Energy Saving Tips
A considerable amount of electric energy is used in lighting, refrigeration, cooking, water - heating and air conditioning. It is important to know how to operate these appliances more efficiently in order to reduce electricity consumption. Please, follow carefully the instructions given below and you can reduce your electrical bills considerably.
Household appliances such as refrigerators, deep freezers, air conditioners, TV etc. have become an integral part of modern life. The power rating of these equipment is not high but misuse could lead to energy waste.
Computers, printers and typewriters used in offices also have low energy rating. However, if left on when not in use for a long time, could lead to high energy consumption. Switch them off when you are not using them.
Click on the appliances below for more.
Refrigerators run continuously for hours every day which means that they consume a lot of energy. It is therefore advisable to do the following;
- Buy energy efficient refrigerators. Let the yellow label and stars be your guide. The more the stars, the more efficient the fridge. Efficient fridges consume less electricity.
- In Ghana, ordinary inefficient fridge consumes on the average 1,200 kWh a year whereas an efficient 5 star fridge consumes averagely only 400kWh a year.
- If you replace one inefficient fridge that consumes 1200kWh/year with an efficient one that consumes 400 kWh/ year, you save about 800 kWh of electricity and 0.45 TC02 in a year.
- Do not position your fridge close to the wall; leave a space of about 30cm between the fridge and the wall. The cooling system at the back of the fridge needs a lot of air to perform efficiently.
- Do not position the fridge at where there are direct sun rays, or near heaters such as stoves
- Avoid frequent opening of the fridge’s door since every opening introduces warm air into the fridge and the fridge will require more energy to overcome the warm air.
- Periodically, put off the fridge and clean the dust accumulation on the cooling grill at the back to allow maximum air contact to ensure cooling.
- Defrost the freezer regularly. Ice buildup restrains the freezer’s ability to keep proper temperature thus making the freezer to work harder than necessary.
Use the smallest pan necessary to do the job. Smaller pans require less energy.
Match the pan size to the element size. A 15cm pan on a 20cm burner will waste over 40% of the heat produced by the burner. The most efficient utensils are those with straight sides an flat bases because contact with the unit.
To prevent utensils from developing round bases do not immerse hot utensils in cold or lukewarm water.
The lids of all utensils should be tight-fitting.
Consider medium weight aluminum utensils with bright, shinny exteriors. They heat quickly and provide good heat distribution.
Keep the burner pans which accumulate oil, clean and shiny, so that they will be more effective at reflecting heat up to the utensil. Blackened burner pans absorb a lot of heat, reducing burner efficiency.
Turn off the burner just before the end of the cooking. The burner will continue to radiate heat for a little white.
To reduce cooking time, defrost frozen foods before cooking.
When the oven is being pre-heated for baking, keep the preheat time to a minimum and set the control at the temperature needed for the baking.
Food cooks more quickly and more efficiently when air can circulate freely. Thus when possible, stagger pans on upper and lower racks to improve air flow if you are baking in more than one pan.
Avoid overcooking, which not only spoils the taste and reduces nutritional value, but also wastes energy.
Use the full oven capacity when possible.
Do not open the oven door for frequent peeping. Each time the door is opened, a significant amount of heat escapes, food takes longer to cook and energy is wasted.
If you have a self-cleaning oven, use this feature only once in a while, and just after you have cooked a meal - that way the oven will still be hot and the cleaning feature will require less energy.
For a new cooker consider the one which incorporates a fan to circulate the hot air. This feature reduces energy consumption by 20% compared with the standard ones.
A microwave oven reduces electricity used for Cooking by up to 70 per cent compared to an electric cooker. Use it to re heat food.
- Do not use the microwave oven to defrost food-stuff, because it will use more electricity; rather defrost foodstuff in the open overnight to conserve electricity.
- Allow free circulation of air in your oven. Place pans and containers so that they do not touch each other or the sides of the oven.
- When roasting or baking, avoid making frequent progress checks that entail opening the oven door, instead look through the oven door if need be. The oven’s temperature drops by about 10 degrees Celsius whenever the door is opened.
Use the electric kettle to boil small quantities of water, not the electric cooker. It is cheaper to use the electric kettle to boil water rather than the electric cooker.
When boiling water use only the required amount of water. For instance, if you want one cup of tea, boil water that is just enough to cover the heating element.
Store hot water in thermos flask for later use. This helps save energy by avoiding constant use of the kettle.
- Turn off lights that are not in use.
- Turn on security lights as late as possible and turn them off as early as possible. In the tropics, visibility becomes poor after 5:30am in most of the times. It is therefore a waste of electricity to turn on lights at 6pm and turn them off at 6am the following day. At least one hour savings a day is a lot in a year.
- Buy energy efficient lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting Diode (LED) lamps are very efficient; very bright, consumes less energy, generates no heat and last longer than incandescent lamps. In deciding what CFL to buy, let the yellow label and the stars be your Guide. The more the stars, the more efficient it is.
