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Save Electricity



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General tips


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Air Conditioning

Shut your A/C down when you are out of the house and only turn it on when you return. It shouldn't take that long when you return to cool your place down.
And what is wrong with opening some windows and sitting in front of a fan - it costs a lot less than an air conditioner to operate.
For some homes, where heat accumulates in the attics - consider installing roof ventilation fans to get rid of trapped hot air. Getting rid of trapped hot air will make a huge difference in the use of your air conditioner and save roofing problems in the future.

Cooking -

Cook extra food in your oven when you have it heated. A squash for tomorrow's dinner, potatoes to fry for breakfast. Use the oven space in which you heat to good use.
Clean your oven if it is self-cleaning while it is still hot from cooking."
Also, if you are cooking anything on top of the stove - Use a cover for your frying pan or pot. Not only does it prevent spattering but it keeps the heat where you want it - right in the cooking container. Besides things cook faster and you don't even have to put the stove on "High".
And don't forget to put the pot or frying pan in the centre of the burner - It sure helps in making things cook a lot faster. Cook stir fried food... Turn up the heat on your electric stove for a short time at the beginning and then simmer. It saves a lot of electricity as compared to baking, boiling or roasting.
A typical microwave oven consumes 1.6 kW of electricity to produce 600 W of microwave power. However the much reduced cooking times mean that electricity consumption is typically reduced by 50 – 70% compared to conventional ovens and stove heating elements, particularly when cooking small quantities or just heating things up.
Sundays are the most inexpensive day during the week to do your cooking on an electric stove. If you want to prepare meals for the whole week then this is the day to do it

Computers

When you are not using it - At least shut off the screen. 60 % of the power used from a computer is used by the display screen; the other 40 % is used to keep your hard drive spinning and to power the electronics.

Lights –
In places where you have lights that are always on - think about using low energy compact fluorescent lamps (CFL's). A 15 watt CFL can often supply as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Hey, 85% savings isn't that shabby.

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And for those places where you need instant light, replace all those low cost incandescent bulbs with more costly energy saving higher voltage bulbs. They last longer, use less power and give you the same illumination or better than the cheap ones. Besides, they light just as quickly as the old ones.

And check the wattage when bulbs need to be replaced.
Can a 60 watt bulb do the job that the 100 watt that you are presently using?

Clothes Dryer
Drying clothes outside (if possible) is an environmentally sound choice in contrast to an electric clothes dryer which uses "big time" energy. (It's the easiest way we can use solar energy, too!) Outside drying weather may extend from May to October depending on where you live. Besides, clothes dried outside smell a lot better than those dried using an electric clothes dryer.
A good idea for those considering buying a new dryer. Get one that uses gas - it's a lot cheaper.

Clothes Washers –

Do not always use hot water in your electric clothes washer. Warm wash cycles generally clean clothes perfectly well, and with proper detergents and pre-soaking, cold water washing may be fine. And if you really need to clean certain clothes in hot water go to a public Laundromat and use their washers and dryers.... In the end, it is less expensive

A warm-water wash/cold-water rinse uses two-thirds of the energy needed for hot wash/warm rinse. Try cold/cold too, keeping the winter caution in mind. Besides the cost savings from not using your hot water heater, the brightly coloured clothes stay bright.

If you and in the buying mode for a new washer, think about getting the ones that go up and down instead of round and round like the ones in the laundromats. They use less water and do a great job at getting the clothes clean.

Electric Heating Systems

If you heat with base board heaters - sixty per cent of the money you spend on energy for a home goes to heating it.
20°C is a very comfortable temperature for living spaces while 16°C is sufficient for bedroom areas.
Dress more warmly in winter and turn down the heat -- especially when you're going out for a few hours. It's far cheaper to let the house cool and warm up later than to keep it warm. A programmable thermostat will help if you want it warm when you come home. Most of us know that the most efficient central heating systems are not base board heaters. But, sometimes they are the only alternative. Turn Down the thermostat - For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5% on heating costs.
Wear warm clothing and set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening, health permitting.
If certain rooms are not used or very rarely used - turn the heat down in those rooms to about 10 - 12 degrees C. Do not lower them much lower as any lower temperature might put too much stress upon drywall surfaces and cause cracks when the temperature rises.
Insulate the walls and especially the attic of your house. Your attic insulation should be at least 12 inches deep. This will pay big dividends for less energy consumption when the outside temperature is extremely cold or when it is very hot. Replace old windows or recaulk if they are letting cold air in.

