Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Save Energy With One Simple Step #4

It’s been a busy old week round these parts, but I couldn’t miss out this week’s installment of Save Energy With One Simple Step as it’s a particularly pertinent one for me.  Back at the beginning of this blog, I wrote about my un-green habits, and one of them being charging my mobile phone overnight.  I’m shamefully still quite bad at doing this so I thought I’d write this as a reminder to myself and anyone else who has fallen into the same habit.

So, without further ado:

charging phone night bad

Unplug your phone (at night).  And get into the habit of charging your phone by day.

It only takes less than 2 hours to charge my phone, but leaving it plugged in charging overnight for 8 hours is using 6 hours of extra power that doesn’t need to be used, wasting energy and money.   And if that wasn’t bad enough, as a consequence of doing this, I’ve damaged my phone’s battery, so even though it’s only a year and a half old, it doesn’t hold a charge for very long, which means soon I will have to replace the battery or the phone.  So I’ve considered this a very good lesson learnt.

I’ve recently started taking a USB cable with me to work and charging my phone by day by plugging it into my computer, and when I’m at home, charging it via the USB cable when I’m working on my laptop.    I haven’t been able to find any reliable form of research or analysis on charging your phone via a computer versus plugged into the wall, so I don’t know how much extra energy, if any, a computer uses when it charges a phone.  Hwwever, I’m guessing it’s a lot less than leaving a phone charging overnight. And I know that pretty much as soon as it’s finished charging I tend to remove it from the charger.

If it’s low on charge first thing in the morning, I’ll charge it up as soon as I get up so it’s charged by the time I leave the house.  I’m also going to remove the plug and cable from my bedroom so it’s not so much of a temptation just to charge it up before going to sleep.  I guess in some ways going green is all about making little changes to your life so that they eventually become habits and you don’t notice doing them anymore, which is what I hope to acheive with charging my phone.

I recently become aware of the fact that you can buy mobile phone timer devices that you can plug into the wall, set the timer, and then it will stop drawing power after the set duration.  I don’t know how you feel about these, but I personally feel a bit uneasy buying a gadget that’s taken resources and energy to produce when I can just get into the habit of charging my phone during the day.  What do you think about them?

Look out for another tip next Thursday, and in case you missed it here are energy saving tips one, two, and three.


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Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Save Energy With One Simple Step #3

It’s Thursday, and that means I’m back with another of my simple tips to save energy!

This week it’s another easy but often overlooked tip:

why dust your fridge

Yup, get the duster out.

Now you may be wondering why dusting will save you energy.  I agree it sounds a little offbeat, but do bear with me, and direct your duster towards your fridge.

You see, dust tends to gather on the condenser coils at the back of your fridge (these things).   Because it’s difficult to get to the coils without pulling the fridge out from the wall most people don’t bother dusting there.  Yet when dust gathers on the condenser coils, it means your fridge has to work a lot harder.  A harder working fridge means more energy is being consumed by it to do it’s job, so this in turn results in bigger electricity bills for you.  And it can shorten the life of your fridge, so you may have to fork out for a new fridge much earlier than if you’d been a bit more vigilent with the feather duster.  You’re with me now, aren’t you?!

The good news is you don’t have to dust your fridge every day, let alone every week – a good dusting once every three months will suffice.  If you’ve got pets, particularly hairy ones like dogs or cats, then you might want to up the frequency and dust it once a month.  All you need to do is pull out your fridge from the wall, switch it off, and give it a good once over with the duster or a dust pan brush if you haven’t dusted there before.  Don’t use any water or chemicals, like furniture polish: good old fashioned elbow grease will suffice.  Alternatively you can use your hoover attachement to clean it whilst you’re hoovering your kitchen.  Remember to switch your fridge back on once you’re done (a mistake you only make once!).

If you’ve got an older fridge, and the coils are underneath the fridge, then I’m afraid this doesn’t make you exempt – dust still gathers there (they can get THIS dusty!) and it needs dusting just the same.  To access the coils first switch off your fridge, and then you’ll need to remove the grill located at the bottom of the front of your fridge to get your duster in there.  You may also find a small clean paint brush useful to get a bit further in to dust.

According to Friends of the Earth, apparently keeping your fridge’s coils clean can improve your fridge’s efficiency by up to a whopping 30%, which is a lot of energy and a lot of money in your pocket for a little dusting here and there, and hugely beneficial to the environment too.

Now, let’s get dusting!

I’ll be back again next Thursday with another easy energy saving tip, but in the mean time if you enjoyed this post then you might enjoy Tip #1 – Using a Lid; and Tip #2 – Turning Down the Heat.

And if you enjoyed all three tips, you might want to sign up to my mailing list, so you can future posts delivered straight to your email, for free, so you don’t miss any:

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