You have heeded the typical advice: turning off the lights when not in the room, using energy-efficient appliances around the house, reducing shower times, etc. But you’re still staring at the bottom line of your utility bill knowing you can do better. If you are looking to lower your utility bills even further, here are additional hacks you may not have thought of to help save you more costs.
1. Fill your refrigerator to two-thirds full
Over-filling and under-filling your refrigerator will cost you. Stocking up too many items in the fridge tends to block up the vents but a near-empty fridge means your appliance has to work extra hard to keep things cool inside since cold items in the fridge can help to keep temperatures low.
2. Don’t locate your refrigerator next to your oven or hob
When choosing a location for your refrigerator, place it in an area where it’s away from other sources of heat like your oven or hob as well as from direct sunlight. Keeping it close to these heat sources will make your fridge work harder to keep things cool inside.
Design: Rockin Spaces
3. Use a dishwasher (the right way) instead of hand washing dishes
When it comes to using less water, a dishwasher trumps hand washing—but only if you are using an energy-efficient (three ticks) dishwasher on a full load. To reduce the electricity costs to run a dishwasher in the first place, air-dry your dishes instead of using the heated drying function.
>>Read more: A Stress-Free Guide to Getting a Dishwasher
Design: The Interior Lab
4. Buy your washing machine in the right size
Every time you run a load, you are using water and electricity. So make sure you get a washing machine capacity that fits your household size. Too small, and you will likely need to run a couple more loads in a week. Too large, and you are wasting extra water and electricity every time you run a load.
5. Reduce the rinse + spin cycles and use cold water
In a wash cycle, hot water will always use up more electricity than cold water. So unless your clothes are very soiled (rarely the case), always stick to cold water when washing your clothes. Use the right amount of detergent so you won’t need to extend the rinsing cycle. For those air drying your clothes, reducing the spin cycle can also help to cut down on energy use.
Design: Jesswan Interior
6. Invest in window solar films to lower utility bills
Window solar films are designed to either reflect away or absorb heat, which means less reliance on appliances like your fans and air-conditioning to keep your space cool. When comparing between solar films to see which is best, ensure that you are comparing ones with the same visible light transmission (VLT). This is the amount of light that can be filtered through. A higher value TSER (total solar energy rejected) will mean the film is better at blocking out heat, assuming both solar films have the same VLT.
7. Use your microwave to reheat leftovers
Because microwaves heat up food at a much quicker rate compared to conventional ovens or the hob, you are essentially using less energy to heat up your food. Always a good option to use your microwave to heat up leftovers.
8. Consider getting a thermal cooker to cook your meals
A thermal cooker works by trapping heat to cook food rather than relying on electricity or gas. It features an inner and outer pot. Food in the inner pot is cooked on a hob till it is boiled/heated up. Then it is removed from the stove and placed within the outer pot to continue the cooking process with the residual heat trapped inside. This cuts down on electricity and gas usage to save costs on your utility bills.
9. Rely on task lights rather than ambient lights
Ambient lights like your ceiling and overhead lights help to illuminate the entire space, therefore requiring quite a bit of energy. Task lighting is more focused and illuminates a smaller area. By switching on your task lighting more often, you reduce the need to rely on your ambient lights, resulting in extra cost savings.
Design: MSR Interior Design
10. Going with an open concept floor plan
Turns out, there’s one more benefit to open floor plans—you get to lower your utility bills! An open floor plan allows for more natural light and ventilation to come through to the different areas of the home, so this means less reliance on artificial lighting and cooling devices.
Design: ROOOT Studio
11. Adjust the brightness levels of your screens
Maximum brightness on your TVs may boost your cinematic experience at home, but the trade-off is that it’s going to push your utility bills upwards since it consumes more energy. Plus, staring at too bright screens can also strain your eyes. Give your organs of sight a break and save some costs by reducing the brightness and contrast levels on your telly (and other screens like your desktops and laptops).
Design: MMJ Design
12. Unplug what you can
Vampire power is a real thing. This is the energy that gets consumed and wasted just because your appliances and devices are plugged in even when they are not in use. We all know it can be a pain to plug things in and out, but it definitely beats seeing your too-high bills at the end of the month (vampire power is estimated to take up at least 10% of our utility bills). Common culprits that are sucking energy and can be easily unplugged when not in use include: coffee makers, electric kettles, phone charges, electric toothbrushes, computers and laptops, microwave ovens, air fryers, robot vacuums and printers.
This article was originally posted on Renonation.sg, Singapore’s leading renovation and interior design site.