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5 Top Energy Saving Tips

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As the winter rolls in, and electricity and gas prices continue to rise, now is a great time to change your habits and save yourself some money.

There are many things you can do to avoid wasting energy. Also, an added benefit is that it is good for the environment too.

What can you do to save money?

We have compiled a list of the 5 most effective things you can do to save energy and reduce your costs:

  1. Don’t leave appliances on standby
  2. Don’t just have a shower – have the right kind of shower
  3. Change to low energy light bulbs
  4. Insulate your loft
  5. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees and don’t use a tumble drier

Check out this video on YouTube to get their top 10 ways to save on energy:

Tip 1: Don’t leave appliances on standby

Televisions, dvd players, computers, and many other household appliances are often left on standby for convenience. However, did you know that not properly turning off these devices can account for up to 15% of your annual electricity bill. This could be up to around £100 a year. So, if you want to stop literally losing money while you sleep, then just make an effort to turn off these devices at the wall socket.

Tip 2: Don’t just have a shower – have the right kind of shower

Everyone knows that having a shower instead of a bath saves a lot of water (around 70%) and can be a real money saver. However, did you know that you can fit a special shower head and make even bigger savings on your gas and water bills? The water efficient shower heads only work with showers which get a supply of water directly from the boiler/hot water tank. They can save you around £150 per year across your water and gas bills.

Tip 3: Change to low energy light bulbs

LED technology has come a long way in the last few years, and LED lights in the home are now a viable option. They offer significant energy saving potential versus halogen lights. Also, if you still have traditional filament bulbs then you can replace these with CFLs, which are also more energy efficient. The initial cost of replacing these bulbs will take around 1.5 years to earn back in electricity bill reductions, but they are designed to last years, so you’ll be reaping the rewards from year 2 onwards.

clothes_lineTip 4: Insulate your loft

If you live in a house with a loft, then you’ve probably noticed how cold it gets up there in the winter. Just like you wear a coat to keep out the cold, you can effectively give your house a coat, by putting insulation in the loft. If you were to lay around 10 inches of insulation, you could save between £100 and £200 on your heating bill.

Tip 5: Wash your clothes at 30 degrees centigrade and don’t use a tumble drier

Just by turning the temperature dial down on your washing machine from 40 to 30 degrees, you could save around £15 per year. Your clothes will still be clean and fresh, but you’ll have a bit more money in your pocket – don’t put it in the wash though! Also, rather than use a tumble drier to dry the washing, you can dry it for free by hanging it out. Having a little more patience like this could save you another  £40 per year. Check out the government’s Energy Star website which has a list of the top, most efficient washing machines available today.

So, there you have it, a short list of highly effective energy saving tips, which you can put in to practice straight away to bring down your bills.

Happy saving!

Charles

 

Lightbulbs mage courtesy of domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Washing line image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Solar Power for Home Electricity

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Nowadays, the cost of electricity is going up. With all the other prices of goods going up, it goes without saying that everyone would be wise to think of ways to save money. Aside from the usual energy saving tips that you get from money experts, there are other bigger ways through which you can save on your electricity costs. Considering solar power for your home electricity needs is one alternative that is growing in popularity these days.

Here are some of the benefits that you can have when you convert to a solar power source:

  • It can be renewed. You never have to worry about running out of power. With the sun being the source of electricity, you can have as much energy source as you can store.
  • This is a safe source of electricity for the environment. Since you are using a natural resource for your electricity needs, there is no harm done in the environment and no resources are depleted when you use solar power for your home.
  • Solar panels have non-movable parts so maintenance is not much of a requirement. There will be times when solar panels may need to be maintained and repaired but the costs will not be all that high.
  • Energy collection from sunlight is noiseless and will not cause any disturbance to you or to your neighbors. This is unlike other power generators that cause annoying noise that could be a nuisance.
  • You can make a business out of it. You can actually sell excess electricity if you have bigger solar panels that provide more electricity than you usually need in your home. Some power companies buy back power or give you rebates.
  • You can avail of tax credits. Using solar power for home electricity may let you avail of tax credits. You just have to ask the power companies in your area for more information.
  • If you understand the dynamics behind the solar energy, you can actually make one for your own use. You can have your very own solar power for home electricity and will save you a fortune.
  • Unlimited electricity use. If you have your own solar power for home electricity, then you never have to worry about how much electricity you will be consuming since you have your own source and you do not have to pay for electricity charges each time you use it.
  • Never having to worry about blackouts. Storms may destroy your local power source, but if you have your own solar power stores, you will have electric power to use in your home.

