How to Manage Your Utilities like a Boss

How To Manage Your Utilities Like a Boss

You’ve settled very nicely into your new digs, and just as you’re starting to get the hang of things – your first bill lands on your lap. C’est la vie.

As a new bill payer you can expect to receive a lovely letter from ARMS every 8 weeks or so, detailing your water and electricity consumption with the corresponding charges.

Of course, one way to combat high utilities bills is to invest in appliances with high efficiency ratings – it may be an added burden on your savings at the time of purchase, but it tends to pay off once those ARMS bills start coming through. However, we don’t all get to choose our appliances, or may have to opt for less efficient systems so let’s focus on the change we can make happen!

In this article, we’ll explore how to manage your utilities by taking a good look around your home to find ways to slash your monthly energy bills with a few simple tweaks to your routine.

Depending on your current consumption levels, the savings obtained by using these tips may vary quite a bit; however, even a few euros shaved from the bills each month will add up to a tidy sum over a whole year. Mhux hekk!

Lighting and electrical appliances

Technology has given us so many innovative options to reduce our carbon footprint – let’s take a look!

  • Basic, but easy to forget if you’re distracted… switch off the lights when you’re not in the room!
  • Replace conventional light bulbs with modern energy-saving ones. They may cost more, but you’ll quickly recoup the price in the savings made on your energy bills.
  • Replacing T8 fluorescent tubes with the slimmer T5 fluorescent tubes can cut down energy consumption by up to 40%.
  • Don’t leave any electronic equipment on standby/hibernate/suspend mode. Switch them off entirely if they’re not going to be used.
  • Don’t leave your mobile phone charger plugged in when you are not charging your phone because it will continue consuming electricity even when the battery is fully charged.
  • When buying a new electrical appliance or gadget, make sure that it has been certified with a grade A energy efficiency label or better.

Saving money in the kitchen

We all know this is where the real magic happens. Most of your electricity consumption probably happens right here in the kitchen.

  • Clean out the fridge and freezer regularly as the build-up of frost increases energy consumption. While cleaning them, you should also check that the doors on your fridge and freezer seal properly to avoid cold air from escaping.
  • Avoid placing food that is still piping hot or warm into the fridge; let it cool down first.
  • When cooking on your oven hob, remember to put lids on pots and to turn down the heat when water starts to boil to save on gas or electricity.
  • When cooking food inside your oven, avoid the temptation to open the oven door to check how the food is coming along as you’ll lose a large amount of heat each time you do. A microwave oven is actually the most efficient cooking appliance in your kitchen. Use it more often!
  • When making hot beverages, measure out the exact amount of water you need. Not only will you save gas or electricity, but it will also boil more quickly.
  • Only start the dishwasher once it’s loaded to full capacity, and make sure to use the eco setting!

Don’t flush money down the drain

  • Don’t leave the water running while you’re shaving, washing your hair or brushing your teeth.
  • When installing a new water heater, choose the smallest possible size that fits your household’s needs and try to install it as close as possible to the water taps.
  • Switch off the water heater during the day and turn it on around 30-45 minutes before use. If possible, try to bathe at around the same time so that the household can use the water heated once.
  • If possible, install a timer for your water heater – some new models come with this preinstalled!
  • Reducing the temperature setting on your water heater by just 5°C cuts down energy consumption by 10%.
  • If you installed a solar water heater with an electric booster, set the booster to turn on in winter only after sunset (around 5.00 pm – 5.30 pm in Malta during the winter months), or early in the morning before sunrise.

Cooling, heating and insulation

Maltese homes struggle to keep insulated. This is a fact – so let’s see what little changes we can do to tackle this.

  • Install draught blockers and weatherproofing tape around doors and windows to improve insulation.
  • Set your air conditioner flaps for optimal circulation – all the way down when heating (hot air rises!), or at 180° when cooling.
  • Remember to clean your air conditioner filters regularly.
  • Buy electric heaters that have a thermostat or energy regulator installed. Set the temperature to just a few degrees above or below outside temperature depending on whether you want to warm up or cool down the room.
  • Don’t leave heaters running for long stretches of time. Once the room is warm, switch it off.
  • If you have an electric blanket, switch it about 30 minutes before you go to bed and turn it off as soon as you get into bed to avoid consuming excess energy. Better still, pile on some warm bed covers and get yourself a cosy pyjama to stay warm in bed at no extra cost!

Washing and drying the clothes

 

  • Set the washing machine at the lowest water temperature (usually 30 °C) and only run it when there is a full load. Avoid putting it too much detergent.
  • When using a tumble dryer, dry heavy items separately from lighter ones. If it’s sunny outside, hang them on a clothesline or a clothes horse/drying rack instead.

Il-flus mhux kollox

We only have one world, let’s look after it.