Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Saving money on energy bills, is it possible?

Prices on electricity and gas are forever going up. Now that Russia wants the Ukraine to pay up front for any gas supply as the Ukraine doesn't want to pay the previous bills, there are concerns sparked over the possible shortages of gas in Europe, and our lovely UK gas providers have already hiked the prices. Since there is not much you can do about the exorbitant prices, it makes sense to find out how to be more energy-sufficient and save on the utility bills by introducing a few changes at home. I was recently approached by home efficiency specialists Zenith Home to try a few gadgets which help me to monitor how much electricity and water I use at home.

The summer has come finally (I wonder for how long it will stay like this?), and when it's hot, jumping under a cooling cascade of the shower is one of life's pleasures. But do you know how much water you splash down the drain?
An Eco Showerdop shower meter is a clever little device which tells you exactly how much water you are using in the shower.

Apparently, an average Brit uses about 150 litres of water a day, with 35% of all the water used in the bathroom.
A few interesting facts:
"The average bath uses about 80 litres of water. If you spend ages in the shower or have a power shower, you could use 80, 100 or even 150 litres. It's not only a waste of water, it's a waste of energy, and a major contributor to carbon emissions".
If you attach a Showerdop to your shower, it will allow you to monitor the use of water and potentially save 1000s of litres of water a year. The leaflet coming with the device says that a family of four could save £180 in energy and water costs.
Let's look at the little gadget.

How does it work? First you need to install the battery.
Sounds easy enough, but I did fumble a bit, trying to open a twist cover in the back, as I couldn't find the right tool, and in the end used a thin jam spoon to turn it.
Then you need to set up a clock button. That was easy.
Now a more challenging task - you need to calibrate the showerdrop, which basically means you measure how long your shower takes to expel one litre of water. There is a measuring bag supplied with the kit. After that you calibrate the showerdop and when you are using the shower, you will know how many litres of water you used.
The recommended amount of water for a shower is 35 litres.
That might be a recommended amount for people with short hair, but as my hair is long, I used more than that.
It was interesting to find out how much water you use, and probably if I take a shower without washing my hair, I'll be just fine. Yet if I do wash my hair, I will clearly get beyond the recommended amount.
My kids usually have a bath as part of their bedtime routine, first I wash the little man, then my older son goes in later. So, that's saving one bath-full for us.
Even if you go slightly over the recommended amount of water, timing your showers is definitely a step in the right direction.
You can find more information at Showerdrop.

Energenie Standby Shutdown which comes with an amusing slogan "Your switch is my command" is a device which recognises when you have left an appliance on standby and switches off the mains power automatically.

it protects your appliances which are susceptible to damaging current surges,
it lowers your carbon footprint,
it is easy to use, there is no wiring or manual set-up, all you need to do is just plug in a Standby Shutdown,
it is easy to switch it back on, just press a green reset button,
it saves you money

you cannot use it for example with your cable and satellite boxes with the timed recordings (that's the only con I can think of).

You can find more information on Energenie4u.

You might think it is too hot right now to mention the radiators but with our fickle British weather you never know when you might think of having the heating on. That's where a Radiator Booster comes handy. We already have a different type of radiator boosters in our bedrooms (which you slide behind the radiator), and they do work well. Radiator Booster maximises the efficiency of the central heating radiators. It is an appliance made of sturdy plastic which you place on top of and behind your radiator.

The manufacturer promises that the running cost of the Radiator Booster is less than £0.30 per annum.
Which Magazine, a reliable source of reviews on about anything, found that once the radiator booster has been fitted, the room heated up more quickly and energy consumption dropped.
I haven't tested this appliance yet as we didn't need the heating on recently, but any gadget which allows me to save money on the bills, is most welcome here. It looks like a simple and effective way of giving a more consistent heat by "sucking" it from behind your radiator and then circulating it around the room.
"This efficiency means that on average the room thermostat can be reduced by 1 to 3 degrees Celsius, giving an average money saving of around £140 per annum".

Disclosure: I received an energy saving kit for the purpose of reviewing.


  1. The amount of water being used in a shower is frightening! I love the idea of the radiator booster, will deffo look at those.

    1. Makes me guilty to splash in the shower.

  2. I love the idea of the radiator booster, never can get warm in the winter

    1. I will need one for the kitchen, the coldest area in our house in winter because of the dome glass window on the roof.