Imagine how you can have the unlimited use of heater, microwave, TV, iron, washing machine, fridge and all other appliances that use up electricity without having to worry about increasing bills.

If the power that you create generates surplus electricity, you can now feed that back into the grid and earn some money! Check out the governments site to see the details.

Instead of paying for your electricity, you can actually use the money for something more important. Save it for emergency use, for a summer vacation, for mortgage payment. You can just imagine your lifetime savings if you have your very own electricity supply. Think about the benefits that you can get and you can start a lifetime of savings with your very electricity source.

The Real Deal about Eco-friendly Heating Systems

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A heating system makes up over 20 percent of the energy consumed in every American home. This has over the years been addressed with creating more machines that not only benefits the consumer but the environment as well.

Several improvements have been made to diminish the environmental effects of heating systems which includes discharge connected to the old and wasteful boilers that relies on oil to run and natural gas heating systems to maintain the warmness and coziness of the home.

I found a site the other day from a Google search that turned up an interesting info graphic that I think you might like, check it out here.

Eco Friendly Heating

Eco-friendly heating may have been left behind with regards to technological advancement as compared to air-conditioning systems; it has slowly and surely risen in terms of its development over the previous few years and it continues to grow year on year. Take this recent project from Ecuador, for example:

The picture of a roaring fireplace on a cold night is appealing. This method is inexpensive and more enjoyable than running a boiler but unfortunately it contributes to the continuous pollution of the air with the smoke that it emits.

Smart Fireplaces

The use of smart fireplaces has been on the rise. They are popular in the market because it’s low-emitting, a definite alternative ecologically speaking, and it also runs on clean and reusable gas, liquid bio-ethanol. It does not need any gas or electricity to run the device. It also comes in an assortment of models from movable fire furniture pieces to those units which can be inserted into the grates of the fireplace, all of them are lustrous, and are up to the job of making the room warm.

The only downside to this method is that it only functions in a limited area, unlike the regular heating system or boiler that can serve to deliver the requirements of the entire house’s heating needs.

Geothermal Heating

Geothermal systems are also slowly getting acknowledged among eco-friendly heating users. While not boasting to be a new

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy at Home

machinery, it harnesses the power of geothermal energy to warm the home and has become more and more popular and is proving to be super efficient even though it’s a bit expensive and has a more complex set-up process. The homes that are being heated by geothermal energy normally have heat pumps underneath the ground where the source of heat is at uses the stable underground temperature of the ground to heat the home.

Radiant Heating

Another popular eco-friendly heating system is radiant heating. It involves circulating the warm air in the room in a process of low space heating that most widely uses a hydronic system of tubing process that are installed beneath the floor or inside the walls of the house and heated by conventional boilers or solar powered water heaters. Basically, this system warms the fixtures and the inhabitants of the room, and not the air that circulates in it.

A Heater-less Home?

The future is right now especially when it comes to the environment and how people live their lives. Embracing a resource-friendly heating lifestyle provides this opportunity. Minor adjustments in personal heating ways will reduce heating charges and will help in the enhancement of the environmental quality of the earth. Here are 10 ways in which you can help, today:

1. Lower the Thermostat - Reducing the temperature of the home is not such a bid deal. You probably won’t notice it and if you do you will not die…If it’s winter outside, walking around in shorts and a vest indoors seems a little extreme. You should be wearing a jumper and warm clothes and not expect it to be like the tropics all year round.

