Friday 30 September 2016

The kettle that boils enough water for a cuppa in five seconds

John Cradden on this and other money-saving gadgets

John Cradden

Published 14/08/2015 | 02:30

Cupán Amháin is a new kind of kettle that boils exactly the amount of water you need in an instant. You just put your cup on the spout and it boils exactly the right amount in five seconds.
Cupán Amháin is a new kind of kettle that boils exactly the amount of water you need in an instant. You just put your cup on the spout and it boils exactly the right amount in five seconds.
Climote, which makes a timer for heating and hot water that you can control using text message or from your PC or smartphone app.
Ecobeta Siphon, a device that converts single flush toilet cisterns to dual flush, saving up to a claimed 50pc of water per flush.
The he EHT10 electric tap can reduce water wastage by up 60 litres a day and save 70pc on electricity costs
The Hippo water saver, a specially-designed water bag which sits in the cistern and reduces the volume of water used in each flush by up to three litres.
Fitting aerators to all the taps can do a lot to minimize your water waste.
The Standby Saver (€35) socket conveniently cuts off power to a number of appliances plugged into it by pressing a button on a single device, such as the on/off button on a TV remote control.
The Nest Thermostat (€219) includes an 'auto-away' feature that turns down the heat when no-one is at home, as well as the ability to access the controls remotely through an app or online.
Water-saving shower heads work on a similar principle to tap aerators by restricting the flow and introducing more air, but without reducing the pressure.
Owl Intuition, a web-based monitor that allows you to keep an eye on your electricity usage using a mobile app on your smartphone or tablet, or your computer if you prefer.

Devices or gadgets for helping households reduce their energy or water consumption have been around for some time, but the biggest problem for suppliers is that incentives to use them have been lacking.

  • Go To

Devices or gadgets for helping households reduce their energy or water consumption have been around for some time, but the biggest problem for suppliers is that incentives to use them have been lacking.

As things stand, it won't be until at least 2018 before we will have truly compelling incentives to change the way we consume essential utilities like electricity, gas and water. This is when the rollout of electricity and gas 'smart metering' and when the cap on water bills for metered households of up to €260 a year will expire.

But why wait until then? The reality is that there is nothing to stop us monitoring and reducing our usage of these utilities so that you can save money today and keep your bills low in the future thanks to a range of reasonably priced water and energy-savings devices or gadgets.

Water Boilers

Cupán Amháin is a new kind of kettle that boils exactly the amount of water you need in an instant. You just put your cup on the spout and it boils exactly the right amount in five seconds. It's pitched as a vastly cheaper alternative to instant boiling water taps, which also claim to save electricity compared to using a conventional kettle to boil water several times a day, but given that they cost hundreds, it might take a while to see a return on your investment.

Price: €95 from Watersave.ie

Electric kitchen tap

According to Watersave.ie's Martin Lane, the kitchen sink is a hot spot for wasting water, what with folks turning on hot taps and letting many litres drain away while waiting for the hot water to come through, not to mention that the immersion will take 30 minutes to heat up and that will end up heating more water than is needed.

One solution is an electric hot water tap, which works in much the same way as an electric shower in that water is heated instantly without the need to use the immersion and only heats as much water as you need.

According to Lane, the EHT10 (pictured) can reduce water wastage by up 60 litres a day and save 70pc on electricity costs. Trials by Electric Ireland some years ago revealed that it took 212 units of electricity a month to heat water to the kitchen tap, while the electric tap used just 5.2. It's as simple to fit as a normal tap.

Price: €198 from Watersave.ie and other outlets.

Energy Monitors

These come in a variety of forms, including ones that plug into energy sockets that monitor the usage of one particular socket, but there are also wireless ones that can monitor usage around the whole house.

The Owl +USB wireless energy monitor got a Which? 'Best Buy' rating back in 2011, but according to Gerry Phelan of Irish suppliers Thermtec, a more up-to-date product is the Owl Intuition, a web-based monitor that allows you to keep an eye on your electricity usage using a mobile app on your smartphone or tablet, or your computer if you prefer.

Suppliers Thermtec say you can save up to 20-30pc a year on your energy bills using this device.

Price: €97 from retail.thermtec.ie.

Remote controls for heating

Nearly 70pc of homes in Ireland, according to Electric Ireland, change their heating schedules fewer than four times a year, resulting in "energy frequently being wasted heating an empty home," says Emma Cunningham of Climote, which makes a timer for heating and hot water that you can control using text message or from your PC or smartphone app.

Users of remote controls can save up to 20pc on their heating bills by only heating their houses when they need to and not heating an empty house, says Electric Ireland.

The Climote (pictured) costs €399 although you can get it for slightly cheaper and pay in installments through your Electric Ireland electricity bill.

A cheaper alternative is the Nest Thermostat (pictured) at €219, which includes an 'auto-away' feature that turns down the heat when no-one is at home, as well as the ability to access the controls remotely through an app or online.

It is available for free if you sign up to Electric Ireland's dual saver electricity and gas package.

Price: Climote €399; Nest €219.

Standby saver sockets

It's estimated that up to €100 a year is wasted in the average home because of appliances left on 'standby', which still use 20pc of the electricity they need when switched on.

According to Electric Ireland, plugging out entertainment devices in the home - 32-inch TV, 15-inch flat screen, DVD, stereo and desktop PC with 17-inch screen - would save you €47 a year. Products like the Standby Saver (€35) or the Energenie Automatic Standby Shutdown (€22) are sockets that conveniently cut off power to a number of appliances plugged into it by pressing a button on a single device, such as the on/off button on a TV remote control.

Price: Around €20-40 from various outlets.

Toilet Devices

While many of us now have 'dual-flush' toilets which allows you to decide if a half or full flush is needed, there are still many large old cisterns in use that flush away far more water than necessary - often as much as nine litres in a single flush.

One solution is the Ecobeta Siphon, a device that converts single flush toilet cisterns to dual flush, saving up to a claimed 50pc of water per flush.

Another way to reduce water used in a loo flush is to fit a displacement device like the Hippo water saver, a specially-designed water bag which sits in the cistern and reduces the volume of water used in each flush by up to three litres.

However, Lane of Watersave cautions against reducing the volume of water used to flush a toilet in a typical nine-litre cistern by much more than two litres. A Toilet Tank Bank does the same job as the Hippo bag or even a plastic bottle but saves just 1.5 litres per flush.

Price: Hippo bag or Toilet Tank Bank around €5; Ecobeta Siphon €28.50 - both from various outlets.

Eco Shower Heads

With the average electric shower pumping out eight litres a minute, you will use 160 litres of water just by spending ten minutes in the shower, or more if you are using a power shower. But this would be easily halved by using water-saving shower heads, which work on a similar principle to tap aerators by restricting the flow and introducing more air, but without reducing the pressure.

Price: €20-50, various outlets

Tap Aerators/flow reducers

Fitting aerators to all the taps can do a lot to minimise your water waste. These devices fit or screw onto your tap outlet to restrict the flow of water and introduce air, meaning you get the same pressure using less water. However, it's worth bearing in mind that most taps in Irish homes - even ones built in just the last ten years - are not designed to be fitted with aerators because they don't have any kind of screw thread at the end, according to Martin Lane at Watersave.ie. So you might need to check that whatever ones you buy will fit.

In addition, how much they reduce flow depends on the flow rate, which varies around the country, meaning that it could reduce flow by anywhere between 30-80pc, he said. "The thing about water is that it's specific to every single house in the country -no two houses will have the same pressure or flow rate."

Price: €10-20, various outlets.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Business