Paying electricity bills is one problem everyone has in common in Nigeria. Electricity bills can be high and pose a financial constraint to us, even so for those with large families and many electrical appliances. Most times, we go about with our hearts in our hands when it’s that time of the month when power distribution companies share their bills because we do not even know what to expect. In our DIY article, we shared simple but pragmatic tips on how to calculate your electricity bill yourself from the comfort of your home. Knowing this will not only save you money but also give you a head-on approach on how to manage your electrical appliances so that it consumes less power. The resultant of this is that you would learn smart ways of managing your home appliances, thus saving yourself the headache that comes with enormous electricity bills.
Let’s begin by making simple changes in our daily routine to keep energy usage low. It will cost us nothing in terms of money and effort, but the rewards are plenty. Below are some energy-saving tips in our homes:
Switch off, but Beware of the Power Vampire
The simplest way to reduce electricity consumption is to follow the mantra: “switch off when not in use”. Light bulbs, air conditioners, and fans need not be left on when you are not in the room. For televisions, the wider your screen, the more electricity it consumes. But why not take a step further and switch them of at the source/wall plug – even better, unplug the appliance. What we call the “Power Vampire” sucks out energy even when appliances are on standby mode. Any indicator lights and digital displays are all signs of electricity being drained and added to your bill.
Read: Energy Vampires
Look for Energy Labels
Look for energy stickers on appliances like air-conditioners, fans, refrigerators, and televisions. The number of stars given (1-5) indicates how energy-efficient the appliance is (more stars mean less energy used). The sticker should also tell you how much energy you can save with this appliance, compared to an average 3-star model.
Make Appliances more Efficient:
Air-conditioners: ideally, temperatures should be set at 24-26◦C – a comfortable temperature without resorting to sweaters and blankets. Also, air-conditioners should be installed away from sunlight, serviced regularly and be of a horsepower suited to the size of the room. This will make sure they perform optimally. Close windows and doors when the air-conditioner units are in use.
Refrigerators: Make sure that it is not located near a cooker, stove or oven and not exposed to direct sunlight. There should be adequate space above, behind and round it for air circulation. Adjust its temperature according to the contents load – never pack contents tightly in a fridge. A suitable temperature is 15◦C and for the compartment, 18◦C. Never let the frost build up to exceed 6mm and always switch off when defrosting. Ensure that all excess water is removed before restarting.
Check that door gasket are in good conditions – use a sheet of paper, if it can be removed easily from the door when closed, then the door gasket needs to be replaced. The same goes for the door gaskets of ovens and microwave ovens. Inspect them regularly for signs of wear and tear.
Irons: Steam irons use more electricity than dry irons, because of the extra element of water which has to be heated up. Ironing clothes in one big session is also more energy efficient than ironing them piecemeal (one after the other).
Washing Machines: If you have a washing machine, run it only on full load, but do not overload. Avoid using the hot washing cycle whenever possible.
Light Bulbs: Change your light bulbs to energy efficient ones. And if you can afford it, change your bulbs to light emitting diodes (LED), as they last much longer, consume less energy, are eco-friendly, durable, light up instantly, and can be switched off and on frequently without affecting its lifetime or light emission.
Understand your electricity bill
Your electricity usage is calculated in kilowatts per hour (KWH). The kilowatts used depend on the size and amount of electrical appliances used in your house (ranging from small items like lights and phone chargers to large appliances like refrigerators). The more appliances you have and the bigger the capacity, the more electricity you will use. The ‘hour’ in KWH is calculated on the duration that the electrical appliances are used. Obviously, the longer they are turned on, the more electricity they consume.
Do your own audit: Calculate your bill yourself
Find out how much electricity your home appliances use. All you need to know are:
- Power rating/energy usage per appliance.
- The number of hours you use the appliance.
- The electricity tariff.