You might be again surprised with the recent increase of your electric bills. In places where the weather is humid, the tendency is the power rate to swell also.

But if you’re not aware on how to save energy at home, you’ll surely have a big headache on how to pay for your electric bill that’s beyond your regular allocation.

The following are some useful tips that you could consider applying it on your daily routines, as suggested by Manila Electric Company (Meralco):

General Appliances

  • Keep your appliances well-maintained. They operate more efficiently and use less energy when in good working order.
  • When shopping for appliances, you can think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price—think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You’ll be paying for that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 20 years; room air conditioners and dishwashers, about 10 years each; and washing machines, about 14 years.
  • Unplug all electronic equipment when not in use. Transformers or voltage regulators need to be unplugged when not in use as they can heat up and consume more electricity.

Lighting

  • Lighting costs can account for up to 20% to 30% of your electrical bill, so it is important to conserve on lighting consumption.
  • Use natural light whenever possible. It is the best source of light and will help you save kilowatt hours. Strategically arrange your household in such a way that you can use natural light. Place reading tables near windows and put skylights in other working areas.
  • Use lamps that provide direct lighting over desks, beds, and other work areas. This method saves more energy compared to the higher wattage lighting needed to illuminate the whole room.
  • Use low wattage light bulbs in areas that do not need strong lighting such as hallways, foyers and doorways.
  • Turn off lights when not needed.
  • Clean lighting fixtures regularly, as dirt will lessen illumination by as much as 50%. One can work more effectively under good lighting which lessens the hours of operation of lamps. In contrast, poor lighting will make someone work longer thus increasing electrical consumption.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Although CFLs cost higher than incandescent bulbs, they use up only 25% of the energy being used up by incandescent bulbs, and last eight times longer. A 16-watt CFL produces the same light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb at a quarter of the energy cost.

Washing Machine

  • A washing machine make laundry work a lot easier compared to manual washing, and can save us valuable work time. Although a washing machine comes with additional electrical costs, there are many ways to get the most out of this appliance while still being energy efficient.
  • Maximize the operation of your washing machine. Use a water level appropriate for the size of the load. If your washing machine doesn’t have different water level selections for different loads, always try to wash in full loads; this is more energy efficient than washing two small loads. However, do not overload your unit. Overloading makes your machine work harder and inefficiently.
  • Use the proper amount of detergent. Too many suds may require extra rinsing which makes your machine use more energy.
  • Do not over-wash clothes. Different types of clothes require different wash cycles. Delicate clothes do not take as long as dirty work clothes.
  • Presoak soiled garments to avoid using additional wash cycles.
  • When using your spinner, make sure that water is drained from the cylinder and clothes are squeezed to effectively spin-dry clothes.
  • Properly place your clothes inside the spinner to avoid unnecessary vibrations which would prevent the spinner from functioning efficiently.

Clothes Dryer

  • A clothes dryer is usually the second or third largest electricity-consuming appliance in your home. With its heating nature similar to water heaters and flat irons, the cost of operating a dryer is very significant. Knowing how to operate the machine efficiently will significantly help bring down your electric bill.
  • Sort clothes when drying. The dryer operates most efficiently when drying clothes of the same thickness. Dry heavy clothes such as cotton towels, jeans, or jackets separately from light clothing such as underwear and summer clothes. Light-weight clothes take less drying time than a mixture of items.
  • Make sure that clothes are effectively squeezed before putting them inside the dryer.
  • Run only on full loads, as small loads are less economical. However, don’t overload the machine. Air needs to be able to circulate around the clothes to properly dry them.
  • Don’t over-dry clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it. If it has a timer, consider shortening the drying time.
  • Dry two or more loads in a row and make use of the hot air that’s already in the dryer from the first load.
  • Locate your dryer in a warm and dry space. A clothes dryer in a cold or damp basement will have to work harder to get your clothes dry.
  • Clean the fluff out of the filter before every load to allow better air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods and lint kits.
  • Regularly inspect the outside dryer vent. If it doesn’t close tightly, replace it. You’ll keep outside air from leaking in, reducing heating and/or cooling bills.
  • Hang clothes to dry on sunny days to lessen the use of your dryer.