2. Programmable Thermostat -  A lot of homes that have an eco-friendly heating system do not really use their heating systems during the day time. Setting the thermostat to adjust to their personal preferences have been proven to save almost 15% annually on heating charges.

3. Maintaining Air Filters - The regular use of heating systems can congest the air filters and they will get dirty with dust and other particles in the air and could potentially block the flow of the air in and around the house. Doing scheduled checks on these filters will help in reducing the energy used and aid in cutting back on electricity bills.

4. Cleaning out the Vents - The location of the vents of the eco-friendly heating system is important to resourcefully use the heat at home. When vents are blocked by fixtures, paintings, drapes, and other household fixtures, the heating system will need more energy to function better in making and keeping the house warm. A few minor changes in interior design of the house can be a big help in making it function more efficiently.

5. Eliminate Cracks - Put in the effort in finding small openings in the house and caulk those to ensure that there won’t heat going through these openings. Not only will it keep the warm air inside the house but also prevent the creeping coldness of the breeze from outside.

6. Do not use Weather Stripping Materials - Household fixtures that do not have this material, which can be moved around the house, will help in keeping the freezing temperatures out of the house but also keeping the heat trapped like it should be.

7. Double Pane Windows - These windows are more successful in keeping the warm air circulating around the house compared to single-pane windows which are common with old home designs. The gap between the two panels of windows operates as a shield between flow of outdoor and indoor air and further pads the home for extra warmth. The guys over at Home Heating Guide state that up to 18% of all heat is lost through the windows.

8. Insulate Every Space - Insulation does not need to be expensive. Affordable materials that can be used for insulation can be bought at hardware stores. A lot of eco-friendly heating materials for insulation also exist that utilize a lot of organic products.

9. Low Bathroom Appliances - Setting up low faucets and shower heads helps in minimizing the cost of heating bills. Since, they’re not placed at high locations in the bathroom, the heat does not need to travel far and will pump less energy for it do so.

10. Use a Pellet Stove - Pellet stoves are an environmentally friendly way to warm homes as it is fueled by condensed wood and recycled waste. The firewood is considered a clean energy and discharges very low levels of CO2.

Eco Friendly is Real

An eco-friendly heating system is not hard to achieve. Some would say that it will be more perfect and more common in the future, but why wait when the tips above can help in bringing that future here and now. Check also CBS.com’s report on the topic to further provide details with materials and stores that offer eco-friendly heating systems.

How to Save Energy in Your Home?

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With the rising prices of electricity and commodities in the market, you will always need to think of how you can save more money whether for emergency use or for your other expenses. There are lots of ways that you can easily practice to save on your utility bills even if you have a lot of electrically operated appliances in your home. Here are some tips that are commonly given but are not given so much attention to:

  • Turn off the lights when not in use. Having the lights on when no one is in the room will just be an added expense. This is one cause of increased energy usage in homes. Make a habit of turning off lights and train the children to do it as well and see how much your energy consumption will drop.
  • Take shorter showers. You may wonder how this can help in saving energy. If you are using a heater, then you will be consuming energy. Thus, shorter showers will help you save energy.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. Electrical appliances use up electricity even when they are not in use. Just unplug them when you are not using them to help you save energy in your home.
  • Thermostat adjustments. Turning your thermostat to extremes, either for cooling or heating, may use up too much electricity. Adjust your thermostat to just the right temperature to save energy in your home. Insulating the home may just help you save more than what you will be spending for it.
  • Update your light bulbs. Use energy saving light bulbs that are now available in the market. This is what can help you save money. They use up less electricity but give the same amount of light or brightness.
  • Ironing clothes in bulk. If you regularly iron your clothes, plan to do a week’s load in one go to save on electricity costs. Plugging in the iron and waiting for it to heat up consumes a lot of electricity.

These are just some of the practical tips that you can try so that you can help you save energy in your home. Try switching to these power saving practices and see your utility bill dipping lower and your savings account balance growing.

