With PAGASA officially decreeing the start of summer in the Philippines, Filipinos can now expect more humid weather, along with scorching temperatures reaching as high as 46 degrees Celsius in some areas. This can leave most people feeling hot and sticky, and it can become incredibly tempting to leave your air conditioner on for the entire day. However, doing so can cause your electricity consumption to skyrocket and your bill to become more expensive. This may add to the agitation you already feel from the heat.
While using the aircon may be non-negotiable for the sake of your comfort and health, there are other ways to reduce your energy consumption. Switching to an inverter refrigerator is a step in the right direction, but you should also evaluate your lifestyle and habits for common mistakes that contribute to your electricity bill. Here are a few that you should watch out for and rectify if you want to lessen your energy consumption and spending.
Using Outdated Appliances
Using outdated appliances can be the number one reason why your electricity bill is so high. Older appliances are generally not as energy-efficient as their newer counterparts. Keep in mind that technology is constantly improving, so there is a higher chance of newer appliances having more efficient systems in place. Not only that, but older appliances may have aging hardware that requires more power—and therefore, more electricity—to function normally.
Admittedly, replacing your old appliances can be an expensive investment. Buying new devices, especially when you’re on a budget and the current one is still functional, may not rank high on your priority list. Nevertheless, if you want to make your home more energy-efficient and minimize your utility expenses, you need to identify these “vampire” sources that are using up more power than they should.
More often than not, the most energy-consuming appliances are washing machines, refrigerators, and televisions. If you are still using an older model, make sure to unplug the appliance when it’s not in use.
Choosing the Wrong Air Conditioner
While air conditioners do require more power than other cooling appliances like electric fans, it is a common misconception that all air conditioners are energy guzzlers. The key is choosing the right aircon for your home, which should take into consideration the size of the room or area it will be placed in, the style of your apartment or home, and the AC unit’s energy efficiency rating.
According to Meralco, choosing the wrong aircon size for a room can consume as much as 35 percent to 110 percent more energy than needed. So before you decide on what AC unit to buy, it’s a good idea to measure the room or area that it will be placed in and then match that to the unit’s horsepower. In general, you only need 0.5 horsepower to cool an area measuring six to 11 square meters.
You should also consider the layout of your home or apartment. Some units require a fully functional draining system to be installed by a window, whereas others can be placed anywhere near a socket.
Not Insulating Your Home
Cooling appliances, from your air cooler to your window type aircon, become less efficient when there are gaps in the walls or other opportunities for cool air to escape. Even if you have a small apartment and use the right aircon size, you may inadvertently be using more power because of poor insulation. These gaps in your windows and walls or under your door can force your aircon to exert more power to maintain an equilibrium temperature.
If you live in an older apartment, it may be a good idea to ask a heating and ventilation company to check your home’s insulation. This simple step can dramatically reduce your electricity bill.
Not Turning Off Idle Appliances
A good rule of thumb is to only turn on appliances that you intend to use. This also applies to your lights, as it is wasteful to leave them on even in rooms that no one is in. While lightbulbs generally do not consume as much energy as bigger appliances, they still require power, which can add to your electricity bill.
The same holds true for consumer electronics such as laptops, televisions, and game consoles. Turn these devices off when they are not being used, and consider unplugging them as well to prevent them from continuing to consume electricity while in standby mode.
Using Appliances During Peak Time
Similar to how you need to pay more for travel during Holy Week or other holidays, you may need to pay more for electricity during peak times of usage. You may notice that your electricity bill is slightly higher in April and May, even if you consume the same amount of energy. This is because more people are demanding power for the same supply.
While it is a good idea to limit your energy consumption as much as you can, prioritize the use of cooling devices on hot days and always consider your safety first. The Department of Health warns that heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is caused by too much exposure to the sun or heat. If you begin to feel weak or are suffering from severe headaches, then you should find ways to cool yourself. Don’t hesitate to use the aircon or turn on as many fans as you need if it will help prevent heat exhaustion.
If you are worried about getting a high electricity bill, make sure to check your home and habits for mistakes that may be contributing to unnecessary power consumption. You may need to invest a bit in some of these corrective measures, but taking these steps now will limit your energy consumption in the future.
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