Clothes Iron

  • Ironing typically takes several hours to accomplish and uses up as much energy as ten 100-watt light bulbs. Aside from the appliance’s wattage rating, the number of hours it is being used also affects its electricity cost. There are simple ways on how you can shorten ironing time, hence, electricity consumption.
  • Iron large batches of clothing at one time to avoid wasting energy and reheating the iron several times.
  • Dampen clothes moderately. Excessively moistened clothes take longer to iron.
  • Do not overheat the iron. Set the temperature appropriately for the type of clothes to avoid scorching and wasting energy.
  • Iron first those fabrics that require lower temperature to reduce warm up time, and then work up to those requiring higher heat.
  • Switch the iron off in the last few minutes of ironing. The remaining heat will be enough to press lighter materials.
  • By removing clothing promptly from the dryer/clothesline and folding them carefully, many items will re-quire no ironing, or just a quick press, thus saving on electricity. It is also unnecessary to iron towels, drip-dry shirts, etc.

Rice Cooker

  • Kitchen appliances, like rice cookers, stoves, ovens and refrigerators, account for approximately 26% of an average household’s electricity use. By having the right cooking habits and practicing simple energy conservation techniques, you can effectively reduce the electricity used to operate your kitchen appliances.
  • Rice cookers have a keep warm function used for maintaining the appropriate amount of heat needed to keep rice warm after it is cooked. You may prevent the unnecessary operation of the keep warm function by properly scheduling the cooking of rice in accordance to the eating time.
  • After using your rice cooker and every time it is not in use, unplug the power cord.
  • Observe proper cleaning of the rice cooker. Make sure that the inner pot and hot plate are free from any form of impurities such as burnt grains of rice or hardened food. The surface of the plate should be well cleaned and smooth to allow complete contact with the inner pot. This will ensure efficient and even heating.s
  • Choose the appropriate size of rice cooker according to your household needs. An oversized rice cooker would consume more energy than a properly sized rice cooker.

Oven/Microwave

  • Use glass pans. Glass retains heat, so you can set the oven to a lower temperature.
  • Cook several dishes that require about the same temperature in the oven simultaneously. This will shorten your oven’s operating time.
  • Keep preheating to a minimum.
  • Refrain from looking inside a working oven too often and instead use the oven light to check on the food. Twenty percent (20%) of the heat can be lost each time you open the oven door.
  • Turn the oven off before cooking is complete (up to 15 minutes, depending on the dish). The heat in the oven will continue to cook the dish until finished.
  • If you need to self-clean the oven, plan to do it after cooking a meal while the oven is already hot, requiring less energy to raise the temperature.
  • If available, use microwave or toaster ovens for cooking or warming leftovers. They use up to 30% less energy than regular ovens.
  • A microwave oven is an energy efficient alternative to a conventional oven. It cooks food faster because the energy heats only the food and not the oven compartment.

Stovetop

  • Plan ahead. Prepare all ingredients before cooking to avoid frequent switching of the electric stove.
  • Thaw frozen food thoroughly before cooking.
  • Use flat-bottomed pots and pans as they allow faster heat transfer. They consume up to 50% less energy.
  • Match pots and pans with the stove element. Avoid using a big burner for a small pan to lessen heat transfer loss. This can save up to 25% of the electricity you use while cooking.
  • Use the least amount of water and the smallest size of pan possible. Otherwise, you’re wasting energy to heat up excess water or excess metal.
  • Cover pots and pans with lids while cooking to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Turn off the electric stove during the last minutes of cooking. The remaining heat will be enough to keep the food simmering.

Dishwasher

  • Run the dishwasher when full. It requires the same amount of energy for a full load as it does for a half load.
  • Use the no heat drying option.
  • Don’t wash dishes twice. Although it depends upon the age of your dishwasher, most dishwashers can get your dishes clean even without rinsing them first by hand.

