Top Energy-Consuming Appliances in Our Homes

One of the wealthiest men in the world, Warren Buffett, believes that “every extra dollar spent on something one doesn’t need is wasted capital.” Even in our own homes, we are wasting capital through our uneconomical use of electricity. How? In America alone, total electricity used by households is the third largest consumer of energy in the country. A typical American home uses a number of the most energy-hungry appliances each day. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

Heating and Cooling Appliances

Heating appliances include room heaters, water heaters, irons, microwaves, hair dryers, garment steamers, and the like. It takes a lot of energy to produce heat. That is why these appliances carry very high wattages in their labels. On the other side of the thermometer are devices that provide cooling such as air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, and other similar devices. These appliances consume even more electricity when they are in areas that have high temperatures. For instance, using air conditioners during summer consume greater energy than when using them in less tortuous months. Energy consumption from heating and cooling appliances comprises a whopping 47% of your total household electricity use.

 

Washers and Dryers

The electricity American households use to power their washers and dryers add up to an average of 13% of total energy consumption. That’s a lot of energy! Between washers and dryers, the latter use more electricity than the former. To conserve energy, consider hanging your garments to dry outdoors especially when the weather permits. Switch to more energy-efficient models of washing and drying devices which bring you cost savings in the long run.

Lighting Devices

Did you know that in America, total energy consumption from household lighting constitutes 12% of total electricity use? Although LED light bulbs are now readily available and affordable, there still are residences powered by inefficient lighting such as incandescent bulbs and halogen lighting.

Vampire” Appliances

Vampire appliances are devices in the home that consume electricity even when they are switched off. The most common ones are computers, printers, DVDs/VCRs, digital cable boxes, satellite DVRs, routers and modems, gaming consoles, answering machines, televisions, and microwaves. We often leave these devices plugged, thinking that they stop consuming electricity as soon as they are switched off, but this is far from the truth. To remedy this situation, we can use a power strip to plug several gadgets in a common area. This way, we can just flip one switch to terminate electrical supply to all those devices at once. Moreover, we can also purchase appliances that indicate a low standby power usage. Another option is to search for Energy Star compliant devices which are purposefully designed to be less reliant on standby power.

We have to do what we can to make this world a livable place for the generations that will follow. Perhaps we can do our part by conserving energy consumption. It is hoped that the information above can move you to be more mindful of your household’s energy utilization.

 

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Three Simple Safety Practices When Dealing with Electricity

Electricity is used across the globe to supply power to equipment and machinery as well as big and small household appliances. It is currently the world’s number one source of power and all of us rely on it for our day to day living.

However, there are still places, mostly in very remote areas, that are still not reached by electricity. Either this or people prefer not to use electricity for various reasons, such as fear of causing a fire or being electrocuted.

In normal situations, we cannot see and hear electricity. Most of the time, this only happens when a high amount of voltage is present or a foreign object came in contact with it, so it produces a large spark or a huge flare of lights accompanied by a loud buzzing sound.

When this occurs, there can possibly be a huge amount of damage either to property or to people. To avoid accidents, here are three simple safety practices but can save lives and prevent damage to properties when dealing with electricity.

 

Practice using the right hand when touching or holding electrical wires or plugs

 

We hold electrical wires or plugs of appliances without thinking about possibilities of being electrocuted. Our left hand has the veins that are directly connected to our heart, and electricity travels faster through our veins.

In short, when accidents happen that involves us getting in contact with an excessive amount of electricity, our veins serve as the bridge for the electric flow. It is always safe to use our right hand so that in case we get electrocuted, excessive electricity will not directly reach the heart and severe damage can be avoided.

Always make sure your hands are dry before touching or holding any electrical

Fatal accidents that involve washing machines were reported not just a few forgettable times. This is another practice that we usually take for granted, too. We should always bear in mind that the best conductor of electricity is water. That means electricity easily spreads in an instant through water or things that are wet.

Although a washing machine is made for washing clothes and is naturally wet the whole time during its operation, there are specific parts of it that should not be submerged in water. And of course, we should always remember to wipe our hands dry before plugging the cord into a power outlet.

