Save Electricity With Greener Christmas Decorations And Gifts This Holiday Season

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Christmas is a great time to introduce energy saving habits into a household as many easy and simple changes in the way we live can end up putting extra money into your pocket.  Higher electricity prices in South Africa have become an increasing strain on consumers’ monthly expenses and Eskom recently announced that it had applied to the state regulator Nersa to further increase the price of electricity by 16% every year.  This means that South Africans could on average pay just over double the current electricity price by 2018.

“As consumers we have a lot of decision making power when it comes to how we use and save energy,” says Claire Volkwyn, who is the programme director of the annual African Utility Weekconference and expo in Cape Town.

“There are a variety of ways we can use a lot less electricity this holiday season such as using LED* Christmas lights which use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights.  Also invest in solar powered outdoor lights which can also be used on the Christmas tree and only come on at night.”

Volkwyn continues:  “get everyone in the family involved this December and challenge them to think of creative ways to save energy and make it a competition – and then reward the family by taking them out to dinner with the money you have saved!  This way everyone starts to think about living greener and it becomes a way of life.  African Utility Week is also a partner in Eskom’s 49M campaign, and we embrace the energy efficient use of power, not just in our company, but in our homes and personal lives too.”

More tips to be more energy friendly this holiday season:
1)  Buy gifts that don’t use electricity or batteries.  Up to 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season.  Buy environmentally friendly gifts such as solar chargers for laptops, cell phones and solar-powered torches.

2)  Don’t use the tumble dryer unnecessarily – it’s summer, so take advantage of solar powered drying.

3)  Turn off the room lights when the Christmas tree lights are on.

4)  Set a timer to Christmas and outdoor lights to limit the time they are on.

5)  Create a romantic or devout atmosphere by using candles instead of lights.

6)  Enjoy the weather and celebrate the holidays outside with a braai instead of cooking on a stove!  Or enjoy cold meats and salads during this summer season – it’s healthier  and saves on power

7)  If you’re going away, turn off/down the empty refrigerator.

More advice for creating a more energy efficient home during the year:
–  Invest in a geyser blanket.  Unless the geyser is properly insulated, switching it off does not save electricity.

–  Insulate the roof to make the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter and thereby saving on using heating and cooling devices.

–  Switch off appliances at the source when not in use.

–  Replace bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps).

–  Limit the use of down-lighters in your home.  All the heat they generate is lost power

–  Use cold water to do laundry, it saves electricity and is better for the clothes.

For the past 12 years, the African Utility Week conference and exhibition has helped to reduce the energy consumption of commercial and industrial large power users and has assisted in African utilities providing electricity and water to all of Africa.  The event brings together thousands of utility professionals from across the globe to learn, share knowledge and debate the key topics that will secure the future development of Africa’s power industry.  These include energy efficiency, improved service delivery, renewable energy, collaboration across the continent and investment in new power projects.  Stakeholders across the industry attend the event, from Energy ministers, utilities such as Eskom, municipalities and regulators to investors and technology and service providers.  Attending theAfrican Utility Week exhibition is free when registering in advance and it showcases energy saving technologies and services for the industry from more than 250 providers and features hands-on demonstrations and workshops on the exhibition floor.

*LED=light-emitting diodes

What is 49M?

Eskom’s 49M campaign encourages all South Africans to take the 49M pledge to save at least 10% electricity.

3 Questions You Should Ask Your Air Conditioning Technician

When looking for an air conditioning technician, Stockbridge homeowners will usually check the internet and call a few companies. While there are many great HVAC companies, finding them can be a challenge. These three questions should be asked of each prospective company to separate the good from the great.

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What is Wrong with My A/C in English?

Before having any work done on the system, the homeowner should understand completely the problem and how the technician will fix it. Homeowners should ask the technician to go through their diagnostic process and how they determined what the problem is. The tech should not use technical speak, instead use plain terms that the homeowner can understand. A good technician should be able to explain the problem and the fix in plain English without confusing the homeowner. Homeowners should pay attention for things that don’t seem to make sense or if a lot of other costly repairs suddenly manifest during the diagnosis. The best example is low refrigerant without a leak. The refrigerant loop is a closed system, so the only way the refrigerant can be low is if there is a leak.

What Warranties Do They Offer?

Most of the A/C manufacturers will offer warranties on their units, but homeowners need to get the details of these warranties. They should also find out if the repair company offers any warranties or guarantees on their work. The best system with the best warranty will still cost money if it is not installed properly. Homeowners should look for A/C companies that offer a guarantee on their work because that means they stand behind the job they have done.