Hot Water

If you have an electrical hot water tank heater like most North American homes, then this is the main source for your electricity usage. Storage-type hot water heaters lose heat all day long (and all night too!). They consume more energy than any other appliance in your home except electric space heaters.
To reduce your monthly bill, this is where you can save the most.


Kitchens


Dishwasher
• Dishwasher energy consumption can be reduced by turning off the dishwasher after the final rinse and before the drying cycle. The clean dishes can then be wiped with a dry cloth.
• Fill the dishwasher completely before operating. Partial loads waste electricity and water.
• Short wash cycles, rinse-only cycles, mid-cycle turn-off, and other features are designed for energy conservation as well as convenience.

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• Connect your dishwasher to COLD water supply unless otherwise directed. Normally only one wash and one final rinse cycle requires hot water which is heated by an element in the dishwasher.
• The dishwasher filters must be kept clear of debris. A blocked filter reduces efficiency and wastes energy.
• Proper loading is important for the dishwasher to work efficiently.

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Refrigerator
• Choose a refrigerator of a size based on the needs of your family - a refrigerator operates at peak efficiency when filled.
• Do not overload your fridge, excessive products in your fridge will lower the quality of the food and use more electricity - as much as 10-20% more for each extra product.
• Do not set freezing temperatures lower than necessary, it wastes as much electricity as excessive heat.

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• Do not open your refrigerator door needlessly. By getting into the habit of removing and replacing several articles at once, you will reduce the loss of cold air.
• Let hot foods cool down before placing them in the refrigerator. (To prevent bacterial growth allow about 20 minutes standing time).
• Be sure the seal around your refrigerator door is intact. (Close the door on a piece of paper: if you can pull the paper out easily, the seal should be replaced).
• Remove all heavy wrapping from food before storing it in the refrigerator.
• Cover all liquids stored in the refrigerator (especially frost-free models).
• Foods should be placed slightly apart on refrigerator shelves to allow the cooling air to circulate.
• Exposed condenser coils/panels (usually at the back of the unit) MUST be kept clean and dust free. When cleaning you must be careful not to damage the panels.
• Do not place the refrigerator near the stove or against an uninsulated wall that faces the sun.

• Allow adequate space around the refrigerator for free air circulation. The air carries heat away from the fridge - if air can not circulate, the fridge can not work properly.

• Switch on the energy saving switch, if one is fitted to the refrigerator.
• Switch off, empty or clean your fridge, when taking an extended holiday.

Freezer

• Freezers and refrigerators operate most efficiently when filled to the capacity recommended by the manufacturers.
• Never forget that only one-tenth of a freezer's capacity should be used for freezing of fresh food at any one time. The freezer must work harder to remove heat, and uses more power. Example, 28 litres (one cubic foot) will store 12,5 to 15 kg (25-30 lbs.) of frozen food and will freeze about 1,5 kg (3 lbs.) of fresh food at a time.

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• Food to be frozen should be placed in contact with those parts of the freezer that contain the refrigerant tubes, usually the sides of chest models.
• Defrosting of chest type freezers should be done once or twice a year. For upright models, defrosting should be done two or three times a year. NEVER allow frost build up to exceed 0,6 to 1,3 cm.
• By keeping a list of the location of foods in the freezers, the freezer can be kept open for a minimum of time, preventing the loss of cold air.
• The freezer should be kept as full as possible to prevent heavy icing.
• On all models keep condenser panels at the rear of the freezer clean and dust free for maximum efficiency and conservation of energy.
• A second freezer should only be operated when necessary.

• In a single door unit, it is essential that the separate freezer compartment has its own door intact. Otherwise the unit will tend to operate the whole of the refrigerator as a freezer - this can be expensive.

