Save money by following our top tips
There are several approaches to saving electricity. It is possible to even eradicate the electricity bill altogether, depending on the route you want to follow. The main focus here is to look at all the options you have with your current setup.
Check Your Energy Providers Prices Against Others
If you are able to choose between energy providers, then it's good to start there. Comparison tables are available on the net. Some energy providers offer lower rates at certain times of the day and you can decide which option suites your needs the best. An example is where an energy supplier charges less at night. That might enable you to run certain appliances only at night, using a time switch.
Bear in mind, when comparing tables, to consult more than one, because commission for referrals may motivate some of the recommendations you find there, paid by the recommended energy supplier.
Insulate Your Home
A lot of energy goes into heating homes and therefore it is wise to invest in proper insulation of your house. It makes a huge difference when you can prevent heat from escaping the house. If you can afford the layout, you can invest in double-glazed windows. It takes a long time to pay itself in savings though. Also a lot of heat is lost through the loft and proper insulation would fix this.
If you are able to obtain a grant for insulation you should enquire about it at your local council and get all the details sorted out before you start with the insulation. Be careful to keep to the requirements for compensation. A contractor might help you with these technicalities and form filling. It's much easier to qualify for a grant in the case of micro power generation.
Invest in An Energy Monitor
There are energy monitors available now that plugs into a wall socket, which give you a reading of what any specific appliance use and the running cost per hour. It also pays to check the power usage of devices that are mostly on standby, like TV's, that contribute to phantom loads. The cost on a monitor will be quickly recovered through the location of phantom loads and because of the more informed decisions you are able to make.
Plugs are also available that can automatically switch of devices that are not in use. The use of a timer for the times you are not at home or in bed can also save you a lot of power, enough to pay for the device in a few months.
Change Your Home Appliances
Freezers should be defrosted regularly to avoid ice build-up. Dishes in a dishwasher should rather be left to air-dry after a wash. CFL's are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but last ten times longer and also use a fraction of the energy. It is worth it to invest in a jacket for the geyser and to thoroughly insulate all exposed hot water piping. Showering, especially with an aerating, low-flow showerhead, uses less energy and water than bathing.
When you replace an appliance, rather do some research first before buying a new appliance. There are comparison tables available to show you which appliance is the most energy efficient.
In the long run the power saved can equate to more than the value of the appliance. It is worth to note that, if you need to buy a new computer, to invest in an LCD screen. It uses less power than their CRT counterparts.
Generate Your Own Power
Then there is the power generation option. Most people shy away from this option, because of the cost and technicalities involved and some because of the aesthetics. Although this takes a long time to pay for itself, it is a contribution to a cleaner form of energy generation and in some places you will be paid for the power returned to the grid. Grants for these systems may also be available.
The two most popular options are solar and wind generators. Wind generators require more maintenance than solar and is also the noisier option.
A lot of progress has been made in the field of solar power generation. The new technology to watch out for is thin film solar. They already are cheaper to produce than by using coal. Big energy providers are buying up all available panels, but the time will come when it will be available to everyone. You can then buy enough panels to say goodbye to the grid. It's a better idea though to keep your connection and simply generate more power than you need. You would have free energy, as well as support, which is very important.
Save When Cooking
When you don't have the layout, but you are desperate to save power with cooking, you could bring your meals to a boil and then thermally seal it in with good insulation material, to enable the food to simmer in its own heat for the next few hours.
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