How Much Will It Cost?

While the overall cost is important, it should not be the deciding factor between companies. Many of the less than honest HVAC companies will offer a very simple estimate with a low price. Then, after they begin working on the unit, they will add to the estimate raising the overall price past the other companies. The estimate should be detailed, listing all the parts that will be needed and an accurate gauge of the amount of labor hours needed to do the repairs.

When working with an air conditioning technician, Stockbridge homeowners should feel comfortable and trust they are not being taken advantage of. The partnership should be a good relationship that can be revisited several times for different problems.

Knowing When You Need to Call a Plumber

Image result for call a plumberFor many people, when to call a plumber seems like it would be an obvious decision. After all, if you’ve got a burst pipe, a stopped toilet, or standing water, it would seem to follow that a call to the plumber is the logical next step, and you’d be right about that. But what many people don’t realize is that plumbing problems aren’t always that obvious. Sometimes, your house can have small plumbing problems that aren’t visible or seem to be so minor that they’re forgotten about. However, letting these small problems linger can cause them to turn into serious problems down the road. Here are a few instances where a small problem is a sign of something that’s bigger than you think.

Your Faucet Is Dripping

How much damage could a dripping faucet really cause when it’s just a drop or two at a time? Surely it’s not enough to force you to have to search for a plumber in Elmira NY, right? Actually, a slow drip can quickly turn into a massive headache—as well as a hole in your wallet. One drip per second can cause a home to waste 3,000 gallons of water in one year, and that’s just from one faucet. If multiple faucets have the same problem, you could easily be looking at an extra $50-100 a year on your water bill, which can really eat away at your budget over time.

Even if you’ve got the ability to withstand that kind of cash drain, a dripping faucet could be a sign of a serious problem with your pipes. Normal faucets don’t have that kind of problem, and if the leak is something that’s been going on for a while, there’s a pretty good chance that the problem is with your pipes rather than your faucet. If you try to pinpoint a small problem yourself, you might end up creating a larger problem that requires a professional fix. It’s far better to make sure that you’ve got the job done right.

Your Pipes Have Frozen

Frozen pipes are an absolute nightmare to a homeowner. When a pipe freezes, it’s only a matter of time before something serious occurs. When living in the northeast, frozen pipes are always a serious concern, and they’re not something to wait on calling a plumber to fix. If a pipe does crack or burst, you’re going to have a mess on your hands and an extensive repair job. As soon as you notice something wrong with your pipes, it’s time to get a professional on the job.

Your Water Isn’t Flowing Correctly

Whether it’s a problem with the water pressure or a problem with a faucet, if the water flow isn’t happening the way that you know it should, it’s time to bring in a professional to help get things back to normal. If you notice it happening in one area, that’s a great time to call in a professional to help you determine whether you merely need to clean out the faucet or whether you’ve got a problem with your pipes. The sooner you pinpoint the problem, the easier it will be to find a simple solution.

Not all water-related jobs require the services of a professional plumber, but if you’ve got something that can lead to a serious issue, that’s the time to call for help.

Add a Regal Touch To Your House with Stone Staircase

A Stone Staircase can be an amazing presence in any décor. There is a reason why grand places like museums etc have stone stairs. They almost have a regal touch to it and they are very classy. And there is no reason why your house cannot have one. If the entrance hall is big enough, you can have a stone stairs as well. The size does not matter, although the greater the width, the more magnificent it looks. However, a good designer will help you to get one even in the dimensions of your own house. It will become the center of attraction.

You can choose from a variety of stones to do the staircase. Of course, white or black marble is usually the favorite here. But in case you find it too stark, you can choose from the warmer hues of granite or slate. A highly polished stone surface is not just classy. It spells elegance. You can talk to the designers to get the kind of look you want. You can have a Victorian or Oriental style stone staircase design, complete with pillars and statues at regular intervals. Or again, you might have a very contemporary design, sleek and stylish with geometric shapes. The latter one is better for less open spaces because the former style can become a bit too overwhelming. On the other hand, you also need to arrange the décor around it to suit the style. You cannot have such a staircase with an all wood finish décor.

Sometimes it is best to keep the surroundings minimal to draw maximum attention to the stairs. So with the help of the Stone Staircases, you will be able to add glamour to your house and it will make the ambience more classy and elegant.