Friday, 26 April 2013

Innovative ways to slash your electricity bills

Electric bills have sky-rocketed, especially in the past couple of years. Just like the prices of other commodities, energy bills also seem to be on an upward trend. This means that electricity bills are likely to increase in the future.

Electric bills on the rise

To combat the rise in the energy charges, there are few things that we need to keep in mind. First of all, we need to be aware of our electricity consumption. The amount of energy we use or rather, are used to consuming, is an important factor that often goes unnoticed. Keeping a track of this will help us make a conscious effort towards attempting to control the usage and eventually, reduce it.

Secondly, we need to make energy restrictions or form go-green goals and remember them too. Controlling electric usage leads to efforts in reducing electricity bills, and reduction in energy bills leads to cost saving, and of course a smaller hole in the pocket!

Home appliances love electricity

Among all home appliances, it is the HVAC systems that consume the most amount of electricity. Air conditioners, water heaters, refrigerators, and dryers are some appliances that consume the most electricity. Being aware of the amount of consumption and consciously reducing them will help in a great deal of savings. 

Some useful tips to help reduce energy consumption of these appliances are elucidated below. 

Maintain the temperature: Air conditioners consume tremendous amounts of electricity. All we need to do is manage the temperatures right in summer and winter. Try setting the temperature around 78°F in summer and set temperature down during the winter. Remember, every degree counts! This habit can help in reducing up to 3% of our energy costs. Use devices with latest technology: An electronic, programmable thermostat is the need of every air conditioner. We need to seriously consider purchasing a programmable electronic thermostat for our HVAC systems if we do not already have one. The device is based on the latest technology and allows us to set it in such a way that the temperature will automatically adjust according to the timings set. For e.g. a programmable thermostat can be used to allow our indoor temperature to rise when nobody is at home and commence cooling at the time set, usually before the arrival of the family members. The programmable thermostat can also reduce energy consumption when we are sleeping. 

Periodic maintenance of air conditioners: We have never given a thought to how much we could save with a little awareness and restraint. Regular air conditioner servicing can help us save $65 annually. Employ a professional HVAC contractor to periodically check your HVAC systems as well as other electrical appliances. Periodic maintenance keeps the systems healthy and healthy systems consume lesser electricity that those that are not periodically maintained. 

Replace old air conditioners: If the air conditioner is over 12 years old, we need to replace it with a new one. Latest models from ENERGY STAR have high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), a unit used to measure the efficiency of the air conditioner. The higher the SEER, the more efficient will be the system. We need to choose air conditioner with SEER rating of 13 or 14. 

Position the air-conditioner: It is essential that our air conditioners are protected from sunlight. If the air conditioner is positioned in a place that receives direct sunlight, we need to block the direct sunlight without impeding the airflow or enclosing the system. We could plant tall trees or shrubs, or consider placing an awning to protect it from sunlight. Protecting the air conditioning unit from direct sunlight can save up to 10% electricity. 

Intelligent shopping: The next time we go shopping for electric appliances; let us look for those with the Energy Star label. These come with the assurance that they have been tested against certain energy-efficiency guidelines. Energy Star claims that their appliances can reduce our annual energy bills by 30%. Now this is too good a deal to miss!

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