As we approach Autumn, the thoughts of the upcoming winter and the soaring energy prices are weighing heavily on people’s minds.
So, how can you keep your consumption – and bills – as low as possible?
Step one is knowing which appliances use the most electricity.
Step two is being smart about when and how often you use them.
The average Irish household will have well over a dozen different appliances running every single day. But which ones cost the most to run and which aren’t quite so dear?
When you buy any appliance, the handbook will tell you how much energy it uses. The higher the kWh, the more it uses. So for example a 3 kWh appliance will use three times as much energy for every hour of usage as a 1 kWh device and five times as much energy as a 600 watt (0.6 kWh) device. A good rule of thumb is: if it makes things hot, particularly in a short space of time, it costs a lot. Think kettles, hair dryers, tumble dryers and electric showers – they all have a ferocious appetite for electricity.
Here are some examples of how much energy typical household appliances could be costing you:
Tips to Save Money on your Energy Bills
So how do we lower our energy costs, most of us know the obvious tips of turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use but here are some here are some tips that you might not have thought of:
Insulate Your Hot Water Tank
Insulating hot water tanks and pipes will reduce the amount of heat they lose, making them more efficient and cheaper to use. Insulating with cylinder jackets and foam tubing is usually a straightforward DIY job and tends to pay for itself very quickly.
Use a speedy spin cycle before tumble drying
Selecting a quick spin cycle on your washing machine before tumble drying will drain more excess water from your clothes.
Washing machine spin cycles cost less to run than tumble drying, and the dryer will then need to run for less time to dry your clothes.
Clean the dishes with your dishwasher
New dishwashers with high energy ratings (A, A+ etc.) are more efficient than washing dishes by hand in terms of both energy (for hot water) and water usage. Efficient dishwashers can use as little as 11.11% of the water needed for washing by hand. In fact, findings from research in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Britain show that households that have dishwashers use 50% less water and 28% less energy overall than households that don’t have dishwashers!
Fill your fridge & freezer
Your fridge and freezer will run more efficiently the fuller they are. Food in the fridge and freezer has mass and will help retain cold temperatures, reducing the amount of air needed to circulate to keep compartments cool.
Whilst keeping your fridge full is more difficult than keeping your freezer full due to food waste, you can increase it’s efficiency by stacking food containers of cold water on the shelves. You should definitely be able to keep your freezer full. If your freezer is likely to be only partially full for long periods of time, you can increase its efficiency by storing bags of ice, or old ice cream cartons filled with water in it.
Use A Slow/Pressure Cooker
The oven is one of the most expensive appliances in the home to run – using an electric oven can cost anything upto €0.73 per hour of cooking. A fan-assisted oven is more efficient than a conventional oven as it uses a fan to circulate heat around food as it cooks. Modern slow cookers consume as little as 150 watts per hour at a low setting. That’s less than €0.07 per hour of cooking.
Use appliances that produce heat in the evening time
Try to use your dryer, dishwasher and oven in the evening when it’s cold outside, so the ambient energy they produce can help your heating system meet the temperature set on your thermostat. That way you can maximize energy efficiency and reduce costs by getting the energy used up on cooking to do double duty in warming your house.