Calculating The Gas & Electricity

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Discover critical steps involving your gas meter that you should take to minimize damage and ensure your safety when an earthquake occurs. Most people say they are going to take the proper steps of earthquake preparedness before the next big quake hits, but the majority seldom do. Follow these simple steps that I reveal to you and you will be well on your way!

First, and most important, know where your gas meter is located. This may sound silly, but many people do not even know where their meter is! If you live in a warmer climate area, it is usually on the side of your home. Large buildings or apartments sometimes have breeze ways and they can be located there as well. If you live in an apartment building and do not know where your meter is ask your landlord. Cooler climate regions it is not uncommon to find the gas meter down in a basement or cellar.

Once you know where your gas meter is located it is important to have the proper tool to turn your gas off. Gas meters can be turned off with special gas meter tools, a crescent wrench or channel locks. I highly suggest that you attach your gas shut off tool to your meter so you do not have to search for the proper tool in the heat of the moment after an earthquake.

After an earthquake, you will need to inspect your meter for gas leaks. If it is dark, it is very important to use the proper type of light to get to your meter. Use a flashlight powered by batteries only. Never use a candle, kerosene lantern or anything with a flame near your gas meter. Anything with a flame near a gas leak can cause an explosion. This includes a lit cigarette and even starting a car near a gas leak. Both of these can cause a serious explosion. Until you know if you have a leak do not even turn light switches on or off or even use your landline telephone. These can also create a spark and cause an explosion.

For safety reasons, if you experience a severe earthquake it is wise to turn your gas off. Not all earthquakes will require you to turn your main gas supply to your home off though. Some questions to ask yourself are, “Do I smell gas?” “Do I hear gas spraying out?” “Is my gas meter registering increased usage?” If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then it is essential to turn your gas to the OFF position. I will cover how to do this next. Just remember that only a professional should ever turn your gas back on. In the case of a severe earthquake or natural disaster of any kind this may take a week or two before your gas will be restored.

Turning your gas meter off is really quite simple. Especially if you know where your gas meter is located and you have the proper tool attached right to the meter! Teach everyone in your family how to turn the gas off. If you are injured and cannot do this yourself, you will be glad that someone else in your family has been trained to turn it off too. To turn your gas off you need to turn the gas meter shut off valve 1/4 of a turn in either direction. It does not matter which direction. Remember, only a professional should ever turn your gas to your home back on. Only professionals have the proper equipment to test for gas leaks and will only restore once all gas leaks are repaired.

If you experience an earthquake and follow these simple, yet critical, gas meter safety tips you will be increasing your chance of survival as well as minimizing the amount of damage that a big earthquake can cause. It is essential to become prepared for not just earthquakes, but for any type of natural disaster. Natural disaster preparedness can save lives!

As an employer it is important to keep your staff safe from harm and gas safety in the workplace is a great place to start. It is up to employers to ensure that any gas appliance, installation, flue installation or pipe work of your business gas supply is maintained and operated correctly and safely.

This business gas maintenance should be carried out by an experienced professional, so ensure you check that your engineer is Gas Safe registered before commencing work. Gas can be extremely dangerous if not treated or handled correctly, so only ever trust a correctly certified engineer to perform any routine or required work.

It is important to know where the building’s gas meter can be found, in case of not only an emergency, but for maintenance as well. These valves can normally be found in their own casings either inside or built into the exterior of the building. Next it if vital that you know the whereabouts of the shutoff valve and these can normally be found near the gas meter itself or outside attached to the service pipe.

Knowing where the building’s gas shutoff valve is can be especially important in an emergency, should the gas need to be turned off. Don’t simply turn the gas off on a whim either, because turning it off before you’re entirely sure of smelling, hearing or seeing a gas leak, could result in a bit of a wait before engineers can come and turn your gas back on.

It is vital that all gas components are inspected and serviced at least once a year to ensure optimum working order. If you do have gas systems installed or inspected, your engineer should be a member of CORGI (The Council of Registered Gas Installers). It is a legal requirement that any person installing business gas systems must be part of CORGI.

Another aspect of maintenance that needs to be kept an eye on is keeping a detailed record of gas appliance maintenance and inspections. This includes business gas maintenance contracts, if you’re paying for a service, it should be provided accordingly.

This is reiterated by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations which states:

• ensure that gas appliances and flues are maintained in a safe condition 
• have annual safety checks carried out by an appropriately qualified Gas Safe engineer 
• retain records of these checks for at least two years and issue them to tenants within 28 days of the checks being carried out

We often take electricity for granted. Everything from our computers to our home lighting use electricity, and many of us would admit we’d find it difficult to live without these things. Electricity is not so much a convenience as a necessity, yet how often do we stop to consider how electricity suppliers get the stuff to our homes in the first place?

