I have to find a source for the phenomenon, but at some point in our exodus from Egypt, we must have been required to obsess about cleaning everything, whether or not it has anything remotely to do with leavened bread, while gratuitously spending enough money on food and Pesach provisions to actually last forty years in the desert. We Jews have gone through many a famine and dark times, so it’s no wonder people are eating pizza like it’s going to be their last pizza ever only to return eight days later as if they have never tasted the stuff before. So as Mr. Fix it, I will throw in my advice on a few small things that can be done to your home to save you real money on your utility bills, which is probably important now that you have spent a month’s salary on eggs and chocolate macaroons.
- Water leaks: These innocent little drips will cost you big over time. A leak that fills a small plastic drinking cup in 5 minutes, will cost you 2,100 shekels per year! Many homes have toilets that leak slowly, but go unnoticed as the drip ends up in the bowl. Other culprits are the dud shemesh, and outdoor irrigation. Especially after the “freeze” in Jerusalem this winter, many dudei shemesh are still dripping away, wasting water, money, and worse – causing damage to the roof.
- Switching to LED lights: I have written much about LED in my articles praising the longevity and savings. Before buying, call me, please. It’s a new technology and you have to know what you’re getting. But assuming you purchase high quality, long-life LED, the electrical savings are very good. For example, a normal two bulb, fluorescent tube fixture will cost 175 shekels per year at eight hours per day. Switch to LED and the cost will be 49 shekels per year. That’s 125 shekel savings per year and it’s only one light fixture. Multiply it by 10 or 20 and the savings grow quickly.
- Clean your AC units: This is NOT rinsing off the screens, although that’s a start. An internal chemical clean every few years will preserve the life of the machine for years. It will insure maximum efficiency and, most of all, will spare you from watching your AC unit create those lovely, impressionistic drip stains on your ceiling that, believe it or not, are impossible to paint over.
- Ceiling fans: If you are from the US then you definitely had them. They make them here too and work wonders. The majority of evenings do not need A/C and a strong ceiling fan, even on a low setting, can make a huge difference in cooling the home.
- Use the sun and not the dryer. I know how difficult it is to keep up with the laundry. We are six people and the machines never stop. However, if you use a high speed spin cycle, the Mediterranean sun can dry those clothes in about 10 minutes, no joke. A dryer is an energy guzzler. Buy a good quality drying rack, bribe an older child to do it, and give him or her the savings which at one load per day could possibly be 700 shekels a year.
- Curtains, trissim and screens: I know it’s simple, but how many people don’t have curtains and hate the trissim? For a relatively inexpensive cost, screens can be added to windows so they can remain open and the house bug free while the curtains and trissim keep the effect of radiant heat out of the house. Summer is summer and we need A/C, but we can give the A/C unit a break by eliminating some of the heat within the house allowing it to cool off and stay cool for less money.
I have made these suggestions based on my personal experience in dealing with these products over the years. Feel welcome to call and ask away. When it comes to these topics, I always welcome a good schmooze.