Electrical Home Appliances: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

electrical-home-appliancesElectrical home appliances can easily drive up your electric bill. and it is important to determine how much electricity they use. This will help you understand how much money is spent using them.

Heating and cooling appliances are big contributors to high electricity costs, along with major kitchen appliances. Read more for tips on saving money with your current appliances, or how to buy a new appliance that will save you money long term. 

Estimating the Wattage and Electricity Costs of Your Electrical Home Appliances

  • Read the EnergyGuide label. The EnergyGuide label provides consumers information about energy consumption and shows an estimate of the average energy consumption and cost when using a specific model of appliance. The actual costs will slightly be different depending on your usage, though. All appliances are required to have the EnergyGuide label that shows the following:
    • Manufacturer, model #, and size
    • Estimated operating cost in a year, which is based on the national average cost of electricity and the range of operating costs for comparable models
    • ENERGY STAR® logo that signifies that the strict criteria for energy efficiency were met by the appliance model
    • Estimated annual electricity usage
  • Main features of the home appliance and comparable models   
  • Use an electricity usage monitor to obtain the readings of how much electricity an appliance is consuming.
  • Search for an electrical website that provides a formula on how to calculate annual energy consumption and costs.
  • Install a complete home energy monitoring system. An energy monitoring system helps you to measure the electricity consumption of any 120-volt appliances or electronics but cannot be used for 220-volt appliances and electronics. It is available in most hardware stores and costs approximately $25 to $50. Remember to read the manual before installing and using the system.

 

Buying new? Buy Smart

There are a few factors to consider when shopping for home appliances: the purchase price, the operating cost and the life of the appliance. On average, refrigerators normally last for 12 years, washers and dryers for about 11 years, central air conditioners about 15-20 years, and furnaces for approximately 15 years. Always read the labels and check the features to ensure that the appliance you are buying has a low operating cost.

With the call for energy conservation, some manufacturers offer appliances that they tagged as “smart”. Smart appliances can be connected to home energy management systems or smart electric meters. This helps you switch your electricity consumption to off-peak hours.

Refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers and other appliances may be available as smart appliances. These appliances turn off during high peak electricity demand and use ingenious ways to shift energy consumption.

For example, your refrigerator might hold off defrosting until late evening or off-peak hours. Or your AC may run a little less often. If you live in an area where electricity is lower at night, also known as time-based rates, your electric bills would be much lower. You may not notice it, but this could contribute to significant utility savings. Talk to your utility provider to know more about the availability and advantages of smart grid technologies and time-based electricity rates.

Ensure to have regular appliance maintenance. Inefficient or a malfunctioning appliances will use up more electricity. So the next time you’re having heating and cooling problems, look for American air and they’ll guide you on how to buy, use, and take care of your home appliances!

Baby Proofing Everything Electrical in Your Home

babyproofingBaby proofing your home is an essential part of your child’s safety. Children are very curious individuals; so ensuring that your electrical outlets and appliances are hidden, covered or out of reach is just as important as anchoring large furniture to the walls. A study revealed that the most common injuries and causes of death for children below 18 are avoidable if the home is electrically safe.

Here are a few tips for babyproofing your home to make it electrically safe:

  • Block electrical outlets. Cover your electrical outlets. You can either use outlet caps, outlet plugs or electrical covers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 2400 children had burns and shocks caused by electrical outlets, with 12 deaths from sustained injuries.
    • Electrical Outlet Caps. These are the cheapest tools to prevent your child from sticking his finger or objects into electrical outlets. They are made of plastic, flat and easily plug directly into the outlet, so your child will not be able to take it out. The only disadvantage is you need to remove them each time you’ll use the electrical outlet. It is necessary to plug it back to keep your home electrical safe.
    • Electrical Outlet Covers. Also known as safe plates, these covers are good babyproofing electrical safety option, too. To use them, unscrew the cover on your outlets and replace them with these safe plates. They have spring-loaded covers that are fairly like the TRRs, allowing them to accommodate the prongs of a plug and move once you remove the plug. They are easy to install without tinkering any electrical wires.
  • Unplug Appliances. Unplug and store appliances that are not in use. Start with the bathroom. Unplug the hair dryer, curling iron, electric razors, etc. Minimize the probability of an appliance falling into water and causing injury by installing ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Hide Electrical Cords.  www.healthofchildren.com reported that over 63% of injuries in children 12 years and under are caused by household electrical cords, electrical outlets and extension cords. The market offers several cable management products to keep electrical cords bundled, hidden, and controlled to prevent them from getting mixed up or entangled. Organize your cords by using a combination of wraps, covers, ties, and sleeves.
  • Educate your Family. Set a good example to emphasize electrical safety. Make sure that your toddler understands not to touch and stick anything like pens, forks, fingers into the electrical outlets. Be very strict in implementing the rules of electrical safety in your home.

