the Rolls Royce option, delivered at a Toyota price.
“A common downside to cheaper remote controlled plug-in style adaptors is that they come with one remote for every four-socket power board. This is an inconvenient and inefficient way to cover an entire property.
“Switchmate has bridged the gap to make standby power savings available across an entire property with just one switch.”
Switchmate is available to purchase online at www.switchmate.com.au.