Save On Electricity Bills – Here’s How

The crucial first step in lower electric bills is finding out how much electricity is being used by various appliances and lights in your house. Just knowing this, most people change a few habits and end up reducing electricity bills by 5 to 10%. That can be another $100 in your pocket every year. Without even buying any energy-saving devices.

To reduce spending you first need to know where the money’s going. Until you track your spending, you really don’t know what are your biggest expenses and which are unimportant. When you do this there’s usually a few surprises. You’re likely to find you’re spending a lot on things that aren’t very important to you. So you prioritize, and realize some savings.

Saving energy is just like that. Tracking down all the electric loads in you home is a key part of any home energy audit (also called a home energy assessment). Once you have a list of electricity users, it’s easy to see which are the big items, and which surprise you. Often a few simple habits, like turning off lights and unplugging unused items, can result in big savings. That’s how most people save on electricity bills. A substantial purchase, like buying a new energy-efficient refrigerator, is at the other end of the spectrum. Knowing your actual energy use is a great help in going further. It gives you the knowledge and confidence that any purchases are worth their cost in energy savings. In most situations, you can easily cut your electricity bill by 10%, and sometimes as much as 30%.

You Need a Kilowatt Hour Meter

Basic energy audits usually just total typical wattage for each appliance times an estimated number of hours they’re used per day. Light bulbs and most appliances will list their wattage, but it can be hard to estimate how many hours per day they run. This can be especially important (and difficult) for major appliances like refrigerators, washers & dryers, microwaves, etc. Some appliances actual use is significantly less than the nameplate data, and some draw “phantom power” even when turned off.

The utility company has its kilowatt meter installed outside your house. So at no cost you can learn to read wattage and run back and forth turning appliances on and off to determine their wattage. Another type of home watt meter ties into the circuit-breaker of fuse box, and transmits to a portable display. But these usually require electrician to wire into breaker box. They’re more convenient (and fun), but can be rather expensive. But for both types the meter measures monitor the whole house not individual loads. Turning an appliance on and off identifies its wattage, but you still don’t know how many hours per day an appliance like a refrigerator is actually running.

But there’s an inexpensive tool to measure this.

What’s a Kill A Watt?

The aptly named Kill A Watt P3 is a great tool for cutting your electricity costs. The Kill-A-Watt model P4400 is a very easy to use electricity monitor that tells you exactly how much each appliance or lamp in your home is using. There’s no need for an electrician. You just plug it into the wall, then plug any 110/120 volt item you want to monitor into it.

P3 International makes several models. The P4400 has long been the “standard” home watt meter. Although the list price is around $50, you can find them for $30 or less, so it usually pays for itself several times over in just the first year of savings. Although inexpensive it’s quite accurate, specified as 0.2%. All the Kill A Watt models actually make several measurements. You can display voltage, amperage, wattage, power factor, and line frequency. And of course it’s a power usage monitor. As soon as you plug it in it automatically starts totaling watt-hours used and how many hours its been measuring. The P4460 is a bit more expensive but retains it’s power usage data if power is turned off and will convert its readings into daily, weekly, monthly, and annual costs.

Ready? Go!

Knowing your home’s “energy budget” is the key to lower electricity bills. All the Kill A Watt P3 models provide accurate measurements of the electrical power actually drawn by plug-in appliances. This is particularly important for appliances such as refrigerators (one of the largest home electricity users) where you don’t know exactly how many hours they run each day. A new energy-efficient appliance will save on electricity bills, and a home watt meter will tell you if the savings are worth the cost. Many home devices such as TVs use “phantom power” even when you think they’re off. The only way to find this for sure is to measure it. If it’s significant, then you’ve found an easy opportunity for reducing electricity bills.

I’ve always been a geek doing “science projects.” The Kill A Watt P3 power meter is one of my favorite toys. Er, tools.

Mobility Electric Scooters – Freedom for the Elderly

There would not be much excitement in life if you had to spend it sitting in a chair or lying in a bed every day. Relying on somebody else to perform simple tasks for you, such as getting a drink of water, can make you feel like you are nothing but a burden to others. If you or someone you love needs a boost maybe electric scooters are what you should be investigating.

It wasn’t too long ago that the elderly and handicapped relied exclusively on others for their care and entertainment. But with the recent advancements in scooters many seniors or disabled people can now grab hold of some of their freedom again. Cheap electric scooters can allow the formerly bed-ridden or chair-ridden to travel as if they actually had legs that worked again. No more depression due to lack of independence. Returned is the ability not only to get yourself a glass of water, but to go out and get the morning newspaper or even take the dog for a walk. Getting out in the fresh air is something that may not have been possible for many without the assistance of electric scooters. Some people think of scooters as belonging in a sports category, but it’s all recreation and assistance.