Electrical devices should be turned off during a thunderstorm  

This may sound very old school to the point that it seems to be a myth already, but this is a hundred percent true. It is definitely recommended to switch off electrical devices during a thunderstorm since a single shot of lightning produces an extremely high voltage of electricity.

During a thunderstorm, lightning can strike an electrical pole and travel to your household through its wires, and if you happen to be watching your favorite show on TV and is unluckily situated near the appliance, it can get you electrocuted, which is what happened to me. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Turn off all electrical appliances and let the thunderstorm pass before turning them on again.

 

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The State of the Electrical Industry

At present, the overall global economy relies heavily on electricity. It is evident in the consumption of electricity in residential, commercial, and business establishments. This dependence on electricity helps individuals perform their daily chores and tasks in the homes, in schools, and in their offices.

The numerous household appliances that use electricity is proof enough of how the public will suffer if there are unexpected circumstances like a power failure. The inconvenience that people will experience is also applicable to commercial establishments and businesses. Operations will suffer if there is a power failure.

Responsibility of Power Companies

The players in the electrical industry have to distribute the power supply to their consumers through a power grid. The distribution network needs it to provide electricity through a system where the power generation, distribution, and transmission are existing.

In essence, the reliance of an entity on a power company is massive. Thus, the power industry has an enormous responsibility. Furthermore, safety is a concern. A power distributor must ensure that the electricity provided to businesses and residences is safe.

The generation of electricity occurs in a station within the grid through combustible fuels like coal, natural gas, or biomass. The station can also use non-combustible fuel like wind, solar, or hydro energy. Power companies must be able to generate and distribute electricity efficiently and productively. They must ensure that energy is flowing safely and economically.

After creating electrical energy, the transmission lines carry it to the different demand centers. To reduce the voltage, the transformers used to regulate it and distribute the electricity to different households and establishments.

Trends in the Electrical Industry

Residual Current Device (RCD) Testing

A residual current device has a test button that allows users to test its performance occasionally. But, this functionality is untapped because users lack awareness. Moreover, RCD  is inaccessible. Testing is also difficult because protected circuits will have no electricity. There may even be a need to reset equipment like clocks, recording equipment, TVs, etc.

Self-Testing RCD

Aside from self-testing, the residual current device can signify its end of life if it fails. Self-testing RCDs can execute self-tests every few seconds. Failure in self-tests will notify the user in different ways like automatic tripping of the device, the lighting of a LED, the activation of the alarm, or a combination of these methodologies.

RCD Technology and Electric Vehicles

In recent years, electric vehicles bring about new technology demands to provide effective solutions to new problems. They are extremely safe, but users assume some risks.

For example, charging the electric vehicles involves the link of a cable to provide power to the charging system. The user may experience inherent risks of electric shock. Thus, it is important that the charging process safeguards the user from these risks.

Less obvious potential hazards include the danger of touching accidentally the high voltages within the electric vehicles. Although the risk is very low, international standards and manufacturers are responsible for the safety of users from risks of electric shocks.

 

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The Future of the Electrical Industry

Over the past nine decades of the electrical industry, you may notice that the market is not so impassive and unadaptable. New demands, new techniques, and new technologies continue to disturb the industry.

Smart Grids

The electrical grid in many countries will see an upgrade and outfitting with enhanced control and communication technologies. Distributors can gain extraordinary profits from this investment, but industrial, residential, and commercial markets will experience significant results also.

Competitors with networking companies become new players. Aside from the installation of smart grids, utility companies will upgrade their training and development systems, and change their hardware for power to flow across the grid in different ways. They will invest in different equipment utility distributors.

Traditional distributors will have new products that reinforce the demand response programs of the utilities. Such programs include smart metering and control systems that are beginning to make their way to the industrial, commercial and residential markets. The products are important in allowing individual electrical loads to connect with utilities so that the latter can improve the overall load on the distribution grids.

Radical Lighting

Recent radical advances provide a hint on the future of solid-state lighting. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is an important focus of the research and development at universities and lamp companies. It is slowly creeping into the market through ultra-thin TVs, cameras, and cellular phone displays.

