Showing posts with label Water heating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Water heating. Show all posts

Friday, May 16, 2014

Save Money: How To Reduce Your Utility Bill This Summer

Are you one of the many Americans who dread opening up your utilities bills each month? Fortunately, there are several ways to cut down on your utilities. These six tips can be a great way to get started with your monthly savings.

Turn off your electronics

It may be tempting to leave your TV or stereo on at night, or maybe you forget to switch off the lights when you leave a room. However, these costs can add up over the course of a month. Before you leave the house or go to sleep, do a quick sweep to make sure your electronics are switched off. This is especially important for charging laptops and cell phones. Take a quick look around your home before leaving for the day, and especially before long trips. You may be surprised at how much electricity you are using when you don't need it. Common sources that are often overlooked include: kitchen appliances like toasters, charging computers or phones, electronic shavers and power strips.

Upgrade your appliances

Switching to energy efficient appliances can save you hundreds of dollars on your utilities. Your AC units, dishwasher, and washer and dryer can all be replaced with a high-efficiency model. In addition, many local and state governments offer financial incentives to homeowners who choose to upgrade to more efficient appliances. Air conditioner installation is a simple process with the help of professionals, and can save you a bundle for years to come, says the experts at Cydcom Services Ltd

Choose your light bulbs carefully

If you choose to purchase energy efficient light bulbs, not only will you save money on your electricity bill, but you will also save money in replacement costs. Although energy-saving light bulbs are initially more expensive, an energy-efficient light bulb can last seven times longer than a normal light bulb and costs you much less on your utilities. You won't end up having to keep going to the store to buy more light bulbs either, making it much easier to maintain as well. 

Install an irrigation meter

A little known fact about your water bill is that you are actually charged twice, once to pump the water into your house, and again when you pump it into the sewage system. By installing an irrigation meter, instead of pumping the water back into the sewer, you can use it to water your lawn or garden. The meter will be measured each month by the utility company and subtracted from your water bill.

Buy a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat can also help you save money on your heating and air conditioning costs. You can use a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer when you aren’t home during the day. This is an easy way to save money without making a conscious effort everyday. By having the programmable thermostat, you can set a temperature for your home each day or night, and not worry about constantly changing it or forgetting to turn it down when you aren't home.

Turn down your water heater

Setting your hot water heater on a higher temperature can cost you hundreds each year in standby heat losses. Most hot water heaters are set at 140 degrees, but by turning the temperature down to 120 degrees, you can save even more money on your monthly utilities bills. When you have company over or need to use more hot water, you can turn it up temporarily to save you money. Hot water is more expensive than many people realize. You should also consider doing your laundry with cold or warm water as often as possible. Using hot water for all loads of laundry costs the average homeowner hundreds of dollars each year.

Bills for your electric, water and gas can be expensive, but by following these six steps, you can greatly reduce your monthly utility expenses. Expenses that you can control can make a big difference in savings at the end of the year.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What to do When Your Boiler has a Breakdown

English: Condensing Boiler Exaust
English: Condensing Boiler Exaust (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Would you know what to do if your boiler suddenly broke down leaving your home without heat or hot water?

The short answer is probably not but here’s a quick guide to some things that you can do to help avoid the worst should this happen.

  • Firstly, a boiler service every year is a must as this will highlight any problems, or potential problems and help ensure that the boiler is in tip top condition.
  • Learn how to relight the boiler manually if the pilot light has gone out. This will save you calling out a heating engineer for a boiler breakdown.
  • Many calls for boiler breakdowns are found to be because the gas and electric supply has stopped working for some reason or the boiler itself has been switched off!
  • Read the user guide for your boiler and central heating system to ensure you know what to do in an emergency.
  • If your boiler is working, check whether your thermostat temperature has been turned down too low and learn how to bleed radiators.
  • It’s also important to lag pipes to help prevent a condenser boiler from freezing.
  • The drop in water pressure can also lead to combination boilers failing but this pressure can be increased manually.

