With news looming over the horizon that a hike in electricity rates may occur in Trinidad and Tobago, we share with you 7 simple tips to lower your electricity bill. Hopefully, with some discipline, you can get your electricity bill down to TT$300 to qualify for the 25% rebate offered by the electrical company.
Change your outside bulbs. Security is an issue for everyone so it is customary to see the exterior of houses well lit all night. These lights that we leave on overnight to deter whatever lurks in the darkness are very essential to us. We recommend switching these lights from incandescent ones to more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL), or better yet LED bulbs. These cost more than incandescent bulbs but they last longer. CFLs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs and LEDs use 90% less energy. Some compact fluorescent bulbs can last up to 8 years and LEDs up to 35 years. So, when you factor in the amount of incandescent bulbs that you would purchase over an 8 or 35-year period, you will see where the more energy-efficient alternatives will pay for themselves as the savings keep on mounting.
Cool your home differently. Air conditioning has become increasingly popular as the price of an air condition unit and installation generally has come down a bit, and with hotter days on average. Here are a few tips that could lessen a households dependency on a/c and in turn help bring down the electricity bill:
– Shield your home from the sun. You can try landscaping for shade by planting a shade tree on the sunny side of your house to block out the heat that is absorbed by your house. This of course is a long term measure and would depend on how much space you have available around your property.
– Paint your roof white for an immediate impact on the cost of cooling your house. Since buildings with white roofs require up to 40% less energy for cooling than those with darker or black roofs, there is the added benefit of increasing the lifespan of your roof by using an elastomeric coating.
– Use a ceiling fan or a conventional standing fan to circulate the air so that the a/c unit does not work as hard to cool the space.
– Ensure that all doorways and windows leading outside are properly sealed so that the unit does not have to be running continuously.
– Use blinds or drapes to shield sunny rooms from the sun.
– Install tinted window film.
Switch to a more energy efficient heater. After a hard day at work there is nothing better than a hot shower, however, water heaters use a lot of electricity. Consider getting a tankless heater as these are more energy efficient as they don’t have to heat an entire tank. If you already own one, you may lower the temperature to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). This is generally sufficient. At this temperature you wouldn’t have to worry about accidental scalding. Also, some washing machines give you the option of washing in hot or cold water, just wash in cold water. The less hot water you use the less your heater has to work and the lower your electricity bill would be.
Dry your clothes in the sun. If you use a laundry dryer for clothes you already know that this can seriously affect your bill. Use the sun as there is plenty of it and it is free. If you must use your dryer ensure that it is working at optimum efficiency. Remove the lint from your dryer trap after each load to maximise your dryer’s efficiency. Then, scrub it down with soapy water and a brush once every couple months to remove any additional lint trapped in the screen.
Eliminate phantom loads. Most devices nowadays stay on when we switch them off. There is always some light on in the dark reminding us where we left the TV or computer. Surprisingly, 75 percent of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they’re turned off. These “phantom” users include: televisions, VCRs, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings. A simple solution? Plug all of these items into power strips; then, get in the habit of turning off the strips between uses.
To save money, do a nightly sweep through the house to make sure all your electric devices are turned off before you go to bed. It may be a pain, but the savings from simply turning off everything can add up quickly. Try turning off your devices between uses and watch the savings climb.
Choose energy efficient appliances. When upgrading appliances, look for the Energy Star label that says that it is energy efficient.
Monitor your meter. Mistakes do happen so you should ensure that you are paying for what you have actually used. Check the reading on your meter against the reading on your electricity bill to ensure that you are not being over charged.
All these steps can help in decreasing the amount of electricity that a house uses. It is through discipline, some maintenance and conservative use of our appliances that we can really reduce the strain that we place on the electricity grid as a whole.
November 2016 www.sweettntmagazine.com