At present, the technology faces two important challenges: its composition and cost. The organic light-emitting diode is composed of an alloy indium tin oxide. Indium is expensive, rare, and not recyclable. Researchers have suggested the use of light-emitting electrochemical cell, which is inexpensive and consists of carbon material graphene.

Quantum dot is another technology that shows promise. It is a minute crystal made by combining cadmium, sulfur, zinc, and selenium. It emits light of different colors, depending on the material used and the dot size. A few companies are using quantum dots to convert blue LEDs to a more natural and warmer light.

Electric Vehicles

Different proposals in handling charging of electric vehicles are in progress. But, it may take some time before a single technology can satisfy the demand. Homes need to make an enormous service upgrade to charge these electric vehicles.

Service stations need power handling capabilities similar to a substation level. Also, they may use wind and solar generation technology. Manufacturers have already announced initiatives to tap this emerging market.

Go Green

Distributors of electrical power face demand from consumers to provide proof of their green commitment. Companies and associations made recent announcements about documenting the supply chains’ environmental impact.

A strategic plan called for voluntary industry initiatives to lessen greenhouse emissions. A survey conducted revealed that only 48 of the 240 industry suppliers have means to measure greenhouse gas emission, and these suppliers have developed voluntary goals to take steps in reducing their emissions.

Major consumer groups demand distributors to take a proactive step in investigating the generation of carbon and the consumption of water and energy to develop a plan to lessen these factors over time.

 

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Some Ways You Can Conserve Energy

Electricity is very important to us. Just like food and water, electricity is used on a day to day basis. As the entire world uses energy in excesses, shortages and scarcity are looming to happen. It is, therefore, our duty as consumers to not only pay our bills but to likewise make sure that we’re preserving electricity when we can.

         

Here are two ways you can save power at home:

  1. Limit light use

If it’s the morning or afternoon, try to accustom yourself to using little or no lights as long as there’s a source of natural light streaming through windows and doors. Attics and basements are obviously exceptions but restrooms, bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms aren’t.

Also, there’s one thing people forget to turn off: outside lights. At night, as an added safety feature, we turn certain lights on especially over doors and porches. However, when daytime arrives, we forget to switch these lights off, leaving them wasting electricity all day.

  1. Unplug gadgets and appliances

Use extension wires for gadget and appliance choke points so you can simply yank one cord off before leaving that area at any point of the day. Even when they’re not running, plugged in appliances contribute to a fraction of our monthly bills. Not only is it a waste of money but electricity as well.

The two seasons we tend to abuse electricity is during summer and winter. Setting the house to an ambient temperature takes a lot of appliances running that it seems avoiding a hefty power bill is nothing but a dream.

Here are three suggestions for each of these seasons that could help you conserve electricity.

 

Summertime alternatives to stay cool:

  1. Take a cool shower during the afternoons. This helps your body cool down and take off that sticky summer feel.
  2. Open windows or stay in the ventilated areas of your house. This lets the breeze come in and help you to cool yourself down.
  3. Drink plenty of water and make use of ice. This helps you cool your body down and complete that eight glasses a day healthy habit.

Wintertime alternatives to stay warm:

  1. Wear wool socks and sweaters to keep warm. Those Christmas sweaters aren’t just there for the festivities after all. This allows you to keep warm, allowing you to lower the thermostat to a few degrees during the winter.
  2. If you have radiators, line the inside of the exterior wall with tinfoil. This will help keep you warm by reflecting some of the heat back into the house.
  3. If you have a chimney or fireplace, either use it or block it. Not blocking unused chimneys sucks the heat right out of your home and makes it a lot harder to keep things warm, so if you don’t use your chimney, it’s better to block it up with fireplace insulation.

There are lots of other ways you can employ to conserve energy. These are some of the more obvious ones but tend to be overlooked a lot. Electricity use is intentional. Unless you want to, you won’t be able to save energy unless you really intend to.

