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saving energy tips header

portable electric heaters

Portable heaters come in many shapes and sizes, though the most common are;

  • oil-filled radiators
  • convector heaters
  • fan heaters
  • halogen heaters

They all consume roughly the same amount of electricity to operate however, halogen heaters omit almost instant heat and are directional. Fan heaters are also rather quick to heat up and cool down, with the added bonus of blowing the heat to where it is needed.

Stand-alone heaters with thermostatic controls will usually be less wasteful as they will automatically turn off when the desired temperature is reached. If it doesn't, you can purchase a separate plug-in thermostat to do the same job.

plug-in thermostats

Electric heaters without thermostatic controls is rather wasteful, it will continue to generate heat and use electricity even when the room is warm enough. You can solve this costly predicament with either a plug-in thermostat  or timer (which ever is the most appropriate for the environment) which will then automatically control the power to the heater. If you have more than one heater, you will need a thermostat plug for each unit.

digital thermometers

Digital thermometers can show you how warm or cold different parts of your home are. This basic tool will help you to identify different areas and rooms that need attention. For example identify the need for better insulation or a BTU adjustments for you radiators.

standby habits

So, if you're looking to save on your energy bills, here is one area that you can easily make a difference in, just by changing your habits.

While leaving any electronic device on standby for a long period of time is a waste of energy there are certain appliances around the home that are the worst offenders. We've listed them below so you know which ones to target.

The main culprits are stereos, followed by TVs and games consoles. Games consoles are particularly bad - they remain in idle mode when they're not in use, consuming almost the same power as when you are playing a game. Perhaps it's not surprising given the number of children who play games, hardly the most energy-conscious consumers!

With the exception of a set-top box, (which needs to have constant power to download information from digital transmissions and for the series link recordings), all other electronic equipment should be switched off at the socket when not in use. An easy way to do this is to have a TV and its peripheral equipment (except the set-top box) on the same multi-socket extension so it can all be switched off in one go.

If you use a desktop computer, one way to ensure you keep your energy usage to a minimum is to set up the 'sleep' mode in your preferences - setting a time delay of ten minutes of inactivity tends to work well for most people. Sleep mode uses just a few watts of energy, which is in sharp contrast to using a screen-saver, which consumes almost the same energy as having your computer monitor in full use.

Of course, when you have finished using your computer it is still a good idea to switch it off at the socket, as well as any peripheral equipment such as printers and scanners; if these are all set up on the same multi-socket it is simple to switch them all off in one go.

One other setting you need to set up is linked to your back-up system; if your computer is switched off the back-up will not run, but if you make sure you set up your preferences to "run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" then any back-up will take place immediately you turn on your computer.

Laptops are more energy efficient than desktop computers, but a mistake many people make is charging them unnecessarily, or leaving them constantly on charge. 

The same thing often happens with your mobile phone too. On average they take two hours to charge, but many people leave them on charge overnight, wasting electricity in the process.

As a general rule of thumb, if a gadget isn't in use, then the best policy is to switch it off at the wall. So, if you aren't watching the TV, switch it off completely, don't switch it to standby, and definitely don't just leave it on!

For more energy saving tips see our low energy products range More related information

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