Sunday, September 25, 2011

6 Little known facts about electricity usage

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Electricity, that thing that makes our light bulb shine bright, makes our TV turn on to produce the sound and moving images to entertain and inform us, makes our computer get busy processing those one and zero and brings the the world to our home through the world wide web. But did you know that you maybe consuming (and paying) extra electricity without even realizing it? The following are examples.

LED on switches
Do you really need your light bulb switches to have those little lights to tell you that your light is turned off? Sure it looks pretty neat and maybe helpful when it is all dark but do you really need those lights to tell you where are the switches in your own house? As far as I am concerned that is one thing that I can do without. Your TVs, radio, personal computer, notebooks and practically every electronic devices also have these LEDs that are lit even turned off.
What you can do?
Unfortunately, the only way for the light switches is to change them. For the other electronic devices, unplug them from the electrical outlet especially when going away for an extended period of time.

Electric motors
Electric water pumps and appliances with motor, like refrigerator, provides your house with a load called inductive load. This is due to the motor because inductance is required to make the rotor moving.
What you can do?
Make use of power factor correction device. Some things that must be remembered though is that use it at the same point where these electric motors are being used. Another thing is that use the same power factor, but capacitive, and must also be turned off when the motor is turned off.

Step-down/Step-up Transformer
Sometimes we use them because we bought an electronic device with an input voltage different from what we have in our house's electric outlet. This is specially true when we buy TV and similar items from another country. Transformers also do consume electricity due to inductance and resistance. The bigger the transformer, the more power it consumes.
What you can do?
The only way to remedy input voltage designation issue is to use a transformer. Do not use a very large transformer though so as not to incur unnecessary power losses but do not also use a very small one compared to the load because it may overheat and may start a fire. Next time be more circumspect in buying electrical appliances.

Electrical Wiring Leak
Electrical leak is similar to a short circuit except that instead of a wire-to-wire short, there is a resistance between the wires. This happens when there is a faulty electrical wiring especially when it is wet on the same area of the fault.
What you can do?
When suddenly you have a very high electric bill from your normal electric consumption and your meter continues to move even when everything inside the house is unplugged and turned off, there is a very high chance that you have a leak. Contact your local electrician to help you figure where is the leak. Note that working with electricity is very dangerous so if you don't know what to do, do not attempt to do it yourself.

Use Efficient Lighting
The conventional incandescent light bulb works great with a dimmer switch but they only convert about 10% of the power they consume and as such is not the most efficient light source. Because of this, in order to light up a room, a higher wattage rating bulb is needed.
What you can do?
There are other types of lighting like the fluorescent, LED and halogen lamps. Among these and the incandescent lamp, it is the incandescent lamp that is the least efficient. Proper choices of lighting can greatly reduce your power consumption due to lighting. For example, fluorescent lamp is 300 to 400 percent more efficient than incandescent lamps and with the advancement in technology fluorescent lamp is no longer as noisy as before with the introduction of compact fluorescent lamp.

High Current Required by Fluorescent Lamps
In order for fluorescent lamp to light up, it requires very high current in order for the gas in the tube to conduct electricity. This high current, although only last for a fraction of a second, would make a jump on your electric power usage.
What you can do?
Experts recommend that you only need to turn off your light if you leave the room for a particular period of time. Some would suggest if you will be away for 15 minutes then turn it off, others will say 5 minutes. It all actually depends on the power rate in your area. In areas with more expensive power rate, the 5 minutes would apply and the same is true for the opposite.

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