Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Cutting down on energy bills

Praisaeng/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Praisaeng/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The period after Christmas can be quite stressful, with bills flying in left, right and centre. With all of those Christmas lights and extended TV marathons, it’s likely that your electricity bill is one of the highest.

Firstly, if you think your bill is too high, and it’s based off an estimation, then contact your energy supplier. The likes of Electric Ireland allow you to submit your own meter reading online, so if you get a bill that seems far too high, check your meter and submit your own reading.

If your bill remains high after submitting up-to-date meter readings, then it’s time to look at your energy consumption. Energy monitors from companies like Owl are quite handy, giving you a blow-by-blow account of your power usage.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have a handy app for energy management, with the aim of reducing your energy outgoing by 20%, basically changing your habits in energy use. Electric Ireland also offers a decent appliance app which basically shows you the biggest users of power in your home, and how you can cut down.

Around the house

Speaking generally, there’s a number of things you can do to reduce your bill. When you’re purchasing new appliances, start as you mean to go on and shop around for the most energy efficient options – A-rated appliances are the most efficient. Don’t forget that energy efficient bulbs will use up to five times’ less electricity, and could save you around €10.50 per bulb per year, in rooms where you’ll be using light for four hours or more each day.

Turn off gadgets like computers and TVs – if you leave them on standby then they’re still consuming power, anywhere between 10-60% of the power used when the device is turned on and in use. Also, unplug your charging phones after three or four hours, as most types will be charged by then, otherwise they’ll still be drawing power. Don’t forget that between 5pm and 7pm is when electricity is in the most demand, so avoid using power as much as possible during this time.

Freezing consumption

As regards specific appliances, fridges and freezers are probably some of the most depended upon items in the house, and there’s a few things you can do to reduce the strain. Make sure they’re placed out of direct sunlight or away from hotter appliances like your oven.

Also, check that the seals are tight on both fridge and freezer to prevent the cold air escaping – a handy trick for testing the seals is checking to see if they’ll hold a Euro note in place when they’re closed; if not then you might have a problem. And you should also be defrosting once every six months at the very least – when frost builds up then energy consumption rises.

Night rates

If it would be an option for you, consider getting a day/night meter – to make a saving at least a quarter of your use or more would have to be during off-peak hours. The standing charge for the meter is about €50 or so higher than a regular meter, and the rates during the day are a little higher, but you can avail of night rates which are half the cost.

If you get timers, particularly for your heavy-usage appliances like your washing machine or dishwasher, then you could schedule their use for off-peak times and watch the savings accrue.

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