How to save on your utilities bill

Energy conservation is all the rage these days, but you don’t have to be an environmentalist to want to do your part. After all, being more conscious of your energy usage can also save you money. Here are some tips that are friendly to both the environment and your wallet.

by Cheryl Marie Tay

1. Cool off on cooling down

Amid the unbearable heat and humidity in Singapore, the air-conditioner is the messiah of appliances. But over-reliance on it can result in a hefty utilities bill. To ensure more controlled usage, you can set a timer on your air-conditioning unit whenever you use it.

If you sleep in an air-conditioned room, for instance, switch it on before you head to bed, and time it to switch off as your daily alarm goes off. Besides lowering your monthly utilities bill, the combination of the alarm and your warmer room is bound to get you out of bed.

2. Moneyed laundering

Laundry is a water-intensive chore, but modern technology has provided “smart” washers that can minimise your usage. Even with older machines, one simple way to conserve energy is to wash your clothes on a cold cycle, as more energy is required to heat the water for a warm cycle.

The energy rating on any appliance is important, and a high rating on a washer means it is water-efficient, which translates into cost savings as well. Washing a full load of laundry instead of a few smaller loads also helps to lower your energy and water usage.

3. Making light of things

Energy-saving when it comes to lighting is not just a simple matter of switching the lights off before you leave the room. Energy-efficient bulbs play a part as well, and the type of lighting you choose does make a difference.

The wattage of a bulb has to be within the capacity of the lighting fixture you intend to use it for, as too high a wattage not only consumes more energy, but presents a fire hazard. It also helps to do your research on the different kinds of commercially available light bulbs before you buy them. For example, halogen and LED bulbs tend to use less energy and therefore, save you more money.

4. Be green while you get clean

It’s common knowledge that shutting off the shower faucet while you shampoo your hair and lather yourself up saves a lot of water and drastically lowers your utilities bill. But what else can you do while showering to reduce your water usage?

For one, you do not always need to have the faucet at maximum strength. While a strong jet can get you clean more quickly, it tends to result in water wastage. If you are not conscientious enough to take note of such details, invest in a shower timer that lowers the jet strength towards the end of your shower.

5. Spend to save

It may seem prudent to buy cheaper appliances for your home in order to maximise your savings, but in the long run, it could cost you more. While energy-efficient products tend to be more expensive, they also lead to significantly lower utilities bills.

Think of your appliances as long-term investments. If you can afford it, the energy-efficient option is always superior. And since many electrical and appliance stores allow buyers to pay via monthly instalments, affordability may not be such a big issue after all.

6. Dishing out savings

Whether you own a dishwasher or wash your dishes the old-fashioned way, careful usage is imperative to lowering your utilities bill.

Like a washing machine, a dishwasher is more energy-efficient when using cold water for full loads. You don’t have to pre-rinse your dishes, and you can let them air-dry instead of using the dishwasher’s electric heat or fan. If you hand wash your dishes, be sure to apply dishwashing liquid to all the dishes before washing them. This saves not just water but also time.

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