GNcareers, from Gulf News

How to control your bills this summer

How to control bills this summerImage Credit: Supplied

Come summer, the temperatures soar and so do the utility bills. However, an increase in temperature does not have to translate into shelling out more for electricity and water. You can not only save some money but also do your bit for the environment if you take some conscious steps.

Clean your air-conditioning filters regularly. Most buildings and villas have their own maintenance crew who will undertake this job. If you are buying a new air-conditioner for your home, do not try to penny-pinch. Instead, buy one that is energy-efficient and environment-friendly.

Come summer, air-conditioners are turned on at full blast for the whole day. However, this is a futile exercise if your deliciously cool air is escaping out through cracks in the doors and windows and even light switches and electrical sockets. A well-insulated house will save you up to 20% on your utility bills. Such leaks can be fixed easily with some caulking. Also find out if you can fix a programmable thermostat at home so that the temperature is automatically adjusted when no one is around. This can help you save even up to 30% on your annual bills.

Replace old light bulbs with compact fluorescents bulbs. These generate less heat and last longer. This is the oldest advice out there with regard to cutting down on your energy bills: turn the light off when you leave the room. This applies to televisions, laptops, tablets and digital photo frames. Sure, these work on batteries but batteries need to be charged, too, and this is done using electricity. And when you are buying an electrical product or gadget, do your research and check its energy-efficiency ratings.

Another old-fashioned advice that can save you money and save the earth while you are at it: turn the water off while washing your teeth or shaving. Use a water-conserving shower head and limit those luxurious baths. Replace your old toilet with an energy-efficient, low-flow toilet that uses less water each time it flushes.

Whenever possible, use an overhead fan or table fan instead of an air-conditioner, and replace defective electrical gadgets, plugs and extensions.

Handy Hints
• Though expensive, it is still better to buy an energy-efficient air conditioner
• Replace old light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs as these last longer
• Keep your house well-insulated to prevent air from escaping through cracks

Source: Binu Sivan, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer