How to reduce your bill?

First and foremost, a self energy audit must be done on our house. A simple audit to understand how much energy is consumed by various appliances such as lights, air conditioners, refrigerators, tube lights, computers, set top box and fans. This will tell us the consumption pattern which will help in finding possibilities of reducing energy consumption.
There are certain easy ways to reduce your electricity bill as well as to conserve energy:
1. Standby killers
Energy wastage starts unknowingly. We are oblivious to the fact that anything in standby mode leads to wastage of power. Not just that, standby losses can be broadened and said that electrical appliances like set-top boxes, TVs, and microwaves draw power when plugged to the socket even when they are switched off.  
When an appliance is switched off but is ‘plugged in’ the power is not cut off then and there. This is because the power is supplied 24/7to our houses and is consumed by the appliances when they are running, so, when the appliance is shut down (or switched off) but with the plug still in the socket, the power is drawn by the neutral wire of the appliance from the supply (24/7).If you unplug then the socket remains empty and the power is not transmitted to any object. For this reason the plugs are said to be ‘energy vampires’ as they suck the electricity all night.
Any device that has batteries like mobiles and laptops, communicating devices like set-top boxes that receive satellite signals, items which have LED display, etc draw standby power.
Note: A preliminary survey done by Prayas Energy group (Pune) in rural and urban areas had shown that India’s standby losses are as much as 2,700 million units (MU) per year and would increase to 5,500 MU by 2013. 
2. Efficient and great

