Most of us are bewildered when we get the electricity bill at the end of the month or two months. You keep thinking how and when did your home consume that many units of electricity. We are totally dependent on electricity to function – from basic lights and fans, to complicated HVAC systems, a host of appliances draw energy which is reflected in your bill. To reduce the bills, and to conserve electricity you need to know which of the appliances/devices/utilities are consuming the most electricity.
What uses most electricity in an apartment?
Heating your home is the most energy consuming application. According to a calculation, 27% electricity is used to make your home a comfortable abode. With freezing temperatures outdoors, you cannot do without heating, but regulating your apartment’s internal climates takes up the most electricity. If you stay in cold regions, you especially have to bear the brunt of the heating bill, when the season is over.
There are ways to reduce the cost of the energy bill, and that is to heat in a savvy way, such as buying energy efficient heating systems which offer 97% efficiency. Get rid of your old model, and invest in a new one which will ultimately save you money in the long run. Upgrade your thermostat too, to a programmable one. One great energy saving tip is to install your thermostat at a place where there is no source of heat or cold, so that the readings will not be messed up.
Insulate the apartment thoroughly, check the vents, ensure regular maintenance to avoid losing heat. Allow sunlight to flow through the house, heating and lighting it naturally. And wear sweaters indoors till it gets too cold. Baking also heats up the area around it, so consider baking when it’s cold.
Cooling is the next function which is the one of the most energy consuming. People living in hot regions have to use air conditioners to cool their homes. The heat wave condition occurring all over the world had made air conditioning a necessity even in cooler regions. But cooling also consumes the most electricity, about 19% in total.
To reduce cooling bills, you can open the windows early in the morning and evening so that the hot air within the house goes out, and the air conditioner need not work so hard. You could also find out the optimum temperature recommended by government/ utility suppliers which would maintain the indoor temperature at a nice and comfortable level, and yet your bill would not be high. Also, make sure that there are no gaps in insulation through which the cool air escapes. Programmable thermostats can help by reducing the temperature to energy saving levels. You could also set the timer on your AC so that it switches off automatically after the desired amount of time.
Water heaters too are one of the home appliances which you cannot do without, but they consume up to 14% of energy. There are many options available, which come in tank and tankless forms. Tankless heaters consume less electricity. Energy star rated water heaters are better too, as they will cost you less. Make sure that the heater /s in your home are just the right size, because the bigger heaters will definitely use up more electricity. Water heaters are one of the most electricity consuming appliances, and reducing their use will reduce your bills as well.
Instead of keeping it on the whole day, plan your activities with hot water during a fixed period of time, so that it is turned off when not in use. Switched on water heaters, along with heating systems, consume a lot of electricity. Use hot water for washing clothes when it is required, otherwise cold water will wash just as well. The temperature level at which heaters are generally preset is 140F, but you can set it to 20 degrees lower to save electricity.
Washing machine and dryer
Washing machines are next on the list of energy guzzling appliances, and consume the most electricity. As clothes have to be washed frequently, one way to reduce electricity consumption is by washing on full load. Or else choose the small or medium settings to use less water and energy. As mentioned before, cold water can be used for washing clothes.
The drying machine too uses up a lot of power. On sunny days, air drying the clothes on a line will reduce your power bill. Use the spin cycle in the washing machine before putting them in the dryer, as this will reduce the amount of time required to dry clothes in the dryer.
The next item which uses most electricity on the list, is lights. We can’t do without lights even in the daytime in most homes, due to the nature of our work, and also because apartments are built in such a way that it is impossible for natural light to reach most rooms. In this scenario, switching to energy efficient lights such as LED will make a huge reduction in your electricity usage.
Incandescent bulbs consume a ton of energy, especially as most of us have the habit of leaving the lights on when they are not required. LED lights have the benefit that most of the electricity supplied to them is converted to light, and they last 20 times more than ordinary bulbs. Besides, in bulbs, only 20% of energy supplied is converted to light.
It is a modern invention which is present in almost all households. Though it is highly useful, it takes up a lot of electricity in your apartment , up to 8% overall. Updating your refrigerator, and using an energy rated smaller one rather than a huge one will save the energy.
Traditional ovens require a lot of time to cook food, and at very high temperatures. Thus, gas ovens are a better choice if you are fond of baking. Ovens consume 3% of electricity in the home, and those will have self-cleaning capability will use up even more energy. Restrict the use of ovens and use the microwave instead, or the toaster or griller/sandwich maker, as these smaller appliances would not take up as much electricity.
It uses 2% of electricity, but still it makes a difference. To reduce energy consumption of the dishwasher, wash only full loads, and if there are only a few plates or so, wash them by hand!
Computers and TV
Computers use 1% of energy and laptops even less. Unless you have any job which requires a desktop, most laptops are powerful enough for most jobs these days. TVs too use just 1%, but it’s better to switch off.
Consciously trying to reduce electricity use will conserve electricity and save you money. Use energy efficient appliances which are better in the long run for you and the environment.