18 December 2012

Tips on Saving Energy This Yuletide

The Yuletide is here again. It is usually characterized by increased expenses as individuals and families come together to celebrate. Thus, the ability to save cost in any area of our lives at this time, no matter how little, matters. This report outlines tips to saving cost on energy this season.

As the use of electrical appliances this season increases, energy costs may increase depending on the home. It is therefore important you understand how you can reduce your electricity consumption during the holidays, so as to cut back on your overall expenses this Yuletide. Electrical engineers and technicians say high atmospheric temperature will make many individuals resort to air conditioners, refrigerators and other cooling gadgets. This is not out of place, but should be regulated if you must cut down the cost of energy expended.

In a typical lightning strike, 500 megajoules of electric potential energy are converted into 500 megajoules (total) of light energy, sound energy, thermal energy, and so on (Source: Wikipedia / Wikipedia Commons)
According to experts, it is important you hire a certified technician for an annual check that your home’s ventilation and air-conditioning system is operating at peak efficiency. This is because leaking ducts, for example, could reduce energy efficiency by up to 20 per cent and this will attract additional cost. Below are simple tips to save cost on energy this Yuletide, according to experts:

Reduce your use of hot water

This may sound tough to many individuals, but it is possible, especially if you are ready to save cost on energy this holiday season. Most automatic dish and washing machines use a large percentage of energy to heat water. It is advisable to wash only full loads of dishes and allow the washed items to be dried by atmospheric air. Otherwise, you can use energy-saving features to minimise hot water use. For washing machines, use cold water for washing and the automatic cycle for drying, engineers say.

Adequately regulate heating and cooling

Of course, we are experiencing a hot weather. This should not make you spend all most of your funds paying for bills generated by your air conditioners. High temperatures may persist during most dry days and this may warrant the use of air conditioners. This, experts say, should not warrant an abuse of electricity. They note that air conditioners should be run as little as possible to save money and conserve energy. They advise that you lower the water-temperature setting of your water heater to 120 degrees for significant savings.

An employee, who works with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in the Ketu area of Lagos, Mr. Olumide Babafemi, said it is advisable to wrap the hot water tank with jacket insulator. He notes that for safety reasons, you should wrap only the sides of a gas tank and top of the electric tank. According to engineers, you must avoid placing furniture over heating and cooling vents, as this can block or restrict air flow, making your heating and air conditioning systems work harder. The development, they say, will result in enormous power consumption by the appliance.

Seal leakages in your home

Leakages in an air-conditioned room will allow for additional power drain and this will result in increased electrical power cost. So, users of air conditioners should always seal any air leaks in their homes. Air leaks are commonly found around plumbing and wiring, windows and doors, and where the walls meet ceilings. Remember, a quarter-inch gap at the base of a yard-wide exterior door leaks as much air as a three-inch hole in the wall of your home. To prevent drafts, it is advisable to weather-strip all doors and windows, or install storm windows and doors.

Lack of adequate weather-stripping can cost you N8,000 or more per year in lost energy. Babafemi noted that the air conditioner expends more energy in places where there are leaks. Engineers also note that it is better to use more energy during periods when outdoor temperatures are cool. They say you should reduce heat and moisture in your residence by running appliances and ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late evening hours when outdoor temperatures are much cooler.

Switch off devices not in use

The tendency of leaving electrical appliances when they are not benefiting anyone is always high during the Yuletide celebrations. Experts say many families are guilty of this. Electricity units run slow and steady and they should be turned off when not in use. Engineers say you should plug televisions and DVD players into power strips, and turn off the power strips when they’re not in use. According to them, such electronic devices in standby mode use several watts of power.

Shun excessive drying

As you dry your wears this season, try and use the heat from the sun, rather depend solely on electric driers. For individuals who use automatic clothe dryers, experts advise you use the automatic cycle. According to them, excessive drying wastes energy and wears out clothes. They say you should check and clean your dryer exhaust vent regularly and remove lint after each load. This will save you some cost on energy.

It is also advisable that you wash only full loads in washers and dishwashers to minimise hot water use. Your hot water tank is usually the second-greatest energy user in your home. Clothes should be washed in cold water to reduce your energy bill and prevent shrinking and fading and it is important that you take showers instead of baths. A shower of seven minutes or less under a two-gallon-per-minute, low-flow showerhead is more water-and energy-efficient than taking a bath in a tub full of water, experts say.

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