Pressures from all sides urge us to conserve energy. But even without such encouragement, our electricity bills would provide stimulus enough to make us find ways of using less power. Nobody wants to live in a poorly heated or dismally lit house without the comforts of hot water, refrigeration and other conveniences – but it is possible to identify where energy is wasted and find ways to reduce waste without compromising comfort or pleasure.
Fitting controls to save money:
Heating is by far the biggest consumer of domestic power. One way to reduce your electricity bills is to fit devices that regulate the heating in your home to suit your lifestyle, maintaining comfortable but economic temperatures.
Most modern heating has some form of thermostatic control – a device that will switch power off when surroundings reach a certain temperature. Many thermostats are marked out simply to increase or decrease the temperature, in which case you have to experiment with various settings to find the one that suits you best. If the thermostat settings are more precise, try 18degrees centigrade for everyday use – although elderly people are more comfortable at about 21 degrees centigrade.
As well as saving you money, an immersion-heater thermostat prevents your water from becoming dangerously hot. Set it at 60 degrees centigrade.
Even when it’s thermostatically controlled, heating is expensive if run continuously – but you can install an automatic time switch to turn it on and off at pre-set times, so you can get up in the morning and arrive home in the evening to a warm house. Set it to turn off the heating about half an hour before you leave the home or go to bed, as the house will take time to cool down. A similar device will ensure that your water is at its hottest when needed.
Keep an accurate record of your energy savings by taking weekly readings. Note the dates of any measures taken to cut power consumption, and compare the corresponding drop in meter readings.
Modern meters display row of digits that represent the total number of units consumed since the meter was installed. To calculate the number of units used since your last electricity bill, simply subtract the ‘pre-set reading’ shown on your bill from the number of units shown on the meter. Make sure that the bill gives an accurate reading and not an estimate (indicated by the letter ‘E’ before the reading).
Reading Dial Meters:
Older installations may incorporate a meter with a set of dials that indicate the consumption of electricity. With a bit if practice you will be able to read these meters yourself. Ignore the dial marked 1/10, which is only for testing. Start with the dial indicating single units (kWh) and, working form the right to the left, record the readings from the 10, 100, 1000 finally 10,000 units dials. Note the digits the pointers have passed. If a pointer is, say, between 5 and 6, record 5. If it’s right on a number, say 8, check the next dial on the right: if that pointer is between 9 and 0, record 7; if it’s past 0, record 8. Also, remember that adjacent dials revolve in opposite directions, alternating the row.
Remember to write down your meter reading from right to left!
These are just some of the top line means and ways to monitor and reduce your electricity consumption. Stay posted for more useful posts on the subject of reducing your electricity consumption and electrical jobs that you may not need an electrician for.
Thanks for reading and good luck with saving money!
Author: Colchester Castle Electrician.