Electric stove

• Use cooking utensils with flat bottoms and tight fittings covers.
• Be sure pots and pans completely cover the stove plates.
• Take advantage of the heat sensing control for stove plates. It allows the stove plate to cut of the electricity supply occasionally while still cooking. It does not affect the food, only your bill.
• Use a pressure cooker to conserve energy when cooking foods that take a long time, such as pot roasts, stews and steamed puddings.

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• Do not overcook foods, especially vegetables. Overcooking destroys essential nutrients.
• For full efficiency from radiant stove plates the stove plate reflectors (underneath the stove plates) should always be kept clean.
• Bring foods to the boil quickly on the "high" setting, then turn the heat down to simmer to finish cooking.
• Do not use the grilling compartment to make toast - it is very expensive.
• Do not use the oven to heat the kitchen - it is very expensive and far less efficient than a heater
• Keep oven doors completely closed until food is cooked. Every time the door is opened, the oven temperature drops, and the heat must be replaced.
• Use the oven to prepare an entire meal - main course, vegetables and dessert. Remember to plan meals that cook in the oven at the same temperature.
• Allow free circulation of heat within the oven. Place pans and containers so that they do not touch each other, or the sides of the oven.
• To keep food warm place in a 66°C (150°F) or 82°C (180°F )oven. Do not leave it too long or your meal will be very dry.
• When buying a new stove, choose one with a convection oven. This type of oven uses less energy than conventional ovens and cooking time is substantially reduced

Microwave ovens

• Defrost your food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave oven: it is more economical.
• Use your microwave oven to cook small to medium quantities of food. To cook larger portions of meat, it is better to use a conventional oven.
• Some microwaves do not heat up foods evenly. Wrap foods in plastic to hold in the steam, this will help to give even heating. Be very careful not to cover the foods too well, steam can burn you badly when you open the packet, so leave a flap open for the steam to escape.

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• Cooking time is an important factor when determining energy efficiency levels. Compare cooking times when you cook the same food in the microwave, in the standard oven, on stove top elements or in a pressure cooker. You will easily see which method of cooking is more efficient depending on quantity, volume and food types.
• Follow the Manufacturers instructions to ensure that food is cooked correctly. Keep in mind that microwave recipe books give the cooking times required by the appliance used by the authors. Adjust cooking times to suit your micro- wave rating.
• Never turn your microwave on when it is empty, you could damage it.
• Keep the edges of your microwave door and its hinges clean. To wash the inside of your oven, boil a cup of water in it and then wipe the sides with a damp cloth.

Small appliances

• Using small kitchen appliances instead of the stove can save energy. Toasters, electric grills and skillets, slow cookers, electric coffee pots and bottle warmers usually require less energy than the stove when used correctly.
• Use an electric kettle to boil water, not a sauce pan or a microwave.
• When vacuuming, empty or replace the dust bag frequently.
• A faulty appliance will not work efficiently and can waste energy. Repair or replace them promptly.


Lounges


Lighting
You will save energy, money and eye strain by lighting your home properly. Follow these guidelines:

• The wattage of a bulb is not a measure of the amount of light it gives, but rather the energy it uses. For instance, a 100 watt bulb gives 50% more light than four 25 watt bulbs. (Image on Slide: Use Electricity Wisely - in the Bedroom)
• Fluorescent lamps give five times the light and last up to 10 times as long as ordinary bulbs.

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• Fluorescent lighting is more economical - Watt for Watt than incandescent bulbs. They use less energy and can last about 10 times longer. (Image on Slide: Use Electricity Wisely - In the Bedroom)
• Never confine lighting to one part of the room. Avoid heavy contrast by using lamp shades that direct light both up and down.
• Try not to install multiple lights (lamps or lighting fixtures) on a single switch. Above all, turn lights off whenever possible because, they use electricity while they burn.
• Clean your lamps and bulbs regularly, because dirt decreases the amount of light given out. • Dimming switches allow you to regulate the light level and reduce electricity consumption to some extent.
• Use lampshades with a white liner. Liners should be sufficiently dense to hide the bulb but should transmit soft, even light.
• Use low energy lamps for exterior lighting.

