With a large number of Singaporeans continuing to work from home and as a result, spending more time at home, residents have seen a spike in their utility bills. With prudent use and sustainable practices, here are a few ways to keep the utility bills under control without compromising too much on convenience.
7 electricity-saving tips
- Switch off the power source when not in use
Do not leave appliances such as televisions, TV set-up boxes, speakers, and microwave ovens on standby as they can use up power. Switch them off at the source to reduce electricity consumption. Additionally, unplugged devices can’t start fires or shock someone, therefore, leading to better safety at home.
2. Opt for energy-efficient appliances
Before purchasing new appliances, check the labels and opt for those with 4- or 5-tick energy efficient ratings. Though the upfront cost may be slightly higher, households will save more over the lifetime of the appliance. For essential appliances such as refrigerators, take into consideration whether additional features, such as automatic icemakers and through-the-door dispensers are needed as they increase energy use.
In the same vein, opt for an electric heat pump water heater, which is more energy-efficient than an electric instantaneous and storage water heater. This is because less electricity is used to transfer heat from the ambient air to heat water instead of generating heat directly.
3. Switch to LED lights
LED bulbs generally use the least amount of electricity to achieve the same brightness level. LED lights save up to 90% energy compared to a traditional bulb with the same light output. They also have a longer lifespan – giving you long-term cost savings while reducing the average monthly electricity bill. While a conventional bulb has a lifetime of about 2.000 hours, LED lighting can be used for up to 20.000 hours.
4. Keep the air-conditioner at 25 degrees Celsius
Due to Singapore’s hot and humid climate, air-conditioners have become a necessity for many households. Instead of blasting the air-conditioner at 18 degrees Celsius, set the temperature to 25 degrees Celsius and set the fan mode on auto. This will allow the air-conditioner to regulate its fan speed according to the room’s temperature to keep it cool and quiet. Such measures will help to save energy and money.
5. Switch to a fan
Compared to air conditioners, fans use less than 10 per cent of the electricity when switched on for the same amount of time. Try opening the windows and switching to a fan to keep cool naturally.
6. Air dry clothes
Tumble dryers are one of the home’s most energy-hungry appliances. They also reduce clothes lifespan. Instead, hang your garments out in the fresh air to prolong their lifespan. Unlike countries with cold climate, Singapore’s hot and humid weather is ideal for air-drying clothes and saving on utilities.
7. Make the transition from desktops to laptops
Laptops are more energy efficient in comparison to desktops. While desktop computers use 60 to 300 watts per hour, laptops only consume approximately 30 to 70 watts per hour. The exact amount depends on what kind of programmes the laptop is being used for. For example, if it is being used to play videos, then the power usage will be marginally higher.
7 water-saving tips
To optimise the consumption of water at home and save costs in the long run, try practising the following:
- Perform a half-flush whenever possible
Each half-flush uses only three litres of water, compared to 4.5 litres for a full flush. In fact, low-flow models use as little as 1.6 gallons. Since the average person flushes five times a day, the gallons can quickly add up if calculated on a weekly or monthly basis. Leaks are a big reason for water wastage. To check for a toilet leak, put dye or food colouring into the tank. If colour appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that should be repaired.
2. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth
This will help save up to 23 litres of water every day, enough to fill 153 toothbrush mugs.
3. Turn off the shower when soaping
This habit can save up to 27 litres of water every day.
4. Keep used water from food preparation to water plants
Don’t pour away the water from rinsing fruits, vegetables or uncooked rice. It can be used to water the plants.
5. Wash fruit and vegetables using a container
This can save up to 33 litres of water every day, enough to boil four big pots of soup.
6. Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher
Some new washing machines use less than seven litres of water for each kilogramme of clothes, while modern dishwashers can use as little as 10 to 15 litres of water a cycle. However, if you don’t cook often at home, consider washing the dishes by hand, which is a more sustainable practice.
7. Take a shower instead of a bath
A five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water – half the volume of a standard bath.
Sources: DBS, SP Power, PUB