• Keeping cool when power bills go up


    It’s that time of the year when temperatures hover around the high 80s, or even the 90s. Inevitably, as temperatures (and tempers) begin to rise, energy bills are expected to follow suit. For the poor consumer, this means higher than usual electricity bills whether we like it or not. What’s more, with the newly enacted Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, chances are those bills are liable to break the bank.

    But hope is not lost. Although bracing ourselves for higher utility bills in the coming months would be the prudent thing to do, we can adopt small changes in advance in how we consume energy that can make a big difference and result in some savings. It doesn’t have to be a big investment or purchase. Being energy efficient can do wonders.

    Don’t start fretting now. There are natural and simple ways to make our home energy efficient and keep the bills low. Here are some tips you can do:

    1. As the thermometer reaches fever pitch, most homeowners crank up the cooling units to beat the heat. Setting up your cooling unit to maximum setting in 40-degree celcius weather and not expecting a spike in your bill is simply unrealistic.

    While we can’t advise you not to use your cooling units, remember a home doesn’t have to be arctic cold to be comfortable. Manage the thermostat. Adjust the thermostat gradually; don’t just crank it up. Install a programmable thermostat that can adjust the temperature to your schedule.

    2. Before using your air cooling system, check the filter. A clogged filter or duct can substantially affect the way your cooling system works; thus, increasing your energy consumption. Make sure to change your filter every two to three months.

    3. When staying at home, keep the doors and windows closed during the day. Shut the shades to keep the unwanted heat from coming in.

    4. Complement the usage of cooling units with wearing comfortable outfits (shorts and sleeveless shirt, for instance) while at home to help decrease energy consumption. Fans are your best friends this summer.

    5. Unplug all the appliances you are not using. Even if they are not switched on, appliances still use small amounts of electricity. Turn on your computer only when needed.

    6. Wash clothes in cold water. Did you know that 90 per cent of the energy utilized by the washing machine goes to heating the water?

    7. Using air conditioning units and ovens simultaneously is counterproductive. Ovens, especially if you keep opening their doors, counteracts the effects of the cooling system.

    8. When baking or cooking in the oven, keep the door shut. Each time you open the door, the temperature drops and it would require additional energy to bring it up again. Also, you can turn it off 10 to 15 minutes before the cooking time is up. The residual heat will continue to cook the food.

    9. If your budget permits, make some home renovations. Insulate your ceiling and roof. Seal cracks, gaps and leaks. Add some solar shades or tinting film on your window, or you can replace single-pane windows with more energy-efficient ones.

    10. Switching off the lights when they are not in use can help you save about 15 per cent on your utility bill. Turn off lights during the day, and use natural light instead.

    11. To take care of your water bill, better fix those leaky faucet. Check your plumbing. Don’t keep the water running when you are shaving and brushing your teeth. Use a cup when you’re brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers.

    12. Manage your kitchen well. Do you know that cooking with the microwave uses less energy compared to electric oven? If you are using stove, keep the lid on the pot to reduce cooking time.

    Saving energy isn’t just about lowering your bills, it can also help the environment in the long run.


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