Solar Power

You may also want to consider switching to solar power. You can actually check online on how you can benefit with this kind of energy source and how this can help you save energy in your home and have lifetime savings.

Solar Power

Solar Power is efficient and green

Solar energy gives you the electricity supply from sunlight. However, you have to invest in solar panels for you to have this energy source. But, your one time investment will pay off in the long run. The installation cost may be big, but you can actually get a grant from the government and will help you pay 50% of the total cost. After installation, you can have as much as 50% savings on your electricity bills. This can be a very cost effective way of saving energy in your home.

For more inspiration about using solar power check out Solar Network’s YouTube video:

In addition to checking out the UK government website for more tips, which I mentioned in a previous article, you should also look at the US website to see what they are advising and look for some inspirational ideas.

Home Electricity Saving Tips

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There is wisdom in implementing ways to save on your power use at home. Aside from the obvious reason of saving more money, there is also the aspect of environment protection that you address when you are wise in the way you consume electricity. You do not have to spend a lot with all the gadgets and devices that are being marketed as energy-saving accessories today. You only have to make some changes in the way you use electricity in your own household.

Here are some simple and practical tips that you can do to save home electricity:

  • Do not use anything that consumes electricity unless you have to. In the modern household, it is unavoidable to use electric appliances and fixtures. More prudent use of these items will have to be practiced.
    • Start with the lights. Always turn them off when they are not in use. You can also consider going for new CFL or LED bulbs instead of using the old incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps. This site has an in-depth review for all things energy saving light bulb, from the bedroom to the kitchen.
    • Shorten computer usage time. You might consider using your computer for a limited amount of time and then turning it off afterwards. This applies whether you are using it for business or for personal purposes. Keeping it on to play games for hours or while you sleep is not wise at all.
    • Check your heating or cooling systems. Make sure that these are running optimally. Ill maintained air conditioners would cause the motor to work harder and consume more energy. The same goes for heaters. With poor insulation, your heater would have to work harder to keep your home warm and cozy.
    • Avoid using unnecessary electrical appliances. A hair dryer, for example, might not be necessary when you can air dry your hair. Similarly, hanging your clothes out to dry on a clothes line will save you from the electricity that running the laundry dryer will use up.
    • Wash clothes in bulk so you don’t have to run as many loads in your washing machine. Do not use warm water; use tap water instead. The heating system will use up home electricity that will increase your bills.
    • Regulate your fridge temperature. Turn it down to the lowest possible temperature. Note that your fridge is responsible for the 20% of your electricity bill. U Switch have a nice article on this subject, so check that out.

 

Save Energy - Switch Off Lights

Save energy with simple things

  • Consider using solar power or any other alternative power source. There are many benefits that you can enjoy by doing this. You can explore the available options in your state. It would also be a good idea to see if your state offers incentives for homeowners who use alternative power sources.

By ensuring that your household makes wise use of electricity, you are doing yourself and the environment a huge favor. If you would like to have a more in-depth look at some great ideas for saving energy, check out the official government’s website for more suggestions. If you are serious on saving your home electricity, these are just simple things that you can do at home that will give you the savings that you can enjoy. Try these things and you will surely be amazed with the savings that you will have with a lower electricity consumption in your home.

Home Insulation

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In this post I would like to take a look at insulating your home, which materials to use and what is the most cost-effective way of achieving maximum heat retention this winter.

What to Insulate

There are many areas of your home which could be insulated but not all of them will give you the best return for your investment. Here are a list of the top 4 areas of your home you should insulate listed in order of importance by the level of heat that will be lost from each of them:

  1. Walls – 35% heat loss
  2. Roof – 25% lost
  3. Floor – 15% heat escapes
  4. Windows and Doors – 15% loss
foam insulation for the loft

Foam insulation for the loft

As you can see it’s the walls in the majority of cases that are going to be losing you the most heat. This would most definitely be true for a detached home but if you live in a terraced home it could be that the roof or windows and doors pose more of a problem because two side of your home are already joined to other homes.

