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Beat The Increase!

Beat The Increase!

Tips To Help You Reduce Your Electrical Usage And Save Money

By Kevin Fox

The City of Kahoka, like all communities, is struggling to keep the cost down for its residents. Having a lower cost of living is part of what makes a community an attractive place to live. However, at a recent Special Meeting of the Kahoka Board of Aldermen, the board heard a rate increase proposal from John Williams, Kahoka’s Electrical Generation Supervisor.

What was discussed was an approximately 12% rate increase. For the average resident that would translate to around a $12.00 increase per month.

This past week, Williams spoke about the ways the average homeowner could cut their electrical usage, and in turn better absorb the rate increase if it does occur.
“Certainly, no one wants to pay more for their electricity and I include myself. But, there are ways to cut costs without putting an undue burden upon yourself, and these are things which I see around my own home. The biggest electrical item in most homes right now is that air conditioner, and the quickest way to cut its expense is to raise the thermostat in the house. Most people have it set cooler than it really needs to be such as 70 degrees. Raise it to 78 or 80 degrees and the air conditioner will not have to work nearly as hard. Speaking of air conditioners, if your home is wired for it, switch to a 220-window air condition over a 110-window unit. Also if you need to do laundry and wash and dry clothes, do it at night when the outside air temperature is 15 to 20 degrees cooler than it is during the day and your air conditioner is already working hard at keeping your home cool.

There is also a savings when you switch to the new CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lighting) bulb. I know that the replacement cost is greater, but there really is a savings in the long run. And look at the number of bulbs you have on during the day that you leave on such as the four to six bulbs that go around the top of our vanities. When going to another room, turn off that light behind you. Why use electricity to light a room that no one’s using? Another thing which I and probably everyone else is guilty of is leaving their computer towers on 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they do use electricity even if you’re not on the computer.

But what it really takes to cut costs is just common sense things, which we can all do if we just take the time to look at places where we can cut costs. When winter comes, set your thermostats a little cooler and that will make a difference as well. The same is true if we have our hot water heaters set so high that we cannot take a shower without using a lot of cold water as well. Just lowering the temperature a little can save in the long run and there are places in all our homes were we could cut expenses.

Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby
·Many of us use the remote to switch off the tv or stereo, leaving the appliance running on standby. This means the appliance is still using up electricity and wastes a considerable amount of energy. By switching off at the main power button, or even the socket, you can save both energy and money.
·Items left on standby use up to 85% of the energy they would use if fully switched on. An extra million tons of carbon will be released into the atmosphere through this power wastage.
Solar garden lights
·There are a number of different solar-powered lights available for use in the garden. These lights are highly energy efficient and convenient as they do not require external extension leads or special electrical fittings. These lights contain solar cells which convert the sun’s energy into electricity. They charge up during the daylight and light up as it gets dark. They are not usually hugely bright but are less intrusive than electric lights and look nice in the flowerbeds.

Economical washing and drying
·Washing machines and tumble dryers are big electricity users. You may not be able to cut down how often you use them, but small changes in how you use them will save energy and money.

·When using the washing machine, between 85-90% of energy is used just to heat up the
water. Therefore, dropping the water temperature of your wash could significantly decrease your electricity consumption. Over a year, by using a warm wash rather than a hot wash, you could cut consumption nearly in half.

·Only use the washing machine when you have a full load. If you have to do a smaller wash, use the half load function. The spin on the machine may mean that more energy is used, but by spinning your clothes you are removing more excess water, therefore reducing your drying time in a tumble dryer.

·You can cut down on using tumble dryers by line drying clothes outside whenever possible or using an indoor clothes dryer when the weather is bad
Use a microwave oven or toaster oven when cooking small items. They use less energy and they don’t require preheating. The approximate yearly cost to use ovens of various types is:
Electric Oven: $27
Toaster Oven: $14
Gas Oven: $13
Convection Toaster Oven: $10
Microwave Oven: $5