In the current lockdown, we might all expect our future electricity bills to be a little higher than usual. Of course, that’s down to using up more resources like water and electricity as we spend more time at home. That's why now is a particularly good time to learn more about your habits, fix bad behaviours and adopt new ones which could increase energy efficiency in your home.
You might have heard the term "energy efficiency" before, whether referring to reducing the energy used in your home or simply easing the burden on the planet. In whichever case, the meaning is similar: it all involves using energy efficiently, with minimal waste. In this blog post, we're going to explain how you can put this into practice in your own home and avoid nasty surprises in your next electricity bills.
We hope you'll find these seven energy-saving tips useful!
1. Watch out for doors and windows
Whatever the season, doors and windows are our best friends when it comes to maintaining a steady temperature in our homes. But there are several habits you can take up to have a positive impact on the amount of electricity you consume: for example, keeping them properly closed, opening blinds to let the sun warm up the room, and allowing fresh air in for just 10-15 minutes a day at most.
Making investments like installing double-glazing can halve the amount of energy used for heating. The same goes for doors: the better the insulation, the lesser the chances of warm or cool air escaping through the gaps.
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2. Phantom energy use
Phantom, or “vampire energy” use, refers to the electricity consumed by devices when they are switched off, but not unplugged. For example, when you switch off your TV, it still uses around 10 to 15% as much electricity as when you're watching it. The same goes for other appliances, like washing machines, dishwashers, and even chargers for our smartphones and tablets—those most of us leave plugged in, even when we're not using them to charge our devices. We recommend that you use power strips for your sockets, so disconnecting them is as easy as flipping a switch.
3. Take shorter showers
We all love to take hot showers, but it's not just the temperature of the water that goes up with every song you sing along with—your electricity bills soar too! Take shorter showers and try to get used to lukewarm water. That also goes for the washing machine. Run it with cold water and you won't just be saving energy and money—you'll also avoid colors running.
4. Energy labels
It’s a good time to find out how much energy each of your household appliances use. If they’re still functioning well, you won’t need to replace them yet (although it might be worthwhile to substitute them if they're very old!) but when that time comes, it's helpful to understand the different energy labels. The EU energy label uses ratings such as A+, A++ and A+++, and provides details on how much each appliance uses.
5. Don't use the oven for every meal
The oven is one of the most useful kitchen appliances, but it also consumes the most energy. That's why we recommend limiting how often and how long you use it for. You can also save energy by not opening the oven door every few minutes to check on the cooking, as the oven loses heat with each opening. This also goes for the fridge and freezer, as well as the pots and pans when you're cooking on the stove.
6. Turn off the lights! (and switch to LEDs)
Turn off the lights whenever possible, and use low-energy LEDs for your lightbulbs. These generate the same amount of light using 40% less energy than their fluorescent counterparts, and 80% less than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
Widespread use of LED lighting decreases carbon dioxide emissions, making it a highly environmentally-friendly alternative.
7. Keep your appliances up to date
We don't all have a pyrolytic oven at home, so simple habits such as cleaning your air conditioner filter once a year, removing the grime from your fridge's door seal, and getting rid of the dust that builds up on the blades of cooling fans of certain devices will help keep them working properly...and they'll last longer!
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For the planet and for your pocket
At N26, we encourage you to try these tips at home so you can see for yourself what are their effects on your electricity and water bills and how much they cut them back. Stay home and take control of your energy consumption.