 

Electrical items play an important role in our daily lives. They are present in every room of your home. Babyproofing your home is the easiest way to ensure that your home electrically safe for your children. 

What NOT to Flush Down Your Toilet

toilet

The toilet is only meant for bodily waste and toilet paper; not any other types of waste or towels should be flushed. Three gallons (about 12 liters) of water is used each time the toilet is flushed. So can you imagine how many gallons or liters of water are wasted if you flush tissue, paper towels, hair, etc. down your toilet? Apart from water wastage- toilet drain blockage can lead to clogged pump stations and sewage backup in neighborhoods and businesses.

Items that Should Not Be Flushed Down the Toilet

Bathroom Wipes. Bathroom wipes or moist towelettes have become a popular accessory in the bathroom. They cause clogs and sewer backups even if they were marked “flushable”. Cleaning wipes and baby wipes should also not be flushed down the toilet.

Paper Towels. Unlike toilet paper, paper towels are thicker and larger. They do not disintegrate quickly like toilet paper so they can clog your toilet requiring the service of an expert plumbing provider.

Cotton Swabs & Cotton Balls. These tiny items can get moist and soggy, but they do not break into pieces causing clogs when they accumulate together, blocking your pipes.

Condoms. Most condoms are made of latex so dispose of these properly instead of flushing them down the toilet. Wrap the condom and wrapper carefully and throw them in the bin.

Pads & Tampons. Although most people know not to flush feminine pads down the toilet, it’s a common misconception that it’s ok to flush tampons. Do not flush them! Because they expand when they get wet, they can quickly clog your sewage pipes. Wrap them instead in toilet paper or the packaging and throw them in the trash can.

Band-aids. Because they’re made from non-biodegradable plastic, throw band-aids in the trash bin to prevent clogging of your pipes and sewage system and to protect the environment.

Dental Floss. Like band-aids, dental floss is non-biodegradable. When dental floss groups together or wraps itself around other items in the pipeline, it can create havoc in your pipes. So remember, toss it in the trash.

Prescription Drugs or Medicines. Do not flush drugs or medicines. These drugs contain certain chemicals that can contaminate the water as well as the source of water.

Hair. Hair is a common thing to see in the bathroom. It clogs the shower, sink, and the toilet plumbing. Hair groups together and produces huge blockages in your plumbing, pipes, and sewer. Remove any hair that you can see in your drains before it washes into the pipes. Throw the hair into the trash bin when cleaning combs, hairbrushes and when combing wet hair.

 

The toilet is not a trash bin. So make sure that every member of your family understands this. Let them understand the damage that can happen if the above items are flushed down your toilet. Insisting on flushing anything down your toilet will soon result in blocked pipes, clogging a pump station and causing a sewage backup for your neighbors, other houses and businesses.

Call American Air to resolve any blockage problems in your sewer lines.

Why Your Major Appliances Need a Dedicated Circuit

dedicated circuitMost older houses do not have an electrical system with dedicated circuits. However, if you are renovating, adding a room to your house or building a new home, it is recommended to put in dedicated circuits for all of your major appliances. The National Electric Code stipulates that most appliances should have a dedicated circuit.

What is a Dedicated Circuit?

