Summertime brings with it many enjoyable things such as visits to the beach, holidays from work or school, your favourite seasonal fruits, and so on. But if there’s one thing we all dread in the summertime, it’s the electricity bill. Most households are dependent on a fridge and air conditioning to beat the heat – and these appliances are often the biggest contributors to energy consumption, and therefore your electricity costs.
So how do we save on both energy and money? Here are a few ways you can lower the numbers and raise your spirits.
ACs are a catch 22 – they contribute to global warming, yet it’s impossible to live in the rising temperatures of our planet without them. So if you must use them, do so mindfully.
- While it’s tempting to set your AC to Arctic temperatures, it actually forces the system to work harder to cool the ambient air, consuming way more energy than necessary. Instead, try to set it to an average temperature of about 24 degrees to save on energy.
- Cleaning or replacing filters regularly is necessary too, as a dirty filter puts a lot of strain on your system, making it take longer to cool than normal.
- And always, always turn off your AC if not in use or if you’re leaving the room for a longer period of time, because all of this adds up!
Okay, we’re all guilty of leaving our phones to charge overnight. While this is convenient, it’s not recommended. Your phone only needs an hour or two to charge, and leaving it on overnight not only consumes more electricity, but will also damage your phone’s battery over time. Charge devices when you’re around to turn them off; and when you’re done charging, unplug chargers along with the devices.
Changing your light bulbs
If you haven’t switched to LED lights yet, take this as a sign to make the change. LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than fluorescent or incandescent lights. 95% of the energy consumed is used as light, with only 5% wasted as heat – which is the exact opposite of traditional lights! LED lights also draw much less power from the mains, which reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. LED lights have a longer lifespan, lasting up to 6 times longer than other types of lights, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
It’s tempting to go digging through your fridge every few hours, especially when you’re looking for a snack. But did you know that every time you open the fridge door ⅓ of the cold air rushes out and the fridge has to work extra hard to bring the temperature back down? So, try to open your fridge or freezer only when you actually need to, and don’t keep the doors open for too long each time. Allow hot food to cool first before putting it away in the fridge, as the fridge will use up more energy in trying to cool it down.
When cooking, use the microwave when you can as microwaves use much less energy than an electric oven. While using a stove, keep lids on pots to reduce cooking time; similarly, keep the lid on the pan when boiling water – doing so will trap heat in the pan, requiring less energy to bring the water to a boil. It’ll also help the water to boil faster!
Okay, this one isn’t a simple hack, it’s an investment. Installing solar panels in your house can be expensive, no doubt – but it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run. By harnessing energy from the sun, you save on electricity, water heating and overall energy consumption. Might as well make use of all that summer sun, right?
Every effort, big or small, makes a difference. Although no hack can magically slash your electricity bills, being mindful of your energy consumption can help cut down on any unnecessary expenditures. Our parents knew what was up when they told us to always switch off fans and lights when leaving a room – let’s carry forward that sensibility so we can be lighter on the pockets, and on the planet.