Save Power, Save Money, Reduce your Electricity Bills
Everyone is facing higher electricity charges. Now is the time to save energy and save money doing so.
The best way is to focus on the things that use the most electricity. This will vary depending on how much electricity you use for heating and cooling and what country you live in.
See the diagrams showing the major components of electricity use in various countries.
The major electricity consumption items are:
- Air Conditioning
- Clothes Washer
- Clothes Dryer
- Water Heater
Appliances that heat and cool use the most energy and so it is with these appliances that you can save the most.
Major Ways to Reduce Power Consumption
- If you use space heaters in the room you are in rather than central heating for the whole house or apartment, you can save nearly $US 1200/year!
- If you use fans instead of air conditioning, you can save about $US 600/year.
- If you dry your clothes on a line instead of in a dryer, you can save $US 150/year.
- If you wash your laundry in cold water instead of hot, you can save $US 150/year.
- If you replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescents, you can save nearly $US 100/year.
- If you get rid of your television, you can save $US 75/year.
- If you put your computer in sleep mode when you’re not using it, you can save $US 60/year.
The image below from http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html summarises some of the key ways of saving power and saving money by cutting your electricity bills.
Major Ways to Save on Power Costs
How to save electricity on lighting
Lighting, for most persons, is the second or third highest power consumption component in your home.
Fortunately, there are many simple approaches to reducing your power consumption on lighting. You can slash your lighting costs by a gigantic 70% immediately by using the new Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) or LED lights, to replace those energy wasting incandescent globes. LED lights are free of the mercury in a CFL globe that many people worry about, and the technology of LEDs is improving all the time.
There are extra saving with these technologies. CFL bulbs last 10 times longer than old-style bulbs, and they develop much less heat as waste, which can reduce cooling costs.Some if the hints for lighting are:
► Install skylights - Using natural lighting saves power and makes a much nicer natural environment in the house. Modern skylights are designed to only the allow the light to enter the house, not the heat.
► Use a motion sensor switch for out-of-doors lighting - Exterior security lights mechanically switch off after 1-15 minutes, so you will not be wasting power by running them all night.
► Use a motion sensor switch interior lighting as well and turn off lights when you're not using them, even for just a couple of minutes. The concept that lights use additional electrical power to start up is a myth. You'll save electrical power every time you turn the lights off, no matter how short the period of time. You might have heard that your lights will quickly wear out by switching them off and on but this is also unimportant.
► Replace the magnetic ballasts in fluorescent lights with electrical ones as they use much less power.
How to save electricity consumed by your refrigerator
In most dwellings the refrigerator is the second or third highest user of electrical power, after the air conditioner. The major long-term way to save cash with your refrigerator is to use an efficient modern model. A 1986-era 18 cubic base refrigerator uses about 1500 kWh a year, while a modern energy-efficient model only uses about 350 kWh. If your refrigerator was made before 2001, then yes, you should absolutely trade it in on a new model.
Hints for saving power with your living refrigerator
► Set your refrigerator between 3 and 4 degrees C (37-39 degrees F) and your freezer between minus 15 and 18 degrees C ( 3 and 0 degrees F). Every 1 degree C reduction decrease your power charges by round 5%.
► Turn off any additional refrigerators, you have in the house when you are not using them.
► Don’t let ice built up by more thn 5mm on the inside surface of your refrigerator or freezer. Ice stops the flow of cooling air, making your refrigerator have to to work at lot harder and consume more power.
► Keep refrigerators out of direct sunlight and away from ovens and heaters.
► Turn off the anti-sweat devices - Many refrigerators have little heaters that stop moisture from condensing on the cabinet. This may reduce your refrigerator's energy consumption b 5-10.
► Don't put warm or hot food into the refrigerator. Cool it off first. It is a trade-off between preventing contamination and saving power. You can cool off portions of food before putting them in the refrigerator by soaking them in cold water for 15-30 minutes.
► Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator this will help cool the refrigerator as the food items defrost.
► Reduce the number of times you open the fridge door. Door openings can account for 10-25% of refrigerator power use, depending on the circumstances
► Check the door sealing gasket to make sure it is in good condition and doesn’t leak and this can burn power unnecessarily.
How to save electricity on your Water Heater
► Switch to a Tankless system that directly heats the hot water as you need it - Old-style water heaters with a storage tank are wasteful because heat leaks from the container to the surrounding air when it is stored. The modern units are tankless, which heat up the water instantly when you turn on the tap - providing hot water on demand. This eradicates standby losses. Y
ou can select either gas or electric models, with the gas ones preferred. The bigger your house (that is, the more hot water you use), the less standby losses you can expect from your tank, because you'll be utilising most of the water before the heat can be lost to the air.
But beware! Just having a seemingly endless source of hot water with a tankless system may lead to extremely long showers and excessive washing, which may defeat the purpose and wind up costing you more for water heating.
► The temperature where you keep your hot water tank is critical - The cooler the ambient air temperature, the more your tank will lose heat and the more it will cost to run.
► Turn down the thermostat. When it's set scaldingly hot you have to add cold water in your shower to reduce the temperature. Why heat the water to almost boiling temperatures when you don't need it that hot?
► Use a water heater timer on older heaters. A timer sets the time when the water is heated to shortly before you need it. This will reduce storage losses.
► Make use of off-peak rates when they are available, but try to ensure the water is heated as late as possible during this period.