A dedicated circuit is any electrical circuit from your circuit breaker that is used for a single specific purpose, appliance or tool. A dedicated circuit will prevent more current to be drawn from what your circuit breaker can handle. Blown fuses, tripping of breakers, and overheating wire insulation are generally the result of a single circuit serving several appliances. When this happens, the circuit breaks down and may start the possibility of electrical fires or electrical failure.

What Needs a Dedicated Circuit

Appliances that use large amounts of power require a dedicated circuit. These include the following:

  • Refrigerators
  • Stand-alone or portable freezers
  • Ranges and ovens
  • Dishwashers
  • Microwaves
  • Washers and dryers
  • Hot tubs and other similar fixtures
  • Heating and cooling equipment
  • Garbage disposals
  • Sump pumps

 

It is also highly recommended to have at least one outlet for every floor of your home that is connected to a dedicated circuit. This is specifically convenient and safer when operating high-drawn portable equipment. Having dedicated outlets to power vacuum cleaners, blow dryers, space heaters, and other occasionally-used electrical items prevent breaker trips, as well decreases the risk of flickering lights.

Appliances that are connected to a dedicated circuit but with an inaccurate wire size and inadequate amperage than they require may result to overheating that can possibly result in a fire. So make sure that you hire an electrician Columbus Ohio, who has been tested for their competency and professionalism.

If you have been experiencing frequent trips from one or more circuit breakers, they are telling you to invest on a dedicated circuit for your appliances. If this is happening, look for a pattern – if it trips when using your microwave and toaster at the same time, it is a warning sign that the power supply line it uses is experiencing weakness of power.

Bear in mind that it is better to have several dedicated circuits rather than not having enough.

Tip: An appliance that runs with its own motor and is used regularly in one place needs a dedicated circuit.

Will a Tankless Water Heater Save Me Money?

tankless water heaterSome of your high energy cost can be associated with your home’s hot water heater. As hot water leaves your water heater’s tank, it automatically refills, constantly heating the water and using energy.  A more cost effective alternative to these standard appliances is a tankless water heater. Also known as “on demand water units,” tankless water heaters only heat the water as needed.

With tankless water heaters, no money is spent heating 40 to 50 gallons of water and storing in a tank until someone is in need of hot water. Heated water that sits idly in a tank will eventually lose heat, even though the tank is insulated; requiring constant reheating. Tankless water heaters give you hot water on demand when you need it, so you do not heat water that is not needed. Thus, you save on energy costs. These tanks offer you a continuous supply of hot water enough to fill a big hot tub or a whirlpool. Compared with other tanks, tankless water heaters use 30-50% less energy. Depending on your usage, it gives you a savings of approximately $100 or more in one year. These heaters usually operate on natural gas or propane to heat water.

Tankless Water Heater Benefits

Along with saving you some cash, tankless water heaters offer some other great benefits.

  • Save you on Space. They are more compact than the standard water heaters, so they can be mounted on a wall or outdoors with an anti-freeze kit. The smaller units can even be mounted in a closet or under cabinets, nearer the point of use.
  • Tax Rebate. You get a federal tax rebate amounting to $300 with tankless units.
  • Availability of Hot Water. You get hot water whenever you need it.
  • Convenient to Use. Most of the tankless units are operated by remote control with four separate settings.
  • Clean Hot Water. You are assured of getting clean hot water because water is not stored in the tank that can lead to accumulation of rust and scale.
  • Clean Gas. The electric tankless heaters do not produce greenhouse gasses so you contribute to cleaner air and a healthier environment.
  • Long-Lasting. They have a life expectancy of 5 to 10 years with some lasting for more than 20 years compared to the conventional tank-type water heaters.
  • Durable. Less worries of leaks or flooding because of a ruptured tank causing water damage.

 

The operating costs of a tankless water heater differs from model to model. Read the manufacturer’s manual or call the manufacturer to get a better understanding of the product you are buying. Tankless water heaters are investments that pay for themselves. They increase energy efficiency and increases the value of your home with premium technology.  Contact one of our plumbers at American Air to discuss having one installed in your home.