“Could you afford a £28-a-week air con bill? - Your Money - Your Money” plus 4 more

“Could you afford a £28-a-week air con bill? - Your Money - Your Money” plus 4 more

Could you afford a £28-a-week air con bill? - Your Money - Your Money

Posted: 24 Jun 2020 03:35 AM PDT

An air conditioning unit might cool you down – but it could cause your energy bill to shoot up by more than £100 a month.

With workers and children spending more time at home during lockdown, there has been an increase in the number of people thinking of purchasing a portable air conditioning unit this summer.

According to Uswitch.com, Google searches for portable air con units rocketed 133% in the last week of May compared to the previous year.

But calculations by the price comparison website show that air con devices can increase home energy bills by up to £28 a week.

The warning comes as temperatures are expected to soar above 30°C this week.

Uswitch found that portable air conditioning units use 2.7kW of power on average. This is equivalent to constantly running a washing machine or tumble dryer.

People who already own an air con unit say they use them for 4 hours 18 minutes on average during the day when temperatures are high, and 4 hours 48 minutes at night. According to Uswitch, this means weekly energy bills could rise by £28 during a hot spell.

A further 2.2 million consumers are considering buying an air cooling system — which uses water rather than a coolant to reduce temperatures — to help them stay cool this summer. Another 2.2 million are planning to purchase an electric fan.

The cost of running different devices varies dramatically. Air con systems use an average of 2.7kW of power, compared to a standard desktop fan consuming just 120W.

With many homes planning a summer at home instead of abroad, there are also warnings about the potential impact of other seasonal feel-good gadgets on energy bills. Searches for hot tubs, which can use 3kW for the heating element alone, have shot up by 775% in the past three months and electric patio heaters searches have soared by 790%.

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, says: "In normal times, millions of workers would be spending this heatwave in a perfectly chilled air-conditioned office. Now an open window and a desk fan is the best that many of us can hope for.

"With temperatures creeping above 30°C and people set to spend the hottest times of the day at home, it's no surprise that so many of us are investigating what we can splash out on to make things more bearable.

"Portable air conditioning units are an effective way to keep a room cool, but they consume a lot of power and could well bring about a nasty surprise when the next energy bill arrives.

"There are plenty of cheaper ways to control your temperature at home, such as placing a bowl of ice cubes in front of an electric fan. The fan will create a refreshing breeze as it blows the ice-cooled air around the room.

"Also, keep your curtains shut during the day. It may be tempting to let a breeze through the house, but the sunshine will heat up every room it can reach, turning your home into a greenhouse in no time at all."

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HOT! It Will Feel Like 109 Degrees Today In Boca Raton, Delray Beach - BocaNewsNow.com

Posted: 24 Jun 2020 04:07 AM PDT


BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — It's a great day to socially distance from other people — the heat index in Palm Beach County is going to hit 109.

Here's the advisory from the National Weather Service.


The combination of hot temperatures and high dewpoints will 
produce heat indices at or above 105 degrees today, especially 
across the east coast metro and interior sections of South 
Florida. Residents with outdoor activities planned are urged to 
drink plenty of water, wear light weight and light colored 
clothing, and take frequent breaks from the heat. Young children 
and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any 
circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather 
when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of 

Content copyright © 2020 Metro Desk Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Broadcast stations must credit BocaNewsNow.com on air. Print must refer to BocaNewsNow.com. Online must link to BocaNewsNow.com. We have agreements with several organizations. Contact news (at) bocanewsnow.com.

After a century of searching, scientists find new liquid phase - Science Daily

Posted: 11 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder's Soft Materials Research Center (SMRC) have discovered an elusive phase of matter, first proposed more than 100 years ago and sought after ever since.

The team describes the discovery of what scientists call a "ferroelectric nematic" phase of liquid crystal in a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery opens a door to a new universe of materials, said co-author Matt Glaser, a professor in the Department of Physics.

Nematic liquid crystals have been a hot topic in materials research since the 1970s. These materials exhibit a curious mix of fluid- and solid-like behaviors, which allow them to control light. Engineers have used them extensively to make the liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in many laptops, TVs and cellphones.

Think of nematic liquid crystals like dropping a handful of pins on a table. The pins in this case are rod-shaped molecules that are "polar" -- with heads (the blunt ends) that carry a positive charge and tails (the pointy ends) that are negatively charged. In a traditional nematic liquid crystal, half of the pins point left and the other half point right, with the direction chosen at random.

