If you always dread the day your electricity bill arrives in the mail every month, it is probably time for you to cut back on your energy consumption.
There has been much buzz recently about climate change.
With record-setting heatwaves across Europe and the Singapore government coming forward to address tackling climate change as a "pressing priority", it is crucial for all of us to use lesser energy than we need.
Furthermore, you get to save money if you take steps in your daily life to cut your energy usage.
Here are 9 lifestyle changes you can integrate into your daily life to save the earth and reduce your bills at the same time.
We've sorted them in increasing order of effort required - from things that you can do right away, to things that will help you save in the longer-term with some effort.
#1 REMOVE ALL PLUGS FROM THE SOCKET EVEN IF THE SWITCH IS OFFPHOTO: Pixabay
Leaving your plug in the socket, even if the switch is turned off, will drain energy because of a phenomenon known as standby power mode, or 'ghost load'.
Power is constantly drawn from the electrical grid into the appliance, and it is estimated that standby power could cost as much as $100 per year.
So, do more than just turning off all switches before you sleep. Spend a few more minutes unplugging your devices and stop accumulating unnecessary bills.
#2 WASH YOUR CLOTHES WITH COLD WATER
You might be surprised to learn that 90 per cent of the energy used to activate a washing machine comes from heating the water.
Consumer Reports' experts say that you'll save energy washing your laundry in cold water. Furthermore, using cold water also enables enzymes in detergents to work better in removing dirt at lower temperatures.
#3 CHOOSE TO HANG YOUR CLOTHES IN THE MORNINGPHOTO: Pixabay
The sun in the morning (9 am) to afternoon (4 pm) is usually the brightest. This is the perfect time for you to hang your clothes out to dry.
The heat from the sun also can kill bacteria and disinfect your clothes. (Bonus: spin-dry your clothes in the washing machine to cut down on drying time)
Clothes dryers are one of the most energy-draining appliances as it takes a lot of electricity to generate heat to dry clothes. Avoid unnecessary expenditure by making use of our Earth's natural heating source.
#4 AIR-DRY YOUR DISHES AND CUTLERYPHOTO: Pexels
If you are used to drying your dishes using the heat-dry cycle in your dishwasher, consider leaving them out in the air to dry instead. Dishwashers use a lot of electricity to generate motors to dry your dishes.
Invest in a good rack to arrange your dishes. It's fuss-free and most importantly, it's free!
If you insist on using a dishwasher, make sure that you load your dishes and cutlery properly so that the heat is most efficiently distributed. Also, use it only when you have a full load to dry.
#5 AVOID USING THE OVEN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
If you need to heat up food, do not always rely on the oven. Smaller appliances such as the microwave or toaster will also do a perfect job of warming up food.
Use smaller appliances for smaller food items such as a sandwich or a bowl of pasta. They use considerably less electricity than an oven during reheating, so you'll be sure to save energy and money.
#6 INSTALL DIMMABLE LED BULBS AND LIGHTS
If you have yet to replace all light bulbs in your home with LED bulbs, now is the time to do so. LED lighting is brighter than traditional light bulbs yet consume less power.
If you want to reduce your electricity bill even further, get LED lights that work with dimmer switches.
Dimmer switches can be controlled by a physical switch or through a mobile app. You can dim your lights when you feel it is too bright, hence reducing wattage and money.
#7 SWITCH TO AN OPEN ELECTRICITY MARKET RETAILER
From November 2018, residential households islandwide got to pick from 13 electricity retailers to buy electricity from. As of May 2019, the Open Electricity Market (OEM) has taken effect islandwide.
In this DollarsAndSense article, we have compiled all the information you need about the OEM, and how to go about choosing the best retailer based on your household electricity bill.
Don't procrastinate further - sign up for the most suitable OEM retailer for you to enjoy savings right away.
#8 AVOID USING PORTABLE AIR-CON UNITS
Generally, a portable air con unit consumes lesser energy compared to a wall-mounted or window air conditioner.
However, a wall-mounted air conditioner uses energy more efficiently than a portable air con unit.
This is because there are several factors in play, such as the size of your room and the efficiency standards of your aircon unit. A portable air con might use more energy to cool a larger room compared to a wall-mounted unit.
Portable air conditioners are also generally more expensive than wall-mounted units of the same cooling capacity.
#9 INSTALL AN ENERGY MONITOR
The best way to save on your electricity bill is to track your energy consumption levels.
Some air conditioners and microwaves come with features such as digital remotes and timers which allows you to monitor your electricity consumption levels.
You can also buy smart plugs to find out how much electricity each appliance is consuming and decide if you want to replace certain devices with more energy-efficient ones.
This article was first published in Dollars and Sense.