We’ve all been told that, if we want to bring down the cost of our electric bill, we have to turn off the lights when we’re not in the room, and to turn off the TV / Radio when no one is around. Those are sensible advice and they do help bring the power bill down. However, power saving does not stop there. Here are some other ways you can reduce your energy consumption.
Don’t Just Turn It Off … Unplug It!
When you are not using your appliance (TV, Radio, VCR, etc), electronic device (laptop / desktop computer, etc) and white ware (stove top, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, microwave oven), it’s not enough that you turn these off or putting these on stand by. You need to turn the power off at the source. Some houses have power outlets with little on/off switches. If your house has these, make sure that you flick the switch to off. In case your house has traditional power outlets (just the socket, without the on and off switch), unplug the unit from the source. This is especially true for appliances you don’t use often, such as washing machines and ovens. If you start unplugging your units, or turning the power off at the source, you can reduce your overall power bill by 10%. Did you know … Plugged in chargers, even when not charging anything, still use up energy?
Cold Water and Sunshine are Still Best
If you have a washing machine, wash your clothes on “cold” and, after the spin-cycle, hang your laundry outside where these can dry and be aired naturally. Washing your clothes using hot water accounts for almost 1/3 of your total power usage. Cold water washes just as warm or hot water and it’s probably better for your clothes too! Check the washing instructions on your clothes, you will find that most of these don’t require hot water wash. Furthermore, clothes are less prone to shrinking and fading when washed in cold water. As for drying clothes, unless it’s been raining incessantly for weeks on end, it is still best that clothes are aired and dried outdoors. Not only will you reduce your power bill, your clothes will smell much fresher than it would if it were dried artificially.
Get Better Light Bulbs
Another way you can save on power is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) or power saving units. These light bulbs may be more expensive than your regular incandescent ones, however, not only do they last longer, these units also use up less power than the traditional models.
Keep Doors and Windows Open or Shut
Instead of relying on air-conditioning units to keep you cool in the summer, or heaters to keep you warm in the cooler months, why not just open or shut doors and windows as necessary. Of course, having a properly insulated house is the best way to keep heat in or out but, if insulation is out of the question – adjust your living arrangements accordingly. When it’s warm, try to keep windows and doors open to let the cool breeze in. If it’s too humid, use fans to bring the temperature down. Air conditioning units should be used as a last resource.
Alternatively, if it’s cold, keep your windows and doors shut to keep the warm air inside. Lining curtains with thermal fabrics would help in keeping the heat in. Prevent warm air from escaping your room by using draft stoppers such as door snakes or rolled up towels. If it’s still too cold, then use heaters, but select models which are energy efficient.
Refrigerators and freezers, which run 24/7, accounts for about 14% of your annual power bill. Since you can’t shut this off when it’s not being used, and you definitely cannot live without it – you can reduce the power it consumes by making sure that the thermostats are set at the right temperature. For fridges, the internal temperature should be set at 3-4°C while freezers should be set at -18°C. Set it any lower than the ideal and you’re just wasting energy. Fridges and freezers should also be placed away from sunny areas and ovens and cook tops. Defrosting regularly and making sure that the door shuts properly also helps.
Another tip to cut down power, make sure there’s something insider your fridges and freezers. You’re not doing yourself any favors by keeping a small amount of food in your refrigerators. Remember, these appliances work best when they are filled to their optimal capacity. How would a well stocked fridge save energy? An empty fridge (or freezer) will be full of cold air and, once the door is opened, all that cold air will get out and the empty space will be filled with warm air (from outside the unit) which the fridge (or freezer) will need to cool again. By keeping the shelves stocked, the cold items inside will help keep the temperature inside cold, thus reducing the energy needed to bring the internal temperature down again.
There are many other ways to bring down your power bill, and you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s not as difficult, nor as costly as many think it would be. It may take time to get into the habit of unplugging units from the wall but once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature. Soon, you will see a marked difference in your power bills – and what you save, you can use to purchase other more important things.