 

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Pushing Printable Solar Panels for Cheaper Electricity Costs

With the cost of electricity constantly rising and coal mines rapidly declining, it’s not a surprise if people will want to look for cheaper means of obtaining power. Solar panels became a craze some years back, but not everyone could afford these silicon panels. Having them would be advantageous since they only need to be charged by the use of the sun but due to its expensive costs, most people could only afford so much.

Using Solar Power for Day to Day Living

Imagine, if we could use the sun to power our houses for a full day, we’d be able to save a day’s worth of electric bills. This makes living easier for most people who are in constant struggle to pay for bills. After all, one’s electric bill is just a part of a series of payables one has for every month.

Some countries have even adapted the idea of using these solar panels to bring about a more cost-effective way to obtain electricity. One of those countries who made use of this idea was China. By building a panda-shaped solar panel farm, they were able to harness the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity which is relatively cheaper than electricity produced from oil and coal mines.

Solar Technology is Cost-Effective

Putting to mind the need for cost-effectivity, scientists began experimenting on whether these solar cells could be obtained in a more wallet-friendly way. It was found out that the efficiency of printed solar panels as of the moment has just only reached ten percent which is considerably lower than silicon panels. But the studies have only begun, and there is still more room for improvement. As of now, researchers are currently looking for ways to make it more efficient with regards to its durability under changes in weather and also its lifespan.

Replacing the heavy solar panels, are paper-thin solar panels printed onto plastic films by the use of a specially made solar ink that contains solar cells needed for the absorption of light energy and its conversion into electricity. These flexible films can be placed on any surface of a house; may it be curtains, walls or roofs. The convenience that this innovation gives can certainly be considered as a breakthrough in the field of energy generation.

Solar Panels Can Cut Electricity Costs

Think about it. If people could have solar panels printed and placed all over their houses, the cost of electricity would significantly decrease. If proven to be successful, these printable solar panels can be capable of turning any surface of a house or building into a less costly generator. This would certainly be beneficial to those countries who are struggling with energy resources. So rather than using coal mines and oil to generate electricity, this would be one of the best alternative solutions.

Not only can it help people struggling with very costly electric bills, but also our environment. The world has become much polluted nowadays that sometimes even fresh air is hard to find. With this innovation, we can bring ourselves a step closer to a cleaner earth.

 

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What Procedures Does an Electrician Perform?

Electricians perform a range of procedures in the home or commercial establishments. Their job is to guarantee that the home or building electrical installation is working well and complies with proper building standards.

 

Wiring/Rewiring

Many homes have wiring that is often overlooked by the homeowners. Older homes have wiring that requires replacements by a skilled electrician due to safety reasons. Electricians perform rewiring procedures regularly since old wiring can lead to electrocution and even fires.

An electrician will give plenty of support with rewiring to guarantee that homeowners will be provided with correct solutions. They give reports to homeowners and establishment owners about the current situation of electrics in the house or building. Home and building owners are required to hire electricians to check on wiring approximately every ten years.

 

Fusebox Checkup and Fusebox Upgrading

Electricians offer upgrades of the fusebox if needed to improve safety. The new fusebox models provide a variety of electrical safety units from MCBs, RCDs down to RCBOs. New fuse boards are frequently provided to improve the safety of the building or house.

 

Lighting Set-Up

When it comes to lights at home or in buildings and commercial establishments, owners need to leave this particular procedure to professional electricians. Interior lighting that was installed properly by a qualified electrician will further improve the surroundings of the home or building. An electrician can also give great advice on how homeowners can save expenses and energy consumption with correct energy-saving light fittings.

There are also homeowners who want lights installed outside their homes or buildings. Outdoor lighting and garden lights can be tackled by a skilled electrician. An electrician will make use of their comprehensive knowledge and experience in lighting to give solutions that are good for the house or commercial establishment. The electrician will plan an installation with owners and accomplish tests and installations needed.

 

Security System Set-Up

A skilled electrician must perform difficult installations. Commercial and such experts can design home security systems in order to match the needs of the property. The specs differ in terms of expenses plus the level of difficulty the installation shows.