A ferroelectric nematic liquid crystal phase, however, is much more disciplined. In such a liquid crystal, patches or "domains" form in the sample in which the molecules all point in the same direction, either right or left. In physics parlance, these materials have polar ordering.

Noel Clark, a professor of physics and director of the SMRC, said that his team's discovery of one such liquid crystal could open up a wealth of technological innovations -- from new types of display screens to reimagined computer memory.

"There are 40,000 research papers on nematics, and in almost any one of them you see interesting new possibilities if the nematic had been ferroelectric," Clark said.

Under the microscope

The discovery is years in the making.

Nobel Laureates Peter Debye and Max Born first suggested in the 1910s that, if you designed a liquid crystal correctly, its molecules could spontaneously fall into a polar ordered state. Not long after that, researchers began to discover solid crystals that did something similar: Their molecules pointed in uniform directions. They could also be reversed, flipping from right to left or vice versa under an applied electric field. These solid crystals were called "ferroelectrics" because of their similarities to magnets. (Ferrum is Latin for "iron").

In the decades since, however, scientists struggled to find a liquid crystal phase that behaved in the same way. That is, until Clark and his colleagues began examining RM734, an organic molecule created by a group of British scientists several years ago.

That same British group, plus a second team of Slovenian scientists, reported that RM734 exhibited a conventional nematic liquid crystal phase at higher temperatures. At lower temperatures, another unusual phase appeared.

When Clark's team tried to observe that strange phase under the microscope they noticed something new. Under a weak electric field, a palette of striking colors developed toward the edges of the cell containing the liquid crystal.

"It was like connecting a light bulb to voltage to test it but finding the socket and hookup wires glowing much more brightly instead," Clark said.

Stunning results

So, what was happening?

The researchers ran more tests and discovered that this phase of RM734 was 100 to 1,000 times more responsive to electric fields than the usual nematic liquid crystals. This suggested that the molecules that make up the liquid crystal demonstrated strong polar order.

"When the molecules are all pointing to the left, and they all see a field that says, 'go right,' the response is dramatic," Clark said.

The team also discovered that distinct domains seemed to form spontaneously in the liquid crystal when it cooled from higher temperature. There were, in other words, patches within their sample in which the molecules seemed to be aligned.

"That confirmed that this phase was, indeed, a ferroelectric nematic fluid," Clark said.

That alignment was also more uniform than the team was expecting.

"Entropy reigns in a fluid," said Joe MacLennan, a study coauthor and a professor of physics at CU Boulder. "Everything is wiggling around, so we expected a lot of disorder."

When the researchers examined how well aligned the molecules were inside a single domain, "we were stunned by the result," MacLennan said. The molecules were nearly all pointing in the same direction.

The team's next goal is to discover how RM734 achieves this rare feat. Glaser and SMRC researcher Dmitry Bedrov of the University of Utah, are currently using computer simulation to tackle this question.

"This work suggests that there are other ferroelectric fluids hiding in plain sight," Clark said. "It is exciting that right now techniques like artificial intelligence are emerging that will enable an efficient search for them."

Coauthors on the new paper include CU Boulder researchers Leo Radzihovsky, professor of physics; David Walba, professor of chemistry; and Xi Chen, Eva Korblova and Renfan Shao. Dengpan Dong and Xiaoyu Wei of the University of Utah were also coauthors.

Find out how much an hour it costs to run your fan during a heatwave - This is Money

Posted: 25 Jun 2020 03:16 AM PDT

Sweltering temperatures have hit Britain this week and with millions still working from home, or home-schooling, many are cooped up in properties with no air conditioning. 

Here, This is Money, using figures from Uswitch, reveals the cost per hour of running a number of the most in-demand cooling units and garden must-haves this summer.

Demand for pricey portable air conditioning units has soared over the last few months, but one of these snazzy devices could end up adding an extra £28 to your energy bill a week during peak use, according to the comparison website.

Cooling: The cost of running an air conditioning unit and standard fan varies significantly

Cooling: The cost of running an air conditioning unit and standard fan varies significantly 

On average, a portable air conditioning unit uses 2.7 kilowatts of energy, and costs 44p an hour to run. 

This is the equivalent of running a washing machine or tumble dryer constantly throughout a 24 hour period.

In the course of a week, and if the device is used for nine hours a day, this could add nearly £120 to your energy bill a month.