The first thing to do is check what kind of insulation you already have in the roof and walls and if you have double glazing. The Energy Saving Trust have a wealth of information on this subject, all freely available over at their website.

How Much Insulation

It’s best to leave this up to the experts because they will need to look at a few factors to determine how much insulation material to use and where to give you the best value. If you are doing it yourself you could buy some rolls of insulation material from somewhere like Wickes or Homebase and cover the floor in your loft with it. That’s an easy first step to take in insulation.

If there were no space or budget limits then you would have as much insulation as possible because the more you have the better. It’s like wearing a thin coat compared to wearing a thicker coat. The thicker one is always going to provide much more insulation and keep you warmer but sometimes you can’t afford the larger one or fit it in your bag.

If you want more details and to look at options available to you head over to this place and check out what they have on offer.

Cost of Insulation

If you look at the cost of some forms of insulation you will soon find out that it isn’t cheap. From my research I have found that there are a few which are the best value for money, which I have listed below. The best news about this is that the cheapest one is also actually the best for the environment and your health. It isn’t going to be releasing any bad health causing fumes so should be a bet for use in your loft insulation.

Product Name Cost per Sq M
Loose cellulose (recycled) AKA Warmcel £12
Polystyrene Board £14
Wood wool (NOVOLIT) £33
Black Mountain sheep wool £46

Conclusion

Getting your home insulated will definitely help you save money on your heating bill this winter. Just how much depends mainly on how badly your home is insulated at the moment. You can save a lot of money if you have a poorly insulated home by just implementing a few ideas yourself, very quickly.

This was just a taster for way to insulate your home. If you would like to hear a little more from a very trusted source, check out the Energy Saving Trust’s YouTube channel for the latest ways to improve your energy use. Here is one of their latest videos:

Could a halogen heater reduce your energy bills?

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As winter draws in there’s a couple of things that you start to miss. Firstly there’s the warmth, and then there’s the sun.

Luckily there’s something you can do.

Firstly, if you’re in a house, you can turn on your central heating, right? Only, then you’re heating the whole house racking up huge electricity or gas bills in the process. And you might only be in one room. It’s all a bit of a waste.

Or, if you’re not in the main house, you might be in the conservatory, or garage, or shed, or maybe even outside.

So, you can get a heater. Maybe a fan one. But they’re a bit noisy. So, no, scrap that. What about a gas one? Kind of heavy, kind of unnecessary?

In fact you should probably consider getting a halogen heater. Here’s why:

  • lower running costs (about 10% of a gas heater)
  • near silent operation
  • no harmful emissions
  • instant heat
  • no flammable fuel sources

That’s the warmth covered, then. But what about the sunshine. You miss that too. Luckily many halogen heaters act as a light source too and can output 10,000 lux, which is equivalent to daylight. So, you might even feel happier too!

Prem-I-Air halogen heater

Using a halogen heater could help reduce your heating bill

Which halogen heater should I choose?

Ok, you’re starting to see this makes sense, but which one?

A small one, big one, somewhere in between?

Well, it depends – basically on these factors:

  • Location (is this a room in the house, outside, or a shed?)
  • Size of the room/area (A small room, big room?)
  • Number of people (Is it just you, or a larger group – if so, the heater might need to rotate or pump out more heat across wider area)
  • How much you are willing to pay (upfront and ongoing) – the more power generally the more expensive the heater is to buy, and then to run as well.

So, let’s say you work in the garage, which is about 3 metres by 5 metres, and it’s just you, but you move around a lot. You probably want to consider a fairly powerful oscillator, something like the Prem-I-Air which offers 1600W and costs around £30.

Or, let’s say you have a small balcony, and you want to be able to site out there and have a drink in the evening with a significant other. You could look at a wall mounted option like the one offered by alfresia.co.uk, which offers 1500W and costs around £80

These are just some options based on example scenarios, but if you are looking for some advice and reviews to help you decide which heater to buy, then head over to the ‘Best Halogen Heaters’ comparison site.

Good luck finding the right heater for your needs

Charles