 

Door Entry System Set-Up

Electricians can mount door entry systems like the ones you often see in hotels and other related establishments. This kind of system comes with audio or even audio with CCTV extras if need be. An electrician will make a system that will match your commercial or domestic requirements that is capable of combining with the current alarm system. For even better security, the electrician can also put these systems together with exterior lighting.

 

Other Important Facts

An electrician should ensure that the installation he will perform is safe for the house or commercial building. The testing must be finalized by a skilled electrician at a particular time. This testing will be based on the kind of property being evaluated. The electrician will examine for any decline or new work done in the area. This is needed so the installation performed will comply with the latest regulations.

Electricians are frequently trained on current standards and rules that influence both home and commercial properties. There are training centers made available in order to support and provide advice for professionals and amateur electricians. These centers will be able to provide them with the evaluation and certifications they need.

 

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How to Use Your Clothes Dryer More Efficiently

 

Clothes dryers are one of the most helpful and essential household appliances one can own. However, when used regularly, they can consume a significant amount of energy which reflects on your monthly electric bill. How can you continue to use your handy clothes dryer and conserve energy while using it? Below are some tips you can apply to more efficiently use your clothes dryer.

Regularly remove lint from your dryer

Since clothes dryers work with heat and high humidity, garment lint will naturally accumulate in certain spots of your dryer. You need to regularly clean the lint out. Some drying units have a lint trap which conveniently “catches” and collects lint in a fine mesh. This allows you easy clean up by using a lint vacuum. It is advisable to do this regularly because clogged lint traps negatively affect your clothes dryer’s airflow, which results in higher energy consumption. In addition, accumulated lint can be a fire hazard.

Check the distance and placement of your clothes dryer’s exhaust duct hose

Too often, you will find household clothes dryers that are positioned too close to the wall. This limits the space for the dryer’s flexible exhaust duct hose, making it bend sharply near the back of the dryer. This can be a serious fire hazard because airflow is significantly slowed down in the bent area of the hose and lint can accumulate in that same spot. This slowing of exhaust airflow and lint buildup translates to increased energy consumption.

What you can do is purchase a dryer-to-duct connector, which eliminates bending or curving of the flexible exhaust duct hose. Another item you can buy to replace your flexible exhaust duct hose is a rigid metal alternative. The idea behind it is to avoid affecting airflow and lint buildup. These devices may incur you some costs at the start, but they will definitely generate electricity savings in the long run.

Protect your dryer’s exhaust ducts from critters and moisture

When your clothes dryer’s exhaust duct is kept open, critters and rodents can go inside your appliance. Those pests can leave their biological wastes inside your dryers and can mess with the electrical wiring found underneath your drying unit. These can likewise contribute to higher energy consumption. For prevention, you can purchase dryer vent kits from your regular hardware stores and attach them to the end of your dryer’s exhaust duct hose. These gadgets provide protective covers, meshes, and louvers that protect your dryer unit from outside elements such as insects, mice, and other nasty critters.

Another thing that you must consider is possible moisture buildup that can occur especially during winter season. Using this same suggested contraption, the protective cover also keeps temperature steady and stable even during the coldest of winters, avoiding any moisture buildup that can negatively affect the energy consumption of your clothes dryer.

Keeping your clothes dryer working efficiently is not as difficult as it sounds. If you follow the tips suggested above, you will definitely enjoy savings on your electricity bill as well as the extended life of your appliance.

 

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Four Ways to Conserve Energy and Electricity at Home

Everyone is always trying to find ways to conserve Electricity, especially at home. Using electricity without taking necessary steps to conserve it will lead to massive electricity bills that will cost a lot of money. Being mindful of your energy consumption is very important in today’s world and is essential to saving a lot of money. Here are some ways to help you in conserving your electricity at home.

  1. Natural Lighting

We all have lights at home, and one way of conserving them is, of course by not using them often. Natural lighting is a big help here. Usually, we tend to close the blinds and curtains then flip the switch instead of doing this, try let natural light shine in and brighten up the room. Unless you need focused light for doing a specific task.

Look for the brightest room in your house and make that your family’s main area during the day. Consider the sun’s place during the morning and afternoon usually the room that faces the sun during those hours are the brightest.

