Saving Energy for Home-Based Folks
Working from home brings a lot benefits. It saves you from commute and dressing up everyday, it gives you tine for that extra minutes of sleep and it lets you work from your most convenient hours. But working from home it may also increase your energy bills – unless you carefully choose your office equipment and do some energy saving measures.
Buy energy efficient office equipment – computers, fax machines, scanners, printers, monitors and multifunction devices (scanner, copier, fax). Some ENERGY STAR office equipment can save as much as 90% of the standard energy consumption.
Most ENERGY STAR office equipments consume 50% less energy than standard ones. Aside from energy saving advantage, some office equipments reduce electromagnetic field emissions (for monitors), air-conditioning loads, and noise from transformers and fans.
An ENERGY STAR computer is 70% more energy efficient than computers without this designation. When left inactive, this computer shifts into a low-power mode, which only uses 15 watts of power or less.
Some office equipments that do not have to be turned on all the time should be shut down and unplugged because they still draw power when turned off.
Unplugging unused electronic devices is not limited to office equipments; unplug your television, VCRs, stereos, microwave oven, electric stove and other appliances when not in use.
Do not leave other appliances turned on while working. Avoid leaving unused appliances on “standby” mode.
Turn off the computer monitor if you are going for a break. Manually turn off your computer if you are leaving for an hour or more. Avoid using screensavers because they consume the same amount of energy as with normal computer use. Activating the computer’s sleep mode is also a better way to save energy.
Do not believe that office equipment should always be turned on because it will last longer. Practicing this belief may only result to higher electric bill.
On your next upgrade, consider buying a laptop as a computer replacement as they consume less energy than desktop computers.
When the battery chargers are not in use or if the batteries are fully charged, unplug the charger immediately.
Set up your home office where you can utilize the natural light to minimize the use of lamps and room lights.
If you are working at night, prefer task lights that consume less energy instead of using room lights. Close the drapes and shades of the windows to keep cold air out and save energy on heating the room.
If you are alone in the house, make sure that you lock all the doors and windows before working.
Set the thermostat of your cooling or heating system to a comfortable level. A digital thermostat can provide better electricity savings. Work where you can reduce the use of heating or cooling system and lights. Prefer a small room as an office rather than the entire living area. Always maintain your air conditioning system clean.
Make energy saving improvements to your home. Home energy saving improvements like insulation, repairing of crack and holes (on the windows, walls, ceiling, floors, attic and basement) and switching to compact fluorescent bulbs can bring down your electric bills.
Not only that, if you are planning to sell your home, making your home energy efficient is a good strategy.
There are many people who stayed away from solar panels before because they were quite expensive. However with time the price of this amazing technology has reduced drastically and therefore they have turned out to be quite a popular energy saving option that any homeowner would love to have. Now, if you want to have solar energy system in your house then you should even take care of a few things that will allow the system to serve you better for a longer period of time.
On average manufacturers provide warranty for a period of 25 years, but still there are many solar energy systems out there that have exceed this term. There are two important factors that allow the system to work efficiently for a longer period of time and they are regular maintenance and suitable climate. Hence, let’s explore more about the regular maintenance needs and repairs that are essential to increase the life of your solar panel.
Panels should always be clean and free from dust, dirt and debris, and they should always be open to sun so that sunrays can come in direct contact with the panels. As known to all these panels give their best when they are completely exposed to sunlight. This is the reason why routine checkups should be done to ensure that there are no obstructions like tree hangings or branches affecting the path between sunlight and the solar panel.
Similarly dust particle that circulate during strong winds tend to accumulate on the panel, and this leads to dust build up. When this build-up grows then rays from the sun are unable to reach the panel. This lowers their efficiency and decreases the lifespan too. Hence, regular maintenance like cleaning and washing the panels should be done which would enhance the effectiveness and contribute to better longevity.
Panels usually comprise of few components. With fewer parts only a few things can go wrong with them. However, almost every man-made product is destructible and during their period of working they might need repair because of
• Heat fading
• Burned out system because of inappropriate use of battery terminals
• Faulty wiring and
• Cracked glass
One thing that should be noted here that wiring problems are nothing but an outcome of wires that are too small, loosely connected, corroded or oxidized. Solar batteries can burn out just like your car batteries. Therefore, during extreme climates excess heat can cause overheating and this can damage the components of the solar panels drastically.
No matter what the problem is, if you find that something has gone wrong with your solar energy system then going for an immediate repair service is always advisable.
by RICHARD CONARD