When using devices like portable air conditioning units during a heatwave, Uswitch found that most households have them switched on for over nine hours a day, split into 4.3 hours in the daytime and 4.8 hours at night.

While portable air conditioning units could end up costing you a small fortune both in up-front costs and your future energy bills, another option to consider during a heatwave is an air cooling unit. 

This differs from a portable air conditioning unit in that it uses water rather than a coolant to lower the temperature of a room.

More than 2million Britons have had their eye on snapping up an air cooler unit this year according to search data and while these can be expensive to buy, they can be cheaper to run than a portable air conditioning unit in the long run.

According to Uswitch's research, an air cooler uses 75 watts of energy and costs just 1p an hour to run, which is 43p an hour less than many portable air conditioning units on the market.

Meanwhile, a bog standard electric fan uses up around 120 watts of power and costs 2p an hour to run.  

In fact, in exclusive figures seen by This is Money, a Dyson air cooler costing hundreds of pounds could cost around the same to run an hour as a standard tower fan.

Taking one example, the Dyson AM07 cooler, which typically costs over £300 to buy, claims to use up 56 watts of power, meaning it would cost around 0.9p an hour to run, or 3.6p for four hours. 

Meanwhile, the Bionaire BT19 Tower Fan, which costs around the £60 mark to purchase, claims to use up around 50 watts of power, so its cost an hour would end up being reasonably similar to the Dyson. 

On Dyson's website, the AM07 cooler is currently out of stock, but it is available to but via other retailers. 

Out of stock: The Dyson AMO7 cooler is currently out of stock on Dyson's website, but it is available elsewhere

Out of stock: The Dyson AMO7 cooler is currently out of stock on Dyson's website, but it is available elsewhere

Sarah Broomfield, an energy expert at Uswitch, said: 'In normal times, millions of workers would be spending this heatwave in a perfectly chilled air conditioned office.

'Now an open window and a desk fan is the best that many of us can hope for.'

She added: 'Portable air conditioning units are an effective way to keep a room cool, but they consume a lot of power and could well bring about a nasty surprise when the next energy bill arrives.'

What cheaper ways are their to cool down? 

Sarah says: 'There are plenty of cheaper ways to control your temperature at home, such as placing a bowl of ice cubes in front of an electric fan. 

'The fan will create a refreshing breeze as it blows the ice-cooled air around the room.'

Another way to help keep your home cool during a heatwave is to make sure your curtains are shut all day, as the sun seeping in through a window can turn your home into something resembling a greenhouse in no time at all.  

Once Britons were ordered to stay indoors by the Government in March, the sun started shining in earnest and since lockdown began demand for cooling devices has rocketed.

Comparing the first week of March to 17-23 May, there was a 1,200 rise in online searches for air coolers, according to Uswitch's analysis of Google Trends data. 

Meanwhile, demand for portable air conditioning units has increased by 360 per cent over the dates in question, while searches for standard electric fans rose by 37 per cent. 

Naturally, retailers know there is huge demand for these products at present, meaning many shoppers will be hard-pressed to find one at a decent discount on the most sought after coolers.

How much? Using an electric barbecue will have an impact on your energy bill

How much? Using an electric barbecue will have an impact on your energy bill

Garden energy guzzlers

Keeping up with the Jones' on the garden front is big business, and with people spending so much time at home, demand for items like hot tubs has been surging in recent months.

Comparing the first week of March and 17-23 May, online searches for hot tubs, electric barbecues and outdoor garden cinema screen projectors have risen by 775 per cent, 764 per cent and 238 per cent respectively.

But, when buying these products, shoppers need to be aware about the potential impact they may have on their energy bill.

Costly luxury: Running a hot tub can end up costing you when it comes to your energy bill

Costly luxury: Running a hot tub can end up costing you when it comes to your energy bill

A garden hot tub burns up around 3,000 watts of power and is expensive to run, costing around 49p an hour.

Meanwhile, an electric barbecue costs around 29p an hour to run, while a cinema projector for the garden costs around the 5p an hour mark.

For when the cooler nights set in once more, an electric patio heater could come in handy, but these, on average, according to Uswitch, are fairly pricey to run, costing around 33p an hour.

Be bill aware

Energy customers could be in debt by £94 per household by the end of this summer – leading to a £2.6billion debt nationwide, recent research has revealed.

The 'surprise' debt will be accrued by the number of households using more energy during lockdown, according to analysis by Energy Helpline.

Households are thought to be using 30 per cent more electricity now that most are spending more of their time at home.