Like many things, electricity production depends considerably on geographic factors. Electricity suppliers in many countries predominantly use fossil fuels to create power, whilst others put a lot of emphasis on nuclear energy production. If you live in Iceland, your electricity suppliers are possibly unique in that they only use renewable energy production methods to generate electricity.

So, you’ll need to look deeper into your own country’s production methods to understand exactly how electricity suppliers keep your lights shining and computers whirring. But here’s a quick run down of the different methods they use to turn lumps of coal or gusts of wind into usable power:

Fossil Fuel Power

Burning fossil fuels remains one of the most common forms of energy production. Typically, electricity suppliers will combust coal, natural gas or fuel oil to generate heat, which is then converted into mechanical energy, which turns an electric motor to generate electricity. In 2009, 44.9 per cent of electricity produced by electricity suppliers in the United States came from coal. 23.4 per cent came from natural gas, whilst one per cent came from petroleum.

Nuclear Power

Nuclear power plants work on the principle of nuclear fission. In very simple terms, it works like this: radioactive materials like uranium naturally release energy very slowly, but can be made to release much more by inducing fission reactions. By keeping this uranium in a shielded core and inducing reactions, electricity suppliers can use the energy produced to heat water and use the steam to power turbines (quite a similar process, in principle, to that used by fossil fuel plants). In 2011, nuclear power accounted for ten per cent of all electricity generated by electricity suppliers the world over.

Renewable Electricity

In more recent years, electricity suppliers have been increasing their research into renewable electricity sources. This is because these energy production methods don’t rely on expendable materials such as fossil fuels, and instead use ‘never ending’ sources like wind or solar energy to create electricity. The principle of harnessing wind power is very simple – wind turns a turbine, which powers an electrical generator.

Solar energy production is a little more complicated. This requires the use of photovoltaic cells, which convert the sun’s rays into usable electricity. You’ve almost certainly seen solar panels – these are essentially arrays of these photovoltaic cells. Solar energy can also be used to heat homes. Finally, hydroelectric power works similarly to wind power, but harnesses the movement of water to generate electricity. Ten per cent of all the world’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and this figure is expected to rise as more and more countries shift their focus to ‘green’ energy production.

Wasting energy is a big flub. It hurts you financially, and it hurts our environment. Electricity is a notable portion of our basic bills, but many of us carelessly use electricity and then blindly pay the bill. If you’re interested in stepping out of that cycle, hopefully the tips below on how to conserve electricity (and save money) will be of some use to you.


One of the most effective solutions for households across the country is to switch out inefficient, incandescent light bulbs for efficient light bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 17% of all commercial and residential electricity usage in the US. It’s a big target. We should all be switching to more efficient light bulbs. In the past several years, that has meant switching out incandescents for CFLs, but even more efficient LEDs are now becoming very competitive and are probably your best bet. LEDs for under $10 are now available at Walmart and Home Depot.

Do you really need those lights on? Aside from switching to more efficient bulbs, it’s also probably worthwhile to simply pay more attention to your use of lights and not leave lights on that you aren’t using. This just requires forming the habit of looking out for such things… and, well, occasionally getting up to turn a light off.

Stay Warm

If you live in a cold climate and use electricity for heating, another key solution is to make sure your home is well protected from the cold. Weatherization, changing out old windows for new energy-efficient ones, putting more or better insulation in your walls, and improving your ventilation are great ways to drastically cut back on your heating needs.

Stay Cool

In hotter climates, one of the keys to cutting electricity usage is of course cutting air conditioner (AC) usage. There are a lot of ways to stay cool without blasting the AC. Fans can work quite well (up to a certain temperature), as can removing your clothes, opening windows and doors on both sides of your home (maybe not combined with removing a bunch of clothes – the topic is how to conserve electricity, not how to flash gross out your neighbors), keeping the refrigerator door open (wait a second… scratch that one), drinking enough water, and eating cooling foods.

Drop The Dryer

One more big one that is very common in much of Europe and used to be very common in the US is cutting off the dryer. Line dry your clothes instead. Think that you don’t have space for it? I don’t buy it for a second. European apartments and houses are something like half the size of US ones, and, like I said, it’s normal here for people to line dry. One very common solution are foldable racks that you can put up anyplace you have a bit of extra space.


Naturally, not using very electricity-hungry electronics will help to reduce electricity usage. However, beyond that obvious solution, another one that can really add up to some strong electricity savings is simply unplugging things you aren’t using at the moment. Some electronics and appliances don’t pull much electricity when off by plugged in, but some do. Gaming consoles and DVD players are supposed to be some of the particularly electricity-needy devices. Unplug them when not in use.

