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MANILA - It's within the power of consumers to control their their electricity bills, according to the Department of Energy.
Helen B. Arias, DOE-Consumer Protection and Welfare Office chief, said households have the ability to reduce their electricity costs through a conscious effort to subscribe to energy-efficient practices and technologies.
"Housekeeping measures, which do not need any investment usually cut your bills by 10 percent. When you make investments in energy efficiency such as switching to more efficient lighting and appliances then you can reduce your bill by as much as 20 to 30 percent," she said.
Take for instance refrigerators, which usually operate 24 hours a day. These should be defrosted regularly as a mere 1/4-inch ice buildup of frost puts an extra load on the compressor, thus jacking up electricity consumption, Arias said.
"Test the gasket by closing the door on a peso bill. If the bill slips out when you pull on it, either the gasket needs a replacement or the door needs adjusting," she said.
Another common electricity drain at home is putting on stand-by mode the TV and other appliances.
"Unplug the cable from electrical power source because phantom loads such as the standby red light mark on TV sets and monitors waste energy," Arias said.
The country's electricity supply is projected to tighten in the coming years unless new power plants that can run 24/7 are put up.
However, most of these so-called "baseload" plants in the pipeline are coal-fired facilities, which have met stiff resistance from various non-government organizations and local government units because of pollution.
To help temper demand, especially from wasteful electricity use, the DOE has stepped up its campaign to promote energy efficiency both in the household level and among industries. Here are more tips for every appliance category:
- If you leave the room for a long time, turn off your air conditioner. It uses less current to bring the temperature down again when you return than if you leave it running.
- Turn off unused lights and other appliances that give off heat. Lighting alone accounts for as much as half of the load of the air-conditioning unit. Use low wattage but efficient lamps.
- Use a small electric fan to spread cooled air around your room. This prevents the cooled air from “layering” or setting to the floor.
- Choose an air-conditioning unit with high Energy Efficiency Ratio. High EER has a more efficient motor than the one with lower EER and consumes less electricity.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps. Most of the energy consumed by IBs is converted to heat and 20 percent as light sources.
- Replace older type linear T12 fluorescent lamp (40 watts) with efficient T5 linear fluorescent lamp (28 watts). A T12-40 watts lamp gives off the same amount of lumens as that of T5-28 watts.
REFRIGERATORS AND FREEZERS
- Defrost refs and freezers regularly. More than ¼ inch ice build-up of frost puts up an extra load on the compressor motor.
- Check refrigerator if it is losing its cool because of a leaking door gasket. Test the door gasket by closing the door on a peso bill. If the bill slips out when you pull it, either the gasket needs to be replaced or the door needs adjusting.
- Frequent opening and closing of refs contributes to frost or ice build-up and causes compressor motor to work overtime. As much as possible, keep the door closed.
- Don’t set abruptly the thermostat to “Colder” setting in the belief that it will freeze faster. Gradual setting from low set point is always better when starting the refrigerator.
- Choose the right size or capacity of refrigerator suitable to your family needs. Large capacity ref has bigger motor compressor that requires more power to run.
- Choose a ref with high Energy Efficiency Factor. High EEF has more efficient motor than the one with lower EEF and consumes less electricity.
- Do not boil water in an open pan/pot. Covered pot/pan will boil sooner over less heat. Once it is boiling keep it with a low flame as possible.
- Always clean range top burners and reflectors. It helps to produce more heat, consuming less energy.
- Switch the electric stove to low when the food begins to boil.
- Turn off electric stove shortly before cooking time is up. The heating element will stay hot enough to finish the job without using more electricity.
- Electric induction stove is relatively more energy efficient than the electric plated (with heating cathode element) stove. Heat is built-up and transferred directly from the frequency wave generated through an induction process in the electrical system of the unit to the metallic pot or pan in a very short period of time.
- Never put small pans on large heating elements (electric stove) or big burners (gas stove). Flame or heat that exceeds the diameter of the pan is lost in the air.
- Have all ingredients ready when cooking to avoid frequent switching on and off the electric stove.
- Thaw frozen food thoroughly before cooking.
- Avoid washing partial loads. Wait until you meet machine capacity.
- Pre-soak dirty clothes probably the night before. Avoiding having to run the washing machine twice.
- Wash heavy and light weight laundry separately. Heavy laundry requires different setting.
- Electric clothes drier uses large amount of energy to dry clothes. Use the old-fashioned clothesline. Clothes get a fresh sunshine smell in fine weather.
- Iron clothes during off-peak hours (before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.). This helps lessen the demand for electricity during peak hours.
- Do all the ironing at one time, say once or twice a week.
- Dampen clothes moderately. Excessive moistened clothes take longer to iron.
- Turn off flat iron shortly before ironing the last piece. It will stay hot just enough to finish the job.
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