- Do not buy CFL that has no label on it.
- If you replace one inefficient 60 watt incandescent bulb with a 15 watt CFL and use it for 5hours a day, you save about 82 kWh of electricity and 0.05 Tc02 in a year.
- The (ballast) choke in the fluorescent light should be removed if the lamp is gone dead. The choke consumes up to 11 watt if it remains in the system.
- Use brighter colours for rooms since they do reflect light and ensure better illumination than dull colours which tend to absorb light.
- Wash at the lowest temperature that will still give effective cleaning. Always use cold water for rinsing. By pre-soaking heavily soiled clothes, a cooler wash temperature may be fine.
- Load the washing machine to capacity when possible but do not overload. For smaller loads, match the water level to the size of the load.
- Use short wash cycles for light soiling.
- When buying a new washing machine, consider buying a front- loading (horizontal axis) machine which uses much less water than a top-loading (vertical axis) one. The front-loaders generally spin at a faster speed than top-loaders, thus saving on drying time. Front-Loaders have better overall washing performance.
- When using a dryer, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together.
- Do not over dry clothes. Over drying wastes energy, causes shrinkage, generates static electricity and shortens fabric life. If the dryer has auto-dry setting, use it instead of the timer to avoid wasting energy.
- Clean the dryer filter after each use. A clogged filter restricts air flow and reduces dryer performance.
- In good weather, hang clothes outside and use totally free solar energy to do the drying.
Electric irons, like electric water heaters are high electricity consuming appliances.
Do all your ironing in bulk. Each time you put off the iron for it to cool and put it on again, you draw a lot of energy that could have ironed one shirt.
Make sure you are ready to iron before switching on the iron in order not to waste too much time and energy. For example do not watch television whilst you do ironing since you are likely to loose concentration and waste time unnecessarily.
When selecting a central air conditioning unit, be sure to choose one with the proper capacity and highest efficiency.
Install a whole house ventilating fan in your attic or in an upstairs window to help air circulate in your home. Although not a replacement for a central air conditioning system, a fan is an effective way to stay comfortable on milder days.
Set your thermostat at 25 degrees Celsius, which is a reasonably comfortable and energy efficient indoor temperature.
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder temperature 20 Cooling Systems than normal when you turn your air conditioner on. This is to eliminate long cooling periods as it will cool
to a lower temperature than you need and use more energy.
Consider using a ceiling fan with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air to other rooms. But be sure the air conditioner is large enough to cool the additional space.
Don’t place lamps or television sets near your thermostat. Heat from these appliances is sensed by the thermostat and could cause your system to run longer than necessary.
Clean or replace air conditioning filters. Dirty air filters should be cleaned or replaced every month. Foam filters can be rinsed with water and wrung dry. Fiberglass filter needs to be replaced regularly.
No matter what kind of central air conditioning system you have, clean the outside condenser coil once a year. To clean, turn off the unit and spray coils with water at a low pressure. (High water pressure may bend the fins.)
Use duct tape to seal the cracks between each section of an air duct on your central conditioning or forced heating system.
- Turn off TV and video sets that are not being watched. Children especially are likely to leave a set on when called outside to play.
- Do not switch on the TV at the same time that the radio or Hi-Fi system has been switched on. Listening is ineffective at this point. Effectively, a TV can be watched by selecting specific programmes rather than leaving it on continuously.
Air-conditioners consume a lot of electricity as they are common in offices and run for long hours. To reduce consumption of electricity, the follow steps should be followed:
Buy efficient air-conditioners. Look out for the yellow label and the black stars. The more the stars, the more efficient the application, no label no good!
The room should be well sealed and well curtained to avoid warm air entering the room through vent and conduction.
If you are going out for more than 30 minutes, the air conditioners should be turned off.
The work of a fan is to turn the air in a particular area so that the place will not be too warm. It is therefore important that the area be well ventilated to enable the fan function efficiently. If the following steps are followed, one can enjoy the fan to its maximum;
Open windows to allow more into the room so that the fan can circulate it well to lower the temperature. Circulation of trapped air in closed room by fans lead to warming of rooms;
Avoid the use of incandescent lamps as they produce heat. The work of the fan will not be fully felt as the air in the room will be warmed by the incandescent lamp.
Standby electricity is the energy consumed by appliance when they are not performing their main functions or when they are switched off. The energy wasted in this manner is commonly referred to as “standby loss” or “leaking electricity”. Most people are not aware of the fact that modern electrical and electronic appliance, even those having on/off switches, consumes power for standby functions that include features such as powering off the built-in clock or memory, displaying information, responding to remove controls or programming, charging of batteries, etc. when deciding on what appliance to buy, choose the one that consumes less than 1watt in standby mode. Appliances to watch out for standby electricity consumption include, TVs with R/C, DVD players, sounds Systems, Computers, Cordless Phones etc.
Switch off the mains if you are not charging the mobile phone. A mobile phone charger plugged in but not charging consumes 0.048kWh/day which amount to 7.20kWh/year