In my neighborhood there is an elderly gentleman that cruises down the sidewalk with his control lever in one hand and his dog leash in the other. Without his electric scooter there would be no fresh air for him. There would be no walking the dog or talking with the friendly neighbors he runs into (figuratively, not literally). He’s free once again to roam the streets with his best friend Fido. What a great feeling that must be, to get out of the house for a short time each day when it used to be impossible. There’s practically nowhere a person can’t go these days with the help of these magnificent little vehicles.

There are a wide variety of scooters available to the public these days. Besides electric types there are gas, utility and foldable models. They all have their advantages under certain conditions. Kids love the compact and easy-to-handle foldable or Razor scooters. They are very cheap, often under $100, and make getting places a snap. They are also very inexpensive to operate once you own one. Kids use their scooters as motorcycles, but a scooter is so much more than a miniature motorcycle, they are a means of obtaining freedom for the elderly.

Gas powered scooters are more powerful, allowing the driver to travel further distances away from home. There are even larger touring models manufactured for the sole purpose of long distance travel. The touring types are bigger and heavier, and they consume a little more fuel, but they allow for long distance travel unlike the foldable, utility or mobility models.

Utility scooters are becoming very popular with different types of institutions such as school campuses, professional sports stadiums, golfers and big businesses. Have you ever seen a person driving a cart in a school parking lot, going from car to car looking for parking violations? In all probability they were driving utility scooters. And golf carts are just a modified version of this type. It’s hard going to any large institution these days without running into a utility scooter of some type or another.

The electric models are very versatile and are used to perform many functions. They are used in the foldable and utility types most often. But perhaps where they perform their greatest task is in assisting the elderly or disabled. It wasn’t too long ago that these mobility vehicles had a very limited distance, but with the advancement of batteries and their capacities they can now be used for an entire day before needing to be recharged. They can be driven all day and then plugged in at night for recharging while everyone is fast asleep. Then in the morning they are ready to perform their duties again for another day. What a wonderful gift to those that no longer have the ability to get around on their own.

Mobility electric scooters are different than the gas powered models. For one thing they will have at least 3, but usually 4 wheels. The reason for the extra wheels is stability. It’s not too hard to lose your balance on a 2-wheel variety, but it’s almost impossible with 4-wheels. With the extra stability that 4 wheels adds it makes the mobility electric scooters very safe for travel in and around the home. These handicapped models are bigger and heavier than other types which allows for better control and more storage. Electric scooters are here to stay. If chosen carefully it can become one of the best purchases ever made for the handicapped, disabled or elderly.

Commercial, Industrial and Domestic Electrical Services

All types of businesses will require the skills and expertise of an electrician at some point in time. An electrician is able to maintain, repair and install a range of electrical components and systems. They are used in any environment which has an electricity supply, including in schools and universities, offices, supermarkets, factories and of course in the home. This article takes a look at some of the most common types of commercial, industrial and domestic electrical services that are available, and it explains how you can find a great electrician in your area.

Commercial Electrical Services

Electricians are able to work on a number of commercial projects no matter how big or small. Popular commercial services include working on new construction projects, completing office refurbishments and fit-outs, and designing and installing retail fit-outs. They can fix any existing problems that you may be experiencing with your electrical systems. A good electrician will also be able to plan, design and install a completely new electrical system for any commercial property.

An electrician will also be able to carry out maintenance in a commercial building by checking the entire electrical system. Many countries have health and safety laws which require electrical systems to be regularly checked by an electrician to ensure that they are safe and functioning correctly. Regular maintenance will ensure the safety of your residents or workers, and it will save you money in the long run by spotting any electrical problems early on.

Industrial Electrical Services

Electricians can undertake a range of projects within the industrial sectors. This can include electrical work in factories, in warehouses and in new construction projects. They can also design and install control systems and high voltage infrastructures. All work will be carried out according to local health and safety laws.

Domestic Electrical Services

There are a huge range of domestic services that are available. Popular domestic electrical services can include repairing, upgrading or installing additions to lighting and power systems within the home, switchboard upgrades, renovations and lighting design.

An electrician will also be able to come into your home and test the safety of all of your electrical appliances and your entire electrical system. By having a thorough check of all your electrical systems you can reduce the risk of electrical fires.

How to Find an Electrician

The best way to find an electrical company is to search for them online. Simply open up your favourite search engine and type in ‘electrical services’ along with the town or city that you live in. Most electricians will have a website which will list more detailed information on the services that they offer along with their contact details. Always check the electrician is established and has experience in working on projects similar to your own. Even if you don’t currently require the assistance of an electrician it is worth writing down the number of an electrician incase you need to get hold of one in an emergency.