Energy is neither created nor destroyed but it can go wasted. Energy efficiency is defined as "using less energy to provide the same service" . 
These days, you find stores selling energy efficient appliances with an energy star label. The labels show potential savings of that particular appliance. Further, energy star labeled products have lower standby loses. Eventually your energy consumption comes down.At present there are energy labels on Frost Free (No-Frost) refrigerator, Tubular Fluorescent Lamps, Room Air Conditioners, Direct Cool Refrigerator, Distribution Transformer, Induction Motors, Pump Sets, Ceiling Fans, LPG, Electric Geysers and Colour TV. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is planning to provide labeling for laptops.
An energy calculator for Star rated AC. It is an amazing tool to find the electricity consumption of star rated AC. Click here
3. Green means clean
Have you ever wondered what would be the efficiency of an inverter? It draws power continuously and is 40% efficient. This literally means that 60% of your energy is lost and you pay for those losses to power your house for 2 hours (the power cut time). But have you considered the thought of using solar inverters? Solar inverter gets its energy from sun (solar energy), a renewable source of power unlike the electrical inverters. 
Apart from solar energy, wind and biomass/ biogas are also regarded as renewable energy (RE). Just like energy efficient gadgets, there are RE gadgets that help in saving energy. Some of them are solar water heaters, solar cookers (saves LPG, and electricity- in case of electric cookers & induction stoves), solar lanterns, small wind turbine power systems, wind and solar hybrid power systems, etc. 
Seek renewable energy options. If you browse through the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency’s website, you find subsidies offered for them. This will lessen your capital cost and save energy.
4. Conserving to serve
Here you find tips on saving energy to reduce your bill:
Lighting System:
1. One of the best energy-saving devices is the light switch. Turn off lights when not required.
2. Many automatic devices can help in saving energy used in lighting. Consider employing infrared sensors, motion sensors, automatic timers, dimmers and solar cells wherever applicable, to switch on/off lighting circuits. 
3. As far as possible use task lighting, which focuses light where it's needed. A reading lamp, for example, lights only reading material rather than the whole room.
4. Dirty tube lights and bulbs reflect less light and can absorb 50 percent of the light; dust your tube lights and lamps regularly.
5. Fluorescent tube lights and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) convert electricity to visible light up to 5 times more efficiently than ordinary bulbs and thus save about 70% of electricity for the same lighting levels.
6. Ninety percent of the energy consumed by an ordinary bulb (incandescent lamp) is given off as heat rather than visible light.
7. Replace your electricity-guzzling ordinary bulbs (incandescent lamps) with more efficient types. CFLs use up to 75 percent less electricity than incandescent lamps.
8. A 15-watt compact fluorescent bulb produces the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
Room Air Conditioners
1. Use ceiling or table fan as the first line of defense against summer heat. Ceiling fans, for instance, cost about 30 paise an hour to operate - much less than air conditioners (Rs.10.00 per hour).
2. You can reduce air-conditioning energy use by as much as 40 percent by shading your home. Plant trees and shrubs to keep the day's hottest sun off your house.
3. One will use 3 to 5 percent less energy for each degree air conditioner is set above22°C (71.5°F), so set the thermostat of room air conditioner at 25°C (77°F) to provide the most comfort at the least cost.
4. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room.
5. A good air conditioner will cool and dehumidify a room in about 30 minutes, so use a timer and leave the unit off for some time.
6. Keep doors to air-conditioned rooms closed as often as possible.
7. Clean the air-conditioner filter every month. A dirty air filter reduces airflow and may damage the unit. Clean filters enable the unit to cool down quickly and use less energy.
8. If room air conditioner is older and needs repair, it's likely to be very inefficient. It may work out cheaper on life cycle costing to buy a new energy-efficient air conditioner.
1. Make sure that a refrigerator is kept away from all sources of heat, including direct sunlight, radiators and appliances such as the oven, and cooking range. 
2. Refrigerator motors and compressors generate heat, so allow enough space for continuous airflow around refrigerator. If the heat can't escape, the refrigerator's cooling system will work harder and use more energy.
3. A full refrigerator is a fine thing, but be sure to allow adequate air circulation inside. 
4. Think about what you need before opening refrigerator door. You'll reduce the amount of time the door remains open.
5. Allow hot and warm foods to cool and cover them well before putting them in refrigerator. Refrigerator will use less energy and condensation will reduce.
6. Make sure that refrigerator's rubber door seals are clean and tight. They should hold a slip of paper snugly. If paper slips out easily, replace the door seals.
7. When dust builds up on refrigerator's condenser coils, the motor works harder and uses more electricity. Clean the coils regularly to make sure that air can circulate freely.
8. For manual defrost refrigerator, accumulation of ice reduces the cooling power by acting as unwanted insulation. Defrost freezer compartment regularly for a manual defrost refrigerator.
Water Heater
1. To help reduce heat loss, always insulate hot water pipes, especially where they run through unheated areas. Never insulate plastic pipes.
2. By reducing the temperature setting of water heater from 60 degrees to 50 degrees C, one could save over 18 percent of the energy used at the higher setting.
Microwave, Ovens & Electric Kettles
1. Microwaves save energy by reducing cooking times. In fact, one can save up to 50 percent on your cooking energy costs by using a microwave oven instead of a regular oven, especially for small quantities of food. 
2. Remember, microwaves cook food from the outside edge toward the centre of the dish, so if you're cooking more than one item, place larger and thicker items on the outside.
3. It takes more energy to heat a dirty kettle. Regularly clean your electric kettle by combining boiling water and vinegar to remove mineral deposits.
4. Don't overfill the kettle for just one drink. Heat only the amount of water you need.
1. Turn off your home/office equipment when not in use. A computer that runs 24 hours a day, for instance, uses - more power than an energy-efficient refrigerator.
2. If your computer must be left on, turn off the monitor; this device alone uses more than half the system's energy.
3. Setting computers, monitors, and copiers to use sleep-mode when not in use helps cut energy costs by approximately 40%.
4. Battery chargers, such as those for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras, draw power whenever they are plugged in and are very inefficient. Pull the plug and save. 
5. Screen savers save computer screens, not energy. Start-ups and shutdowns do not use any extra energy, nor are they hard on your computer components. In fact, shutting computers down when you are finished using them actually reduces system wear - and saves energy.
Courtesy: BEE



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