Watch out: Your energy bill could cost more than usual this summer

Watch out: Your energy bill could cost more than usual this summer

There are concerns that the increase in energy bills will leave customers who usually have credit on their account for extra usage in the winter with nothing to fall back on later in the year.

Tom Lyon, director of energy for Energy Helpline, said: 'Under normal circumstances, we'd currently be experiencing low energy use coming into summer.

'But this pandemic is anything but normal, with energy debts quietly piling up across the nation, leading to what may be yet another strain on household finances this winter.

'Fortunately, it's easy to reduce the risk of domino energy debts – all you need to know is what to do.

'The most painless way to bring down your bills is simple – just switch to save on energy. You could relieve yourself from the financial anxiety of a big bill that may be quietly ballooning in just minutes and save £420.'

Energy jargon: What's the difference between kWh and kW?

kW stands for kilowatt. A kilowatt is simply 1,000 watts, which is a measure of power. So, for example, the 10,000 watt electric shower in the top bullet point above could also be called a 10 kilowatt shower.

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of energy.

So a 1,000 watt drill needs 1,000 watts (1 kW) of power to make it work, and uses 1 kWh of energy in an hour.

That's why, if you leave a TV or computer on standby, it is still using power and creating a kWh cost on your energy bill.

Source: Ovo Energy

TikTok owner now the hottest tech company among US job seekers - Nikkei Asian Review

Posted: 12 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDT

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Despite political headwinds, ByteDance is quickly gaining attention among tech talent in the U.S. as the Beijing-based giant pushes for global expansion while trying to distance itself from China.

Searches about ByteDance on Blind, a popular professional social network among tech workers, have jumped 10 times in May compared with January this year, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

After analyzing over 8,000,000 search queries and 100 million post views on Blind this year, the job network found ByteDance has beaten all U.S. big techs to top search volume growth on the platform. ByteDance -- the parent of wildly popular short video app TikTok -- is now the 9th most searched company on Blind in the first five months of 2020.

Blind was founded in South Korea and entered the U.S. in 2015. It is an anonymous forum for tech professionals where they can discuss job-related topics such as career development, compare salaries and seek referrals. It has expanded to over 1 million users across 2,000 different U.S. companies in less than two years.

"From my experience, every time a company was changing and hiring aggressively, it has trended on our platform," said Kyum Kim, Blind's co-founder and head of U.S. operations.

"About four or five years ago it was Airbnb, and then Uber was really popular, and Robin Hood was very, very popular last year, and now [it] is ByteDance... we see these kinds of trends over and over again," said Kim.

There were nearly 13,000 searches about ByteDance on Blind in May, compared to only 1,309 queries in January.

Blind's search trend study combined queries about TikTok and ByteDance as "the general public might not distinguish between the company and the brand name," according to Kim.

ByteDance's website currently shows 124 new job posts in the U.S., in addition to the 276 hiring posts on TikTok's website for positions in the country spanning across Silicon Valley to Los Angeles and New York.

The Chinese company said it now has over 1,000 employees in the U.S., up from around 300 this time last year, according to a Reuters report

"We found ByteDance interesting because they're trying to transform into a U.S. company... and they are hiring super aggressively," said Kim.

The Chinese tech giant appointed longtime media executive Kevin Mayer as its chief operating officer and as the new CEO of TikTok in May, in a bid to ease the political pressure it's facing over issues such as data privacy and censorship, Nikkei Asian Review previously reported.

Search keywords that trend on Blind show users are most interested in learning about ByteDance's job offerings, its Singapore office and the company's salaries and other compensation and benefits.

Blind's study also found which companies' employees are most interested in ByteDance, as the platform requires a valid work email address to sign up and users must have the current employer name in their profiles.

The result shows current Facebook employees are searching for ByteDance the most, followed by those working at Amazon, Google, and Uber.

The data is no indication for whether those workers have moved from their current employers to ByteDance, but "we believe the company is getting a lot of attention from tech talents," said Kim.

Despite growing interest in ByteDance, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are the top three most searched companies on Blind in 2020, the study found.

Further, ByteDance has built a reputation for attracting talent in China with its horizontal corporate culture and hiring policy that is unusual in the Chinese tech sector, Nikkei Asian Review previously reported.

"ByteDance probably has more [employee] talent than anyone else in the internet sector," said Liu Yuan, a managing director of venture capital fund ZhenFund in Beijing. "The company is very good at recruiting talent that has yet to build a track record."


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