Refrigerator

  • When shopping for a new refrigerator, choose energy efficient models. You can identify them by checking the attached yellow label. Units that have a higher Energy Efficiency Factor are more energy efficient and cost less to operate. New refrigerator models use 30% less electricity than those built 10 years ago (before 1999).
  • Choose the refrigerator size appropriate for your household’s needs. An 8- to 10-cubic foot ref generally holds a food capacity for two people, while an extra cubic foot should be added for each additional person in the household. If the ref is too big and you don’t keep it filled, it wastes energy and costs more to operate; if too small, you waste energy by keeping the door open while constantly rearranging and making the contents fit.
  • Place refrigerators at least 4 inches away from the wall so as not to overwork the motor and to allow efficient heat release from the condenser coils.
  • Don’t position your refrigerator in direct sunlight or near heat-producing appliances like the stove.
  • On the other hand, it is better to keep the freezer full. The more air you displace with food and beverage, the less cold air you lose when you open the freezer door.
  • Allow hot food to cool to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator. Otherwise, the refrigerator works even harder to bring the temperature down.
  • Cover liquids, wrap food, and wipe off moisture from containers before putting them in the refrigerator. Uncovered food releases moisture, which makes the compressor work harder. It may also cause excessive build up of ice in your freezer.
  • Defrost regularly. When there is already ¼ inch frost build up, defrost your refrigerator. Too much frost makes your unit operate inefficiently.
  • To optimize the temperature setting of your refrigerator, store the most perishable items in the coldest part of your refrigerator which is usually the back or top shelf.
  • Open the refrigerator doors only when necessary.
  • Don’t store paper bags or any material behind the refrigerator. They can cut airflow, making the unit work harder.
  • Clean the condenser coils at least twice a year using a vacuum cleaner or broom. The coils at the back of the unit remove heat.

Electric Fan

  • Choose the right type of fan to cool down a particular place. Desk fans, for instance, are the most effective fans for small rooms. Stand fans, on the other hand, are best for medium-sized rooms. They offer great flexibility in providing the cool breeze you want because of their adjustable height levels. For large or spacious rooms, consider using ceiling fans. Ceiling fans have larger blades compared with other types of fans. The longer the blades, the more air they can push around. Ceiling fans are very efficient in stirring the cooler air along the floor to provide the necessary cooling in a room.
  • Get the right size of ceiling fan for your room. The sizes of a ceiling fan commonly range from 34” to 56” in diameter. Generally, a 36” fan is suitable for rooms that measure up to 9’x12’. A 48” fan is practical for rooms up to 12’x15’, and a 56” fan suits rooms larger than 12’x15’. A long and narrow room may require two fans for effective air circulation. Undersized fans are not effective to use because these would not pro-vide you the cooling requirements and comfort that you need.
  • Properly set your fan speed according to your cooling needs. The speed level setting of a fan is directly proportional to its energy consumption. The faster your fan blades rotate the more energy your electric fan consumes.
  • Use the oscillating feature of your desk fan to efficiently provide the cooling effect you need. Lock the oscillator when the fan is needed in one direction only.
  • Turn off your electric fan when not in use.
  • Perform regular maintenance to keep your electric fan running more efficiently, and save up to 30% of fan energy.
  • Clean your electric fans regularly, to keep them running efficiently. Remove the dust accumulated at the fan blades, motor housings, and grills as it reduces the air current generated by the fan. Cobwebs, dust and other forms of impurities piling up at the motor’s cover prevent air to naturally provide the cooling needed by the motor or heat produced by the motor to be released. This causes additional heating of the motor’s windings, which leads to more consumption of energy.