Let Your Thermostat Learn About You

If you’re looking for something a little more high-tech than the above, a solution you might love is getting a “learning thermostat.” You don’t need to learn about how to conserve electricity when your thermostat is learning for you, right? A notable company in the learning thermostat realm is Nest. Founded by the person who came up with the concept and initial design of the iPod, Tony Fadell, Nest is pushing the limits of technology in order to help you save electricity. It’s learning thermostat seems to be selling well, and I actually just noticed today that it is available in Apple stores. Check it out sometime, or go buy one today.

I think that’s quite a start. If you have more great ideas for how to conserve electricity, drop them in the comments below!

Of course, beyond conserving electricity, simply using the energy of the sun can do away with the main problems associated with too much electricity consumption – high energy bills and pollution – so don’t forget to also get a solar quote and check out how much money you could save by going solar. For the average American who has the opportunity to go solar, the savings is reportedly about $20,000 over 20 years, and probably well above that over the lifetime of a solar power system.

Naturally, going solar and conserving electricity are no exclusive – they often go together. Finding out how to conserve electricity is especially popular after going solar, since people start to pay a lot more attention to their electricity usage and costs after going solar. (As you save more electricity during times of little or no sun, your electricity bills drop even further, a trend a lot of people get addicted to.)

So, beyond conserving electricity, don’t skip the “going solar” option.

There are three things you should know about your electric bill to save money. If you’re like me, you want to save everywhere you can. When I save on my electric bill I reduce my carbon footprint and help save planet earth. This article will help you learn how to use your bill to save money. It concludes with five specific money-saving actions. Find a recent electric bill and have it handy as you read on.

  1. What is the total dollar amount of your electric bill? Most people open their bill, hoping that it is no higher than last month’s bill. For them, that is the bottom line. They write a check and mail it. They forget about electricity until next month’s bill arrives and they repeat the process — pay and forget about electricity. Study your bill closely. Remember the total dollar amount. Pay your bill before the due date to avoid the late charge. Prepare a chart or spreadsheet and record your monthly electric charges.
  2. How much electricity are you using? If asked, most people do not have a clue about how much electricity they are using. Look at your bill. It will tell you the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity you used this month, last month, and a year ago. Put those numbers into your spreadsheet. Most of your electric bill is based on the number of kilowatt-hours you use. You need to reduce that number in order to reduce your total electric bill. Suppose a 100-watt electric light bulb is left on for 100 hours. It will consume 10,000 watt-hours (100 watts times 100 hours) of electricity, or 10 kilowatt-hours. Let’s say you forgot to turn off that 100-watt lamp and left the house for four days (or 96 hours). That lamp consumed 9.6 kilowatt-hours while you were gone. If you pay 15 cents per kilowatt hour, you would have wasted over $1.40. Replace that bulb with a 23-watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) that produces the same amount of light as the 100-watt bulb. You will save 77%! And don’t forget to turn off the light. You’ll save 100%!
  3. How much are you charged per kilowatt-hour? Most people look only at the bottom line – they skip over the details in their bill. Study those details. You may be able to save money. Somewhere on your bill is your “price to compare” per kilowatt-hour as of a certain recent date. It is the average price you pay for electric supply [or commodity]. That is what you are charged just for the electricity. It depends on how much it costs your utility to generate or buy electricity. If your state and electric utility offers “supply choice” you may be able to obtain your electric supply from an alternative supplier for less than your utility’s “price to compare.” You can also use your “price to compare” to estimate your annual electric supply charge from your electric utility. Simply multiply that rate by the total number of kilowatt-hours of electricity you use in a year. (Some utilities include on their bills the number of kWhs you used over the last year.) Now do some simple arithmetic. Divide your total electric bill by the number of kilowatt hours you used. The resulting number is the average charge to you for all the electricity delivered to your home. Surprise! That number is higher that the “price to compare” (or commodity charge). Why is that? It is higher because, in addition to your commodity charge, there are other fixed or variable charges on your bill. Your fixed charges include customer charges and other fees or taxes you pay regardless of the amount of electricity you use. Compare several monthly bills. Those fixed charges do not change from month to month. Your variable charges include other charges (e.g., distribution charge for delivering electricity to your home), fees and taxes you pay based on how much electricity you use.Put the following unit prices ($/kWh) into your spreadsheet:
    1. your “price to compare,”
    2. the sum of your monthly fixed charge divided by kilowatt-hours used,
    3. the sum of your monthly variable charges divided by kilowatt-hours used,
    4. and the total amount of your electric bill divided by kilowatt-hours used.

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