Ways to help your family save energy and water this summer
The hot summer months are rapidly approaching and the weather is already heating up. Naturally you and your family will want to ensure you keep cool, calm and collected when those blistering rays come out.
Ways to reduce your electricity prices
Electricity is used in many ways around the house, and there are some easy tips to minimise the amount of energy your household is burning through this summer.
As tempting as it may be to just turn on the air conditioning, there are more energy efficient methods of bringing the inside temperature down.
A ceiling fan may be a good investment as it's the most cost-effective way of cooling you down while you're inside.
Ceiling fans create a breeze and while this 'wind-chill' factor will not cool your property down, it will help bring your body temperature down.
If you are looking at installing a fan, make sure you check its energy efficiency, as some motors have a lower power consumption than others.
An efficient fan with a power of 75 watts can provide around 140 cubic metres of airflow per minute.
Ceiling fans can be used in addition to an air conditioning unit if the breeze isn't enough on a particularly hot day. Use your air conditioner to cool down the air and your fan to circulate it. This is much more cost effective than using the air conditioner on its own.
However, if you can't handle the heat, there are some other ways to make your air conditioner or heat pump more effective so it doesn't cost you the Earth this summer.
Make sure your unit is suitable for the space you want to cool. There is no point in having a huge unit when you only need to reduce the temperature in your lounge.
A bigger unit may cost you more considering today's high electricity prices, so make sure you talk to your supplier about your needs. Many units are fitted with energy star ratings, making it easier to select the best choice for your house.
These units also need to be installed correctly and maintained regularly to ensure they don't run up your energy bill.
Lighting and appliances
Motion sensors can be a great investment to ensure your outdoor lighting does not run all night, sucking up power from the grid.
Outdoor lights are a way of boosting your home's security and motion sensors mean they only turn on when movement is detected.
Alternatively, there are some solar powered lights available which do not require any energy other than the sun.
If you haven't already switched all the bulbs in your house to greener alternatives, now could be the time - every little saving helps.
Switching off the lights when you leave a room is another quick trick to help you save. If you have children who are struggling to remember this, why not consider a rewards scheme?
If you notice them switching off lights or appliances at the wall, you could give them a gold star. Perhaps if they accumulate ten gold stars they could get a prize.
This idea can be modified for adults, so if your housemates are notorious for walking out of the room with the telly blasting, why not make them contribute to a penalty jar? The money saved could be spent on paying off the power bill.
This might encourage people to switch off lights and appliances when they are no longer using them.
You might be surprised when you do an electricity comparison by the amount you can save by switching electricity suppliers.
Summer and water go hand in hand, but you may find the extra spending to keep cool is draining your finances.
Firstly, make sure there are no leaks in your property. Check all taps, pipes, showerheads and toilets and make sure no extra water is escaping. One leaky tap can waste around 2,000 litres a month.
Take shorter showers and turn the tap off when brushing your teeth or shaving. Leaving the tap on when you brush your teeth for the recommended three minutes wastes 30 litres of water.
To lower your bill, consider putting full plastic bottle in your toilet cistern - it may sound like a wacky idea, but it reduces the amount of water used per flush.
If you are running the dishwasher or washing machine, make sure you do so with a full load, as it uses less power and water than doing two smaller loads.
Be water wise in the garden. Avoid using sprinklers where you can as these use a lot of water. Instead, consider using a watering can to water your garden and do it in the early morning or late evening, as this will minimise the amount of water evaporated.