Air Conditioner

  • When buying a new air conditioner, look for the Energy Guide (yellow label) attached to the unit and check the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). As a general rule for units with the same cooling capacity, a higher EER means a more efficient unit and a lower operating cost.
  • Choosing the right size of air conditioning unit for your room size can help you save on electricity. Over-sized air conditioners are not energy efficient. With the right unit size, your air conditioner will operate properly for peak efficiency and would require low maintenance. Follow the steps below and know the right size of air conditioner for your room:
  • Determine the floor area (in square meters) of the room or space you want to install an air conditioner in. For example, the floor area of a room with a length of 5 meters and a width of 4 meters is 20 square meters.
  • Use the formula below to estimate the required cooling capacity. Cooling capacity = size of the room (m2) x 500 kJ/hr – m2 Substitute the computed floor area as the size of the room and then multiply this value by the constant 500kJ/hr – m2. The resulting value is the estimated cooling capacity of the air conditioner that you need to install.
  • Look for a unit with matching cooling capacity as shown on the Energy Guide. If the matching cooling capacity is not available, choose the one with the next higher value.
  • Get the highest Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating that your budget can afford. Remember that the higher the EER, the more savings you get from operating the unit.
  • Install the air con in a cool area. A unit operating in the shade uses 10 percent less electricity than the same unit operating in direct sunlight. Plant trees or construct coverings to provide shade for your air con but be sure not to block the airflow.
  • Check the insulation of your room. Spaces from the windows, doors and the air conditioner installation point may cause cold air to leak or heat to enter the room, making the unit work harder to provide the needed cooling.
  • Don’t place lamps, television and other items, which can be a source of heat near your unit. The thermostat senses the heat given off by these items, causing your unit to run longer than necessary.
  • Support your air con’s cooling performance by draping windows with curtains, blinds and other similar accessories to block the sun’s rays. Consider also using an interior fan in conjunction with your air conditioner to help spread cool air more effectively without greatly increasing electricity consumption.
  • Make sure that the thermostat is functioning correctly. Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature as possible. A comfortable room temperature setting is about 24 degrees Celsius. Setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when turning your unit on will not help cool your room any faster. Rather, it could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Set the fan speed on high, except on very humid days. When humidity is high, set the fan speed on low for more comfort. The low speed on humid days will cool your room better and will help remove moisture from the air because of slower air movement through the cooling equipment.
  • Check the filter once a month by holding it up against the light. If you can’t see through it, it’s time to clean or replace the filter.
  • Straighten any bent fins. Straightening the fins increases the efficiency of the air flow through the coils and adds to the overall cooling effect produced by the air conditioner.
  • Regularly clean the condenser of your unit to efficiently expel the heat load of your air conditioned room.

Television

  • Normally, television viewing takes long hours, which contributes to high electricity consumption and a high electric bill. However, there are many ways to manage your TV set’s electricity consumption and cut on electricity costs.
  • Avoid running several sets at the same time because this multiplies your entertainment costs. It would be wise to agree on what program to watch and use one TV set only.
  • Switch off your TV set when no one is watching. If you are using a transformer, unplug it because it consumes electricity.
  • Don’t use the standby mode because this uses 10% to as much as 60% of the electricity that would be used by your TV set if it were switched on.
  • Too much television viewing and playing of video games of kids can be substituted by educational board games and teaching them light sports to lessen television electricity consumption.
  • Replace old TV tube sets with solid-state TV sets because these types use significantly less energy.
  • Choose the appropriate television size suitable for your entertainment needs, taking into consideration units with lower wattage ratings. Bigger television sets would most likely have higher wattage ratings, thus, consume more energy. The screen size of your TV should be based on your viewing distance from the unit.

Follow these steps to determine the recommended screen size for your high-definition TV (HDTV):

Measure the viewing distance starting from the viewing area, like sofa or bed, to where you will place the HDTV unit.

  • Use this formula to compute TV viewing distances in feet:
  • Minimum viewing distance = screen size x 1.5
  • Maximum viewing distance = screen size x 3

Refer to this table to identify the ideal screen size:

Computer

  • When your computer or monitor is not in use, turn it off to reduce energy consumption. The monitor uses as much as 60% of the power used by your computer. The other 40% is used to keep the hard drive spinning and to power the electronics. Less energy is consumed when computers or monitors are turned on and off as often as required than when left on over time.
  • If your computer makes use of a transformer or kept at standby mode, unplug it because these situations still consume electricity.
  • Invest in energy-efficient computers and printers which save up to 90% electricity than standard models.
  • Choose the right monitor size for your needs. Bigger monitors consume more electricity than smaller ones. For example, a 17-inch monitor consumes 35% more electricity than a 14-inch monitor.
  • Replace your old computer monitor with a LCD monitor since it consumes less energy.
  • Study and use your computer’s power saving features. The sleep mode automatically converts the computer to a low-energy mode when not in use, cutting energy usage to less than half.
  • The energy saving mode turns the monitor and hard disk off after a few minutes of being idle.