Electricity prices are rising, while the feasible and mass-produced renewable solutions are still over the horizon. We still need to apply all the life hacks and explore all the possibilities not only to save as much between the two bills, but also to use natural resources in a more sensible, eco-conscious manner.
Unplug the electronics
Even when they are switched off, electronics continue to suck power from the grid. What is more, it’s estimated that up to 75% of energy consumed by home electronics occurs when they’re turned off or in ‘energy-saving’ sleep mode. The truth is that these power vampires suck electricity 24/7, amounting up to a $100 each year. Cut off their blood supply by plugging them into a power strip and turning it off.
Unlike previous generations, new TVs have a memory chip that resets all the settings once the power comes up, so you don’t have to worry about setting everything back every time. On the other hand, if you are nostalgic for the old VCRs that flash when the power goes down, some power strips always have a few outlets on even if you switch the strip off.
Buy Energy Star
Look for the Energy Star label whenever you need to purchase a new appliance. It means that the device meets certain energy-efficiency guidelines. If an average household spends $2,000 each year on electricity bills, using Energy Star labelled appliances can reduce those cost by 30%. However, you don’t need to replace them all at once.
As each of your appliances ends its service life, replace it with a new Energy Star model. Check with your utility company or local electronic centre for old appliance recycling programs. If you resell it, you’ll just be passing the energy-hungry appliance to someone else.
Install motion sensors
Motion sensors are perfect for outdoor lights as well as those areas that see little traffic such as corridors and lobbies. They turn off automatically, so you don’t waste energy by forgetting to turn them off. It was estimated that motion sensors can save you $100 per year. While some of them activate and turn off automatically, some need to be turned on manually. The second type is ideal for bedrooms as they won’t activate when you move in your sleep.
Some switches are installed in junction boxes, while others are wireless. Whichever type you choose, you’ll need a proper electrician to install them. Among other services, for instance, this Blacktown-based electrician performs interior and exterior lighting installation, as well as switchboard upgrades.
Maintain the AC
On average, half of a home’s annual energy bill is spent on heating or cooling. To make matters worse, external AC units are often placed directly in sunlight, so they use up to 10% more electricity. If yours is in a sunny spot, too, plant tall shrubs or set a climbing trellis to shade it, but don’t enclose the unit completely to impede the air flow.
Every couple of years, call for a maintenance check to make sure the electrical parts and the refrigerant are at peak efficiency. In the end, if you replace a 12-year-old model with an Energy Star one, your investment will return in about eight years.
Ask for time-of-use meter
Not all utility companies offer smart metering, but many of them do and others are considering it. The idea is that the utility installs a special smart meter that tracks how much electricity you’re using. The utility then uses that data to ensure its power grid doesn’t get overloaded which can cause parts of it to black out. If the grid load reaches its critical capacity, the utility may shut off major appliances in homes, such as water heaters and HVAC units for short periods of times, until the system is stable again.
On the user’s end, you may be liable for financial compensations, as some utilities pay for signing up, while others let you view your real-time usage online and let you choose time-of-use pricing that allows you to pay less for electricity used in off-peak hours.
Until utility electric power becomes more affordable, the only way households can keep their bills within the budget is through conservation, saving and increasing the efficacy of systems and appliances they already own.