Christmas is on the way. It’s a time for festivities and families. It’s a time for socialising be that at an office party or at home with friends and family. As the year draws to an end, the vast majority will be wrapping presents and following the grand tradition of hanging up stockings ready for Santa’s midnight visit when he’ll shower you with gifts.
But there’s another more disturbing trend that threatening to become a tradition – the annual energy price rises. I don’t want to be too cynical but you pretty much predict when prices will go up: during periods of war, when the cold weather hits, just before the energy bosses are due to paid a bonus and, finally, when anyone on the board of directors farts.
Ok, I’m being a little bit cynical but I think we can agree on one thing – punishing the public with eye watering price hikes doesn’t endear the energy bosses to anyone. But in order to produce a more balanced argument I did a little digging and found that it’s not just the energy suppliers that need to spend a little time in the naughty corner. You see, you and I are just as guilty of helping to push prices up.
Yes, we need to keep ourselves warm. We like to have gadgets to entertain us and it’s really not fun trying to read a book by gas lamp. But there are ways we can cut the excess.
Fortunately for all you readers who are tired of the dull articles that show you how to cut gas costs using by hooking a cycling machine into your mains supply I’m not going to even go there. Instead, I’ve searched the web and found a selection of home appliances and gadgets that really will save you money off your home energy bills even if all they do is make you a little more mindful of the cost. Here goes…
Ladybird Wind Up LED Torch
We love to educate our children. Hmm, let me rephrase that: we are all experts at attempting to impart our children with the years of accumulated knowledge we carry in our heads. But small children are different so why not get them started on the eco/energy saving path with a Ladybird wind up torch? No batteries required and you score brownie points by giving a cute gadget whose eyes act as lamps.
ECO 2 Kettle
One of the most power hungry things we all have in our homes is a kettle. Assuming you have a fairly modern model, it will cost you about 33p to boil 1.5 litres. A drop in the ocean until you consider the average household uses a kettle three to four times a day. Multiply that by thirty days and the costs soon add up. The ECO Kettle has been designed to cut costs by letting you choose exactly how much water you boil. But here’s where it gets clever: the dual chamber helps retain heat which means you don’t have to draw as much power next time you need hot water. Tests have shown that the ECO 2 actually uses about 31% less electricity than a normal kettle.
Wattson Solar Plus
Ever wondered if you’re getting the full value of the thousands of pounds it cost to cover you roof in solar panels? Ok, you might get a thrill out of telling your neighbours how much money you saved by not using electricity companies to keep you toasty in the winter but I do. So, for me at least, the Watson Solar Plus is the perfect way to add some oomph to my bragging rights.
The monitor is designed to show you how much energy the panels generate and the amount you use. Nothing special really unless you want to see how much excess you’re feeding back in to the National Grid – an ideal way to make sure you’re getting maximum feed in payments from the energy suppliers. xxx Keep the display in your living room, or kitchen, or wherever you hang out the most, and start getting the most out of your solar panel system. Please note, you may need an electrician to install, see below for more information.
Taking a shower is better for the environment and your pocket than having a bath (which uses 80 to 100 litres of water). But a modern power shower can use 20 litres of water a minute, easily putting out 100 litres in 5 minutes. Different showers mean water use varies from house to house, so whilst timing your shower is a step in the right direction, that won’t tell you how much water you’re using. This shower meter will
Energy Efficient Shower Head
Singing in the shower is a scientifically proven method for getting the feel good hormones going first thing in the morning. Simply put, your out of key howling acts as a kind of magic pill that wipes away the last of the sandman’s spell and sets you for hard day’s work. Sadly, your attempts at becoming the next big thing on the X Factor will not cut the cost of showering. But an energy efficient shower head will.
To be honest, I’d never heard of this contraption until I started doing a little research. Apparently, you can save up to £25 a year by fitting on of these heads on the shower. The device saves money by reducing the amount of water wasted when you’re showering. now, if you rad between the lines then, yes, you’ve already worked out it does this by reducing the amount of water flowing through the system. I don’t have one so if any of you have had the pleasure and can assure me that you spend the rest of the day scratching off dried up soap that wasn’t washed away then feel free to tell me in the comments.
Fact: the United States military has spent billions on building weapons that destroy enemy equipment by projecting amplified rays of light against them until they melt aka lasers. So, it stands to reason that a device designed to use high intensity heat waves to cook food will be expensive, right? Wrong.
Halogen ovens are the saviour of busy mums and dads across the country. You can cook a whole chicken in as little as thirty minutes whilst using 75% less electricity than if you cooked in a conventional oven. Manufacturers have suggested that you can save up to £100 a year on your electricity bills by making the switch.
We’re going to take a little detour and get a little low-tech in our search for ways to cut the cost of heating your home. The lowly draught excluder has been a key weapon in the money savers arsenal since they were invented way back in the days when we still lived in caves. Ok, I made that last part up but draught excluders have been with us for a long time. I remember seeing a picture of my great grandparents living room in the early 1900’s complete with a wooly snake laid against the door to keep the cold, winter wind at bay.
On a more serious note, energy conservation experts reckon that, by making your home as draught proof as possible could save you up to £55 a year on you heating bills.
So you’ve decided to bite the bullet and join the legions who’ve bought into the low energy/LED bulb thing. Scratch that – you didn’t have a choice. Once the EU banned the standard light bulb you had little choice but to change (unless you managed to stockpile your garage with bulbs that don’t need half an hour to start working). But did you really think the innovation (and waiting for enough to light to read by) would really stop there? Of course not, that’s why we have the BioBulb.
For “£10” a bulb, you get a bulb that lasts for up to 10,000 hours but uses 75% less energy than its standard brethren. As an added bonus, the BioBulb emits up to three times as many lumens as a normal energy saving bulb. The manufacturers have proudly stated fitting a BioBulb in your house is like bringing the sunshine indoors – something we don’t advise if, like me, your genes don’t permit you to tan.
Fact: Radiators are a great way of making your home feel warm and welcoming on the long, cold winter nights. Another fact: most of them are only slightly more efficient government policies for banishing unemployment to the history books. But the Radiator Booster is the answer to you prayers in a world filled with money guzzling heating systems.
This simple to use device sits on top of your central heating radiators and sucks up the heat that is normally lost in the walls. The warm air is then circulated around the room. The manufacturers claim it’s so efficient that you can turn your thermostat down by as much as three degrees. If you’re thinking, “so what?” let me put that another way – that’s a saving of about £140 a year.
Ok, I know that some of the items above might not be on your list of top ten must- have Christmas gifts but I’m sure there’s something there for just about everyone.
I’d just like to add that I’m always open to suggestion so, if you’re a true eco-warrior and you’ve invented or found an inexpensive way of converting pig poo into a safe way of heating our homes feel free to email me and I’ll add it to the list.
In fact, if any of you have any cool ideas then message me on twitter and, if your find is revolutionary enough to blow the pants off the nPower boss then I’ll add it to the list.