Today temperature highs are at around 46 degrees Celsius in the UAE. This can really burn a hole in your pocket if you’re not careful about energy bills.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) is here to remind the public about its annual ‘Let’s Make This Summer Green’ campaign that aims to educate people with simple tips on how to reduce electricity and water use.
AC at 24 degrees Celsius
First of all, you have to make sure your air-conditioning units are well maintained by having a check-up from a reputable maintenance company. It is important to give your AC system the once-over to ensure air filters are clean, refrigerant levels are topped up and electrical connections are working correctly.
This is a real thing people! AC's accumulate dust over time that block your air vents.
Optimum money saving temperature: Keep your AC at 24 degree Celsius. That is the most cost effective option in the UAE.
Flick the switch
Don’t just switch off your appliances when you aren’t using them, actually switch off the power or unplug them to eliminate standby use. Connected devices, even if turned off, use 5-10 per cent of electricity consumption at home.
In addition, fit LED lights instead of traditional bulbs where possible as they use less energy and last longer than conventional bulbs. They also produce less heat.
Set the laundry rules
Around 90 per cent of a washing machine’s energy is used to actually heat the water, so washing your clothes at 30-40C will help keep your electricity bill in check.
The best time to do laundry? Do your laundry in the morning or evenings. The period from 12pm to 6pm, is the time slot when electricity is used the most in. This period is known as peak-load hours. Limiting the use of non-essential appliances during peak-load hours means electricity can be provided more efficiently and reliably according to DEWA.
Cut down on water waste
Toilets can account for almost 30 per cent of all indoor water use, so fit a dual flush button to save on wastage. Also, bear in mind that older toilets — those installed before 1994 — tend to use much more water per flush, so installing a newer model can save the typical household up to 21,700 gallons (82,135 litres) of water per year.
It can also help to install aerators on your water taps. This is a clever way to reduce water consumption by forcing air into the water flow, without disrupting water pressure.
Bath or a shower?
Take a quick shower rather than a bath and you’ll save an average of 20 gallons (76 litres) of water. In addition, fitting a water-efficient shower head will earn you even more green stars. As a quick test, if it takes less than 20 seconds to fill a one-gallon (around 3.78 litre) bucket from the shower head, then it could benefit from being replaced.
Be a creative cook
On very hot days, you can avoid overheating your home by preparing your meals on the stove instead of using the oven. Even better, add some more cold dishes to your culinary repertoire and cut down on cooking altogether. You can also aim to minimise other everyday activities that generate heat, such as using a dishwasher and using devices such as curling irons or hair dryers.
Close the curtains and seal your edges
Drawing the curtains in empty rooms to help reduce the heat radiation through your windows, will keep your home cooler and your AC working more efficiently.
Also, apply a sealant or weatherproofing device around all doors and windows to keep the heat out and the chilled air inside. It can help to shade the exterior of your house where possible to reduce heat radiation and cool the air before it reaches the walls and windows of your home.
Triangular sunshades are easy to find and install and are affordable, too.
Green-over your garden
Water your lawn before 8am or after 6pm in several short sessions rather than one long one as this way the moisture is more easily absorbed. Consider swapping your turf lawn for artificial grass, which is an effective way to cut down on water consumption and avoid the risk of a browning lawn during the summer.
Protect the pool
Cover your swimming pool to reduce water evaporation. An average-sized pool left uncovered can lose as much as 1,000 gallons (3,785 litres) of water per month.
Harness solar power
It may be a long way off, but the Dubai government is aiming to have solar panels installed on the roofs of all buildings by 2030. If you’re a villa owner, you can submit an application to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to install photovoltaic panels to generate solar power for your personal consumption, which in turn will reduce your energy bills. Each application takes around four weeks for approval.
Source: Hitches & Glitches
Protect your home before a holiday
Many of us are going to be away for Easter and it’s important that we check our homes well before leaving. Going by Murphy’s law, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you’re on holiday. Coming home to learn something has gone seriously wrong at home can be terribly annoying. So before you start your holiday, plan ahead with some easy tips to protect your home while you’re away.
* To prevent air conditioning breakdowns and that musty smell, keep one air conditioning unit switched on at a consistent temperature of 24C, leaving all internal doors open to let the air circulate. If you are concerned about keeping the bills down, then make sure your unit is at a temperature of between 23-25C. Ideally, ask your home maintenance provider to perform preventative maintenance on all air conditioners and water outlets to prevent breakdowns and leaks.
* Get the kitchen under control. Make sure you leave no dirty dishes, take out all the trash and empty the fridge as even the smallest of crumbs can attract insects and vermin. Ensure you do a deep clean before you leave.
* Unplug all non-essential appliances. Electronics that are plugged in can use a lot of power even when turned off. A single phone charger will use 1 watt while plugged into the wall, even without a phone plugged into it. The same charger uses 4.5 watts of electricity with a phone plugged into it that is already fully charged, and 8 watts while charging a mobile phone.
* Ensure your gas or electric ovens, water heater and lights are all switched off.
* Bring in all outdoor furniture (if any) and stop newspaper deliveries — a pile of newspapers on your doorstep is a clear easy sign of an empty home. Lock your home. Make sure all windows, doors and even the little bathroom windows you think no one could possibly enter through are secured well. Most importantly, invest in a security alarm and cameras connected to your mobile device if you don’t already have one.