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Tue 30 Mar 2010 07:00 AM

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More tips to cut down your electricity bills

With diligence, we can dramatically cut down our power bills, says Dr Finance.

More tips to cut down your electricity bills
An electricity meter

Following last week’s first part of a our series [click here to read] on cutting down our household electricity bills, we’ll look at some more steps one can take to save loads of cash:

• Lower the wattage

You can reduce your electricity bills by choosing the lowest possible (but appropriate) wattage light to illuminate your rooms/ homes.

In fact, this is another reason why switching to CFLs saves you money.

“Energy consumption is directly proportional to a globe’s wattage. Energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs generally use between 9 and 20 watts, while incandescent globes commonly used around the home typically use between 40 and 100 watts,” environmental group Sustainability Victoria notes.

“The cost of running a light is directly related to its wattage. The higher the wattage, the higher the running cost.”

• Insulate your heaters

This tip would prove more useful during winters. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket/ jacket. The blanket traps heat generated by the water heater from leaking away into the atmosphere.

According to the Iowa Energy Centre , a properly installed blanket can reduce energy loss by 25% to 45%.

A note of caution: for safety’s sake please seek professional help (your electrician) if you’re planning to implement this.

• Take a shower instead of a bath

Taking a nice hot-water bath in your tub may be relaxing, but will also push your electricity bills higher.

Taking a shower instead of a bath saves water and energy used to heat hot water.

To take this further, replacing a power shower with a low-flow shower could save you further energy (and water)!

• Set the right fridge temperature

Last week, we identified the need to set our air conditioners at optimum temperatures to save money. The same principle applies to refrigerators too. If you’ve set the temperature of your fridge or freezer too low, you could be wasting electricity.

According to the BBC , refrigerators should be kept at their optimum temperature: 3 to 5°C for the fridge and -18°C for freezers.

Even a minor change of temperature can increase your energy consumption substantially.

• Energy rating labels

Don’t let price or style alone drive your decisions about buying your electronic or electric appliances/ gadgets.

Carefully relate the choice to the pressing nature of your needs (e.g. size of your TV, refrigerator etc.) and the energy the appliances/ gadgets consume.

Check the energy rating labels displayed on the appliances you intend to buy. These provide you with information on how much electricity an appliance uses in a year - the star rating shows how energy efficient it is. You can also compare between models and choose the most energy-efficient appliance that suits your needs.

• Organise your wash loads

How often do you wash your clothes? Review whether you can reduce the number of wash loads – this would save you water as well as electricity.

In response to my earlier post on cutting down your electricity bills, a Dubai-based Arabian Business reader who’s identified himself/ herself as ‘Brit happy to be here’ has shared this additional useful information (Thank you!): “DEWA advises that in order to save money we should use their water and electricity between midnight and 5am, as they charge a reduced rate at this time.”

You can also opt for a clothesline instead of a dryer – the sunny and windy conditions especially in the UAE are superbly suited for this!

• Early to bed...

US inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a genius centuries ahead of his time.

Sample this extract from historynet.com : “A stickler for economy, Franklin's dictum 'early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise' urged his fellow countrymen to work during daylight and sleep after dark, saving money on candles. He calculated that if all the families of Paris who caroused until late at night and then slept until noon would arise with the sun six hours earlier, 64 million pounds of candle wax would be saved in six months' time.”

Sure, we don’t use candles anymore but the logic holds absolutely true even today.

This mathematics is simple – if you sleep as early as you suitably can, you will burn lesser number of lights at night and dramatically cut down on your electricity bills.

• Conduct a home energy audit

Finally, despite all your sincere efforts, if you’ve been unable to make significant savings in your electricity bills, it may be worthwhile to consult an energy audit professional.

The auditors will analyse how much energy your home uses and suggest measures you can take to improve efficiency.

Of course, they’ll charge a fee for their service.

After note: Cutting down on our electricity bills is perhaps the easiest among most of our expense categories. With just a few corrective measures, we can enjoy longer-term benefits.

Our checks themselves will do the bulk of the savings for us then and we will have to bother slightly lesser on a daily basis, compared to our other expense categories.

But this does not mean we can neglect our basic principles of diligence and discipline – we hold the power to cut down our power bills!

LET ME KNOW : Did you find these tips useful? How have they helped alter your spending habits? Do write it in to share with your fellow readers.

Disclaimer: While we have made efforts to ensure the accuracy of our content (consisting of articles and information), neither this website nor the author shall be held responsible for any losses/ incidents suffered by people accessing, using or supplied with the content. For expert technical/ financial/ legal opinions consult a qualified professional.


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