Use light-colored curtains to welcome the light in but also give you privacy in your house. Finding covers that are light-colored but not see-through can let filtered light in and still protect your family’s privacy inside the house.

  1. Unplug Everything

That means your appliances and electronics. These devices continue to sap electricity while plugged in even if they are not in use or their switches are turned off. Plugging off electronic devices and appliances are a good habit to start if you want to conserve energy around your house, but of course, that doesn’t mean you should plug off anyone’s life support.

Unplug your TVs, radios, speakers and other devices after use. This saves a lot of money.

Don’t forget other appliances like phone chargers, electric fans, and toasters. These take up very little energy but can help you save a lot of energy over time.

  1. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Use compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or LED bulbs. These bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. New bulbs like this come in different styles and shapes that can also add uniqueness to your home while still being efficient and costs less electricity.

CFLs use only a fraction of the energy incandescent bulbs which makes it very ideal if you are looking to save on your electricity bills. Be very careful in disposing of these bulbs since they have a small amount of mercury inside.

LED bulbs are a bit more expensive than CFLs but are much more long-lasting and don’t contain any mercury. Some bulbs even have multi-colored and dimmable variants that allow you to customize your house.

  1. Heating and Cooling

Use your air conditioner as rare as possible. It very tempting to overuse this appliance especially during the summer but this comes at a great electrical cost. Try alternatives that will make you stay cool during the summer than just the air conditioner. Setting the thermostat a few degrees lower during the winter also saves a lot of energy and money you can try doing some other alternatives to keep yourself warm in the winter.

 

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Five Easy Ways to Cut-Back Energy at Home

At present, each one of us is affected by Global Warming. Simply defined, Global Warming is the rise of the world’s temperature.  This is due to an upsurge of various gases like Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. As common citizens, what can we contribute to reducing this global issue? For one, a simple step like conserving energy at home will go a long way.

   

Here are five easy ways to cut-back energy at home:

 

  1. Lower your cooling and heating bill

Do you want free heat? Open your windows during the day to bring in the sun. Make use of your comfortable blanket, warm socks, and a snug sweater rather than using the heater. During the night, turn down your thermostat and put into use those warm comforters on your bed. Meanwhile, using a ceiling fan will likewise bring significant airflow into the room. Remember to schedule a maintenance check of your cooling and heating system to maximize their proper use.

  1. Lessen your use of water heater

One smart way to save energy is to wash laundry using cold water. Another smart way is to shorten your showers. Are you fond of taking those 30-minute showers? Save water and reduce it to at least 10 or 15 minutes as a start. You might want to check if you are using an efficient water heater. If you are not, consider using a tankless hot water heater that is at best an energy saver. 

  1. Maximize your washer and dryer use

Check if your current machine is an energy efficient washer. A standard washing machine uses up to 40 gallons of water per load, but an energy efficient one can use a minimal 8 – 25 gallons of water per load. Keep in mind to maintain a laundry routine. You can dry several loads using a freshly heated dryer. Don’t forget to segregate your clothes and make sure to dry the same type of garments at the same time. Another natural option for drying clothes is line drying. If you have enough space for line drying, place a dryer rack outside and let your clothes dry under the sun. 

  1. Use lights as needed

As mentioned in the previous items, check if you are using energy-efficient lighting. If not, buy lights with the energy saving logos. Convert to compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED lights which use 75% less energy. At home, make it a habit of turning on lights as needed. 

  1. Make your refrigerator energy efficient

Keep up with the proper maintenance of your refrigerator. This will allow longer use of the appliance and result in energy efficiency. At home, check if your appliance is set to the correct temperature. Setting it a bit high or low will both result in a hefty energy bill. To make it energy efficient, remember to keep it full. When it’s full, there will be little air to cool but remember to avoid overfilling.

These simple steps that you can do at home will be a huge help in reducing your carbon footprint. In reducing this, you are minimizing Carbon Dioxide emitted in our atmosphere. Hence, decrease in pollution. Bear in mind that saving our planet is both a personal and social responsibility.

 

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