► Wrap your heater in a thermal insulation blanket, which are available from many suppliers. This can decreases power consumption by 10-15%.
► Fix leaky taps and faucets. Every 30 drops that leak per minute from a hot water system costs you around 18kWh/month.
► If possible install a counter-current heat recovery system on the drain. A drain recovery scheme recovers the heat from the warm water running down the drain to preheat water going into the heater.
► Turn off your water heater when you are out of town. For electric driven heaters without a switch, you can turn it off at the circuit-breaker box. For gas heaters, follow the directions published on the heater to turn down the thermostat.
How to save electricity on Cooling
► Don’t put your air conditioner on the highest setting. The ideal summer temperature is about 25 degrees C (77 degrees F). Every 1°C cooler will increase your power costs by about 10 to 15%.
► Only cool the rooms you occupy, and shut off those rooms not in use.
► Turn off your air conditioner for 15 minutes each hour, which will save power. Cool your room in the morning and turn the air conditioner off for an hour or more in the afternoon.
► Keep curtains and windows shut throughout the day to shut out the heat. Open the windows in the evening to let the cooler air in and cool the room.
How to save electrical power on Cooking
► Microwaves can cook food three times quicker than a conventional ovens and generally use up to 70% less electricity.
► Use smaller, efficient appliances like pressure cookers, electric frying pans and other appliances which need only half the power used by standard ovens.
► When cooking with steam, use the minimum amount of water and keep the lids on.
► Thaw all foods thoroughly before cooking and you’ll save power and reduce cooking times.
How to save electrical power on Dishwashers
► Only run the dishwasher with a full load.
► On warm days dry your dishes naturally by opening the door and pulling the shelf out.
How to save electricity on Clothes Dryers
A clothes dryer uses a huge 12% of electrical power in most households. Clothes drying is one of the easiest ways to save power, because you can cut out 100% of the cost by simply not using your dryer and hanging it up to dry instead. Hints for reducing power use with your clothes dryer.
► Get a gas dryer, which are generally cheaper to run than electrical ones.
► When buying a new dryer, get one with a moisture sensor, which men the dryer will switch off when your clothes are dry instead of running for the full time period set. Moisture sensors can slash power use by about 15%.
► Get a front-load washer and a spin dryer so that you can remove as much water as possible before putting the clothes into the dryer. Front-loading washers remove more water than top-loading models.
► Clean the lint filter out after every individual load. Your dryer takes longer to dry when it's having to force air out through the lint in the filter.
► Wash and Dry utilising off-peak electricity rates if available.
► Feed your dryer moderately warm air. The colder the incoming air, the more power your dryer will have to use to heat it up.
How to save electricity in the Laundry
The laundry is one of the easiest areas to reduce your energy costs: waste is:
► Water heating - don't! A huge 90% of the power utilised by cleaning clothes is used to just heat the water! So you can save a package just by changing the heat setting or by using cold water.
► Use Front Loading rather than Top-loading washers. Front-loading washers use 40-75% less water and 30-85% less power than the common top-loaders. They cost about $100 more than top-loaders to buy, but you could save as much as $100/year or more.
► Use a spin dryer to remove water from water-laden clothes. Most cleaning machines leave far too much water in your clothes, requiring the dryer run much longer ad consume more power. Front-loaders and Spin Dryers extract more water from your clothes.
How to save electricity in the Space Heating
There are several ways to save power on space heating:
► Heat only the rooms of your dwelling that you're using. Heating your entire dwelling is more costly than heating just part of it. Don't close vents from the air conditioner in unused rooms as this may cause problems. Instead, use space heaters or other types of radiant heater in the rooms than you occupy such as the living room.
► Adjust the way you live so that you remain comfortable at lower temperatures. This may mean using ceiling fan in winter to circulate the warm air, putting rugs on bare floor surfaces, and wearing more clothing.
► Gas central heating systems are the cheapest to establish and run. Electric-based systems are cheap to establish but absurdly costly to operate. If you like electric heaters, use radiant electric heaters other than central space heating systems.
► Insulate your dwelling so that it retains heat. This will dramatically reduce you energy bills.
How to save electricity on Cooking
► Keep the oven door closed. Every time you open he door the temperature falls about 20 degrees and the oven has to use more power to restore the temperature..
► Cook all your dishes in the oven at the same time. If you are cooking small pieces use the frying pan.
► Use the oven heat for plate warming.
► Use utensils with flat bases and well fitting lids. Make certain the base of the pots covers the full area of the hotplates.
► To cook vegetables the water doesn't have to be boiling furiously - once brought to the boil, a mild simmer is enough.
► Fan fed baking ovens decrease cooking times and costs.
► Keep your hotplate reflectors clean and shiny to help reflect the heat up to the pan where it is needed.
► Pressure cookers can save up to 25% of power.
► Use small appliances such as grillers, crockpots, woks,etc for cooking small amounts of food more economically.
► Thaw frozen food before cooking - this reduces cooking times and saves power.
► A microwave is very economical for re-heating and cooking.
► Don't boil water on a hotplate - use an electric kettle.
► Make certain your oven door seal is in good order to stop leaks.
How to save power by using accessories
► Dimmers save power and provide a variable lighting environment.
► Use plug-in timers to reduce power consumption of frying pans, crockpots, space heaters, lights and air conditioners.
© 2010 Dr. John Anderson
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