Air conditioning

Air conditioning circulates the air and makes your home more comfortable. It maintains the temperature at a suitable level, dehumidifies, and removes dust and particles from the air.
Here are some ways to increase its efficiency:

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• Clean and inspect filter screens regularly. This will keep electricity consumption at its best and eliminate dust and pollen from conditioned air.
• Use light coloured curtains to reflect sun and heat outward.
• Set the air conditioning unit to re-circulate cool air instead of drawing in warmer outside air.
• Protect the outdoor cooling units from the sun. Place them on the south or shady side of your house.
• Be sure your television, radio and stereo are off when no one is watching or listening.
• Generally, you should turn your heating/cooling system off when the space in unoccupied. You can use a time-clock to turn them on prior to occupancy again if you like. Do not heat storage and unoccupied areas, like the basement or garage.


Laundries


Washing machine

• Buy a washing machine, which offers a variety of water temperature settings.
• A front loading washing machine uses less water and costs less to operate even though the purchase price may be higher than a top loader.
• Use warm and cold water setting as much as possible in order to cut down on energy needed to heat the water.

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• Take advantage of special features on your washer that can save money. For example, soak cycles remove stubborn stains in one wash cycle.

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• The automatic washing machine uses the same amount of electricity for a full load as it consumes for a single item. Save dirty clothes until a full load has accumulated.
• Never overload your automatic washing machine. Overloading will reduce the cleaning action. (Varying the size of garments in a full load improves the cleaning action by allowing free circulation).

Iron

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• Switch your iron off before you are finished and complete the ironing on stored energy.
• Prevent scorching and wasting energy by not over heating the iron.
• Use only distilled water in steam irons.
• Be sure to turn your iron off if you are interrupted whilst ironing.
• Use the permanent press feature on your washer and dryer if it is available.
• By removing clothing promptly from the dryer and folding them carefully, many items will require no ironing, or just a quick press.


Heating


Heaters

• Infrared heaters are more electricity efficient than other space heating systems. These types of heaters can be used both for spot heating and area heating. They transfer energy directly by radiation, creating heat and comfort instantly without the use of air-circulation fans. An infrared heater will warm the people in the room rather than the space. Infra-red heaters often use metal-sheated infrared radiation elements, reflector lamps or quartz tubes.
• The oil filled heater is the safest type of heater for the bedroom. A thermostat control switches the unit on and off as required, but to save energy, only use on the lowest comfortable setting.
• Electric blankets consume little electricity. However, the correct method of use is to switch them on to the highest setting and warm the bed just before climbing in - then switch them off.
• Close doors and windows when using a heater.

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Water Heating


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Geyser

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• In order to ensure that cold air outside the geyser does not increase the heat lost by the water inside, installing a geyser blanket can be very effective. A geyser blanket may cost in the region of R150, but the pay-back in electricity efficiency and electricity savings make it a good investment. It should take less than an hour to install a geyser blanket and over twenty years it may save you over R2 500 (in 1997 terms) in electricity bills (at an electricity price of 22,5c/kWh).
• To optimize electricity efficiency, geysers should be located as close as possible to the points where hot water is being used.
• Insulated hot water pipes maintain their temperature at constant levels and prevent heat loss. Pay special attention to the insulation of the first 1.5 to two meters of hot water pipes nearest the geyser. Water pipes can be insulated with ceiling insulation material, or through the use of pipe insulators that wrap around the pipes. This can save well over R1 000 (1997 terms) in heating costs over twenty years.

Water heating tips

It is likely that a home's single largest electricity expense is water heating. This typically accounts for about 30% to 40% of the electricity account.
• By taking a shower instead of a bath you can save hot water.
• Normally, you use less hot water for a shower than a bath. In a bath 12 cm of hot water represents half the content of a 3000 Watt geyser, about 4 kWh of electricity is needed to heat it costing about 60c.
• Get the family into the habit of plugging the water basin when washing or shaving.
• Allowing hot water to pour out of the taps and down the drain is wasteful.
• Do not set the thermostat too high. A setting of 50-60°C is recommended.



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