For anyone with an old boiler, it might be time to invest in a new one as they are more efficient and should save money every year on fuel bills. Heating supplies website Plumb Nation estimates that by investing in a high-efficiency, A-rated condensing boiler, a household could save around £225 a year on their heating bills!

Why a boiler service every year is vital

However, the most effective tactic that a household can undertake is to carry out an annual service of the boiler. Many Home Plan providers, such as Corgi HomePlan, will undertake this on an annual basis as part of their package.

Indeed, even the consumer champion Which? says that getting a good boiler service is vital to ensuring the proper performance of a boiler when it is needed most.

The Which? website even has a very helpful video detailing what a householder should expect from their annual boiler service and a very good page on paying for service contracts and what they involve.

According to Which?, the average cost of a boiler service is £63, though this amount varies greatly depending on where you are living in the UK.

The bottom line from their report is that people will inevitably save money by having a regular boiler service with people responding to the survey confessing that they enjoyed the peace of mind that came with having a Home Plan policy, such as one of those from Corgi HomePlan, which has this service included in the monthly premium.

Boiler services are often included in Home Plan policies

Some plans providers have varying levels of packages for boiler breakdown cover which also includes the heating controls and the central heating system.

It’s this message that prevention is always better than the cure is also underlined by the gas industry itself.

Those responsible for gas safety insist that having a boiler service at least once a year will help improve its condition and improve energy efficiency. Anyone who needs to find a contractor to undertake a boiler service should contact the Gas Safe Register.

The message from the heating and gas industries is that even if you don’t believe that a HomePlan, even the modestly priced packages, are for you then an annual boiler service is the very least a homeowner can do to ensure that the boiler will work through a harsh winter and not let them down.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five Ways To Save Money On Your Utility Bills

English: Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH.
English: Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No matter how strong, or how weak, the economy is, the one constant seems to be the constant increases in utility costs. Every homeowner is always on the lookout for ways to save some money every month, and we will share with you some solid, effective ways to do so. Savings add up, month to month, and any changes made will soon pay for themselves.

Heating And Cooling

Heating and cooling a home is one of the biggest energy costs today, and actually one of the easiest to fix. The first thing to do is to have an inspector come out to check for possible leak points. The more air that escapes through ill fitting vents and gaps in walls or floors, the more dollars that get wasted on heating and cooling costs.

Shade trees behind, and on sides of the home will help reduce the need for high air conditioning costs in the summer. The added insulation from the sun’s rays will keep indoor temperatures down, and the AC kicking in less. Sealing the windows with plastic sheeting will do the same with heating in the winter.


Dimmer switches will help to reduce the amount of lighting needed to illuminate the home. The brighter the light, the more energy is expended. If you will only be occupying a smaller area, use task lighting like overhead track lights instead of lighting up the entire room. Switch out light bulbs for energy savers in every room that sees a lot of traffic. Design the placement of furniture to take advantage of natural lighting, near windows, whenever possible.

Using Home Electronics

Research has shown that 60 percent of the power that each piece of home electronics uses daily is eaten up by continually sitting on standby. Don’t just turn the volume down, or leave that green light blinking, turn it off completely. To be honest, plugging them all into a surge protector power strips will not only preserve them from storms, it will also make it easier to turn them all off at once.


Make sure that you keep all of the appliances in the home in good repair, especially items like hot water heaters, dishwashers, and washer-dryers. A machine like these that is damaged will work twice as hard to perform, using twice the energy. Upgrade to Energy Star rated appliances, if possible, which use less energy. With washers, dryers and dishwashers, consolidate loads whenever possible. If you have an appliance you no longer use, unplug it and take it away. One empty refrigerator alone will waste up to 160 dollars of energy costs.

Go On A Budget

A lot of municipal energy providers offer what is termed a ‘budget plan’ for cost conscious consumers. You will pay the same amount of money every month, regardless of what your meter says. On months that you do not use that much energy, the overage that you paid in will go into credit, which you can then use during months when you will need more energy, like summer.

About Author: Alisa Martin is a proficient author and writes articles on finance. She regularly contributes for the website

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