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save energy

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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Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Save Energy With One Simple Step #2

Last week I shared with you my first really easy and quick way to save energy, and hence money and the environment.  As I do love a good win-win, I’m back again today, as promised, with my second tip.

Without further ado:

tap

Yup, turn down the heat.  Specifically on your boiler’s hot water thermostat.  I know that boilers aren’t a particularly ‘sexy’ or hip topic but do bear with me.  Although they’re not hip, they’re not hippie (I’m a woman of my word after all!), and I promise you’ll learn something new and save a fair bit.

You see, the average boiler hot water thermostat in the UK is set to 65ºC, which is a tremendous waste of energy and money. Not only are you having to cool the water that you’ve spent money heating with cold water to be able to use it, but completely inefficient – heat loss from your boiler/hot water cylinder is also increased.

I’d recommend checking your boiler, or even just having a think about how hot your hot water taps are.  Do you find you have to add cold water when you’re washing your hands to bring it to a comfortable level?  Then your boiler temperature is probably set too high.  At 60ºC water is still sufficiently hot for almost all domestic uses, so go and turn it down to 60ºC (but not before you’ve read the safety advice below).  It’ll take less than a minute to do and you’ll have a nice warm glow, not from your boiler working too hard, but from saving both the environment and money (around £30 a year if you go from 65ºC to 60ºC).

A very important word of warning first: you don’t want to go too low with the temperature because at low temperatures the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ Disease, a potentially fatal lung infection spread through the inhalation of water bourne particles, can thrive and multiply.   According to the NHS, the legionnella bacteria (which cause the disease) require a temperature of between 20-45ºC to grow, so at 60ºC you’re well out of danger.  If you decide to set your hot water thermostat below 60ºC (not recommended) then make sure you heat the stored water to 60ºC at least once every 24 hours to prevent legionnela bacteria growth.  But Moral Fibres does not approve of setting your thermostat below 60ºC so this shouldn’t apply to you, should it?!

So there you go: turning down your boiler a few degrees will not only save you a pretty penny, and the environment, but you’ll also be reducing the risk of scalding from your bathroom or kitchen taps – which makes this a triple win!

I’ll be here again next Thursday, sharing with you my next easy money and environment saving tip, so do look out for it.  Remember you can also sign up for free to get each post delivered straight to your email inbox.  Look for the sign-up box in my sidebar, to your right.  I promise you won’t be inundated with spam!

 

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