During the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, many people started working remotely. While a home-based office may result in savings in commuting or your fuel costs, you’ve probably noticed an increase in your utility bills.
In this article, we look into ways to cut back on your electricity bill and help you manage your usage to be more cost-effective. It only requires a few small changes that’ll add up over time and get you back on track.
Know Your Spend
Step one is to know what you’ve spent on average per month before the pandemic. Think of it as an annual electricity audit and go over your service provider statements for at least a year. Then compare it to the previous period.
Take seasonal usage and fluctuations into account, and be mindful not to compare summer months with winter and vice versa. Heating and cooling appliances both consume a lot of energy, so it may significantly influence the numbers.
One way to reduce electricity bill shock and help you manage it better over time is to use digital tools. These can analyze and track your monthly spending and help you compare rates for your area.
Change Your Habits
One of the easier and most effective ways to save is to make small changes to your daily electricity usage. Switch to energy-saving LED light bulbs and turn off the lights when you don’t need them.
The same goes for other devices. Turn off and unplug the ones you aren’t using. Remember, your laptop or PC will draw power even when it’s in sleep mode.
Your thermostat should ideally remain at a constant temperature, as turning it up frequently consumes energy, and a few small compromises can result in savings. Instead, grab a sweater or add an extra blanket before you adjust the settings.
If you’re using an air conditioner, check the filters regularly to keep it clean. If it’s blocked or dirty, the unit will have to ‘work’ harder and use more power. Another way to avoid unnecessary drains on your heating and cooling efforts is to check that your ducts are appropriately sealed or insulated to maintain temperatures indoors.
Don’t heat the entire oven for one small item, instead cook in bulk and reheat it later in the microwave, which uses less power. Or head outdoors, grill on the barbeque, and enjoy a meal without electrical devices.
Only run your dishwasher when it’s full and opt for a cold water cycle on the washing machine if it’s a lighter load that’s not too filthy. Plan when you’re doing laundry so that you’ve got enough time to hang it outside to dry or leave it indoors overnight to avoid using the dryer.
Another way to manage your spending is to tap into alternative energy sources, like solar power. There’ll be an initial outlay to get the systems set up, and you’ll need to consider your household’s power requirements to find one that suits your needs.
The added value is that it’s environmentally friendly. Alas, if you’re in an area where you cannot rely on year-round sunshine, it won’t be the right long-term solution for you.
You could also consider a generator with a clean fuel source like propane. This non-toxic combustible does not cause harmful emissions and contamination. Again, think of the initial cost of buying it and the ongoing overheads to keep it running.
It’s easy to regain and maintain control over electricity costs once you’re aware of how much you use. Do a regular energy usage check or audit to understand your consumption patterns and know where you can adjust.
Minor day to day changes and adjustments all add up over time and result in significant savings. Heating and cooling appliances will show more noticeable results, so start with these. If you’re able to use an alternative source like solar power, it could pay for itself in the long run. Remember to consider the cost of the initial infrastructure outlay when you do the sums.