Seven tricks to lower your electricity bill
There is plenty of scope for savings in the use of electrical appliances at home. Standby mode alone accounts for more than 6% of household electricity consumption.
Have you left your mobile phone charging all night? Did you switch off the TV with the remote control when you went to bed? Do you have your game console on standby? A report by the University of California estimates that the sum of all the energy we waste on household appliances and electrical devices accounts for 5 to 10% of our household electricity consumption and 1% of CO₂ emissions.
Every day hundreds of watts fly through televisions, games consoles, air-conditioning systems, microwaves, stereos, DVD players, set-top boxes or charging computers, toothbrushes, cordless phones and mobile phones while we are not using them. In fact, any appliance with a display screen or an internal clock consumes energy 24 hours a day.
The Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía estimates that the standby mode of electrical appliances alone accounts for 6.6% of household electricity consumption in Spain. The Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) has a calculator on its website to check the annual consumption and expenditure involved in this standby mode in different electrical appliances.
Surrounded by electrical vampires
These electrical vampires are spread throughout the house: kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathroom.
In the kitchen we can find the microwave, the oven, the electric coffee machine, the kettle, the washing machine or any appliance with a digital clock. It is likely that some of them accumulate more electricity consumption when they are not in use than when they are switched on.
As for the living room, the television, games console or stereo are typical energy vampires if left on standby. And the router consumes a considerable amount of unnecessary energy while we sleep.
Leaving the mobile phone charging all night in a socket in your bedroom is also a waste of energy. And other potential sources of incessant consumption in bedrooms include clock radios, computer equipment, extra televisions and consoles.
Even in the bathroom we can be wasting energy 24 hours a day, for example, through the electric toothbrush charger if we do not unplug it when we have finished charging.
How to protect yourself from electrical vampires
A few simple habits can help you reduce your electricity bill and CO₂ emissions:
- Unplug chargers when you have finished charging devices. Chargers consume electricity whenever they are plugged in, even if you are not charging a device, or it has already been fully charged. This doesn’t just apply to mobile phone and laptop chargers. The base of your electric toothbrush also consumes electricity if you leave it plugged in.
- Avoid standby mode. Anything other than completely switching off a device that you are not using is an unnecessary waste of energy that means a lot of money a year on your bill.
- Do not constantly open the fridge. Every time you open and close the fridge or freezer, they lose temperature and increase their electricity consumption, especially if you do it abruptly.
- Use power strips with switches. If you use several electrical devices together, such as your computer, screen and printer, plug them into the same power strip with a switch. That way you can easily switch them off with a single click at night or when you go on holiday.
- Take advantage of the residual heat from the ceramic hob. You can switch it off a little before the food has finished cooking so that the residual heat is not wasted.
- Keep electrical appliances that you do not use frequently unplugged. If you have a stereo system that you only listen to on Sundays, for example, it is better to keep it unplugged the rest of the time to avoid unnecessary consumption.
- Unplug the router when you are not using it. Unless you are downloading files at night, it is unnecessary to keep your router switched on while you are sleeping or away from home.
Invest to save
Beyond these measures, which require virtually no investment, it is possible to cut electricity bills even further by investing in more efficient appliances and light bulbs. In the case of appliances, the classification ranges from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). As for light bulbs, LED bulbs offer significant energy savings and have a longer lifespan.
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