Energy bills have been soaring in recent months. In the first half of 2022, the average household faced rises of more than 22% on electricity bills. Meanwhile, the price of domestic gas continues to skyrocket. Although there’s little you can do about standing charges, you can safeguard yourself against eye-watering premiums by rethinking how you use energy. To make your life easier, the expert team at Wizer Energy has put together a handy guide on how to keep your electricity bills as low as possible.
Lightbulbs—Switch to LEDs & Save 85%
Light accounts for around 15% of a typical household’s monthly electricity bill. Lighting can contribute upwards of 20% to your energy costs for larger families. Thankfully, lighting is one of the easiest things to control if you want to rein in energy expenditure. Switching lights off when you leave a room, using timers, and swapping out bulbs for energy-efficient alternatives make a difference.
“One of the most expensive mistakes people make is choosing the wrong lightbulbs! LED bulbs are incredibly efficient when compared to older filament bulbs. LEDs with an energy star rating can use 75% LESS energy in certain cases compared to incandescent bulbs. There are huge savings to be made here; LED bulbs also last far longer than filament bulbs,” Notes electrical expert Martin Desmond of Wizer Energy.
Currently, if you’re using a 60-watt bulb for around 6 hours a day, it’ll cost you approximately €32.85 per year. By comparison, an LED bulb which gives off the same amount of light only requires around 8.5 watts, which leaves you with a yearly cost of only €4.65; that’s a considerable saving.”
The Dryer – Costs More Per Month Than a Disney+ Subscription
For a busy household, a tumble dryer is an absolute essential. However, these staple appliances are some of the most expensive to run. If you’re tackling daily laundry loads, the cost of running your dryer will add a significant premium to your energy bill. However, there are plenty of ways you can make it more efficient. For example, setting your washing machine to a high-speed spin setting will leave your tumble dryer with less work. Meanwhile, keeping filters clean and avoiding overloading the drum can also help.
“We all know by now that dryers burn electricity— An A+ rated 9kg dryer costs around 40c per cycle when full; if you’re running two cycles per week, you’re looking at around €45 to run the machine for the year. If you’ve got an older or cheaper model (the kinds commonly found in rental properties), these costs can double – a C-rated dryer costs around 90c per cycle, meaning a yearly cost of around €100. Our advice is to reduce the use of these dryers, even during the summer months. You’ll see a big difference in the bills!”
Cut Down on Kettle Usage – Every Boil Counts!
Most of us can’t even think about starting the day without our morning caffeine kick; cutting out kettle usage is a no-go. However, you can rethink your daily usage to combat rising energy costs. If you’re using a kettle for hot drinks, only boil as much water as you need. If your kitchen appliances are long overdue for a replacement, now’s the time to investigate more energy-efficient alternatives.
“The kitchen is one of the biggest drains on your electricity; for example, if you’re making a cup of tea or coffee, only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need; there’s no need to fill it to the brim as this is just burning excess energy.
Most kettles clock in around 2-3kw and electricity usage in the home is measured in kWh (kilowatt hours), which is just the amount of kW used in an hour. Most homes are charged per unit of electricity used, and in Ireland, the average price is around 25c per unit. So, if you have a kettle that uses around 1kw, it’d need to be powered on for an hour to use 1kwh; this would cost you 25c. If you have a kettle that consumes 2kws, it will use up 2kwh in one hour, costing you 50c as you have consumed two units. On a small scale, this doesn’t sound a lot (and people don’t leave their kettles on for an hour, I hope!), but it does all add up.
When it comes to saving, it isn’t easy to pinpoint as everyone uses their kettles differently. But let’s say your electricity costs 25c per unit; you’re using a 3 KW kettle with a 2-litre capacity. If you’re filling the kettle to the brim every time you’re boiling, it will cost you around €41 to run it for the year, so only use what you need. “
Switch Off, Not Standby
The cost of keeping your devices on standby might seem like a small change; however, as energy costs continue to rise, every little helps. Combined power loads can tack a small premium onto a regular energy bill. Use a power strip to turn off multiple appliances at once for an easy fix. Hitting a standby button on a remote control before bed is convenient. However, shifting your mindset away from standby will shave a sizeable sum off your regular bills.
“You can be surprised at how much simple things make a huge difference; turning off appliances instead of just leaving them on standby can slash around 20% off your energy bills. Some worst offenders are laptops, games consoles, set-top boxes (like Sky boxes), televisions and even phone chargers. Televisions are probably the biggest culprit here, considering how large they are nowadays. Even the most efficient 50″ television is going to be more expensive to run compared to an inefficient 28″ screen.
Let’s take a 50″ 4K TV with a G Energy Rating. If the television is used for 4 hours a day and left on standby the rest of the time, you’ll pay around €0.08 per day; you’re also paying roughly €0.01 while the device is on standby, that’s just over €31 per year on the television alone. But, of course, the cost racks up pretty quickly if you’ve got a few screens dotted around the house (or if they’re on for longer). Then, of course, you can downsize; however, a 28″ HD Ready TV with an E Rating will only cost around €0.02 per day, that’s about €9 for the year.
The Fridge – Basic Maintenance Goes a Long Way
Fridges and freezers need to be switched on at all times. As such, they’re constantly draining energy. The good news is that there are many ways to make a save with these household essentials. If you’re using an older appliance, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient one. Is your fridge interior in disarray? Keeping your fridge organised allows quick access to your favourite foods, saving the need to keep fridge doors open and lights on. As these appliances must always be on, it all makes sense to make the most of them. A barely stocked freezer running at subzero temperatures is going to cost a small fortune to run.
“Look after your fridge/freezer! Check the coils at the back of your unit and keep them free from dirt and debris. Ideally, they should be about 10cm from the wall to ensure the best possible energy efficiency results. If the coils are all blocked with dirt, they cannot efficiently release heat, which means the fridge’s compressor has to work far harder & longer, which ups the cost and shortens the lifespan. If your coils are dirty, you can expect savings of around 11% when you clear the dirt. Keep your fridge’s temperature around 3 degrees Celsius with the freezer at around -17; maintain this steady temperature to optimise performance. Also, pack the freezer! It takes far more energy to freeze items in an empty freezer than a full one.”
Start Saving Today
There’s no end to rising energy prices with gloomy price forecasts and dwindling natural gas supplies. However, with a bit of careful planning, you can make significant savings on your household bills.
Start with simple things like lighting. Ditch incandescent bulbs and replace them with energy-efficient LEDs. If you regularly forget to switch off lights when you leave a room, the one-off cost of automatic timers will save you a small fortune in the long run. Are you a sucker for standby mode? Forget about convenience and start making manual shutdown a daily ritual.
In the kitchen, plenty of ways to scale back your energy usage. When using a kettle, only boil as much water as you need at any one time. If you have a tumble dryer installed, lighten the load by putting your laundry through a final spin in the washing machine. Fridges and freezers must always be plugged in, but you can still ensure they operate as efficiently as possible. Pack out those shelves and drawers to ensure you’re not spending on the energy you’re not using. You’ll also want to consider your appliances’ placement if you encounter any temperature or performance issues.