Washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, ceramic hobs, etc. They are our best allies for household chores, but also those who consume the most electricity. Which ones consume the most and what measures can we take to adapt their use to the new electricity bill that came into effect in June 2021 to save as much as possible?
According to the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (IDAE), an average house in Spain consumes around 4,000 kWh per year in electricity, mainly due to the use of large electrical appliances with around 61.8% of the total and the rest to other small appliances for daily use and “phantom consumption” or equipment in standby mode, which accounts for up to 6% of the total.
Among typical household appliances, we can clearly differentiate two classes of equipment based on their usage time and energy consumption. In the first place we have those which consume a lot of energy in a specific way (typically over 1000 watts) requiring high energy for short periods of time, such as the oven, the iron, the ceramic hob or the washing machine. .
And secondly, there are those which have a low consumption (well below 1000 watts) but their usage time is several hours throughout the day, as happens for example with refrigerators, freezers or television. Also, like in the case of refrigerators, they can’t be turned off to save money, so we have to have them all day.
Therefore, if we want to save as much as possible, we must try to transfer the use of the first group of equipment to the valley and flat periods. If we remember, the flat section has an intermediate cost and is between 8 and 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and between 10 and 24 hours. The valley section is the cheapest and operates between midnight and 8 a.m. as well as hourly on weekends and holidays.
If you can, do laundry on weekends
The washing machine is responsible for around 7.3% of energy consumption in homes (compared to 2-3% for dryers), of which up to 80% is related to heating water for washing.
Therefore, if the clothes are not very dirty, it is advisable to use “eco” programs that wash at a lower temperature, as well as to reduce the number of revolutions per minute in the spinning processes if we live in a sunny place and we can hang the clothes outside to dry them.
Of course, as much as possible, we should try to move the laundry on weekends, holidays or if our washing machine is not very noisy, we should also turn it on from midnight or at the first hour of the morning.
The iron is also part of the laundry and is an appliance that occasionally consumes a large amount of energy when heated, so it is advisable to move its use on weekends and when we start ironing, do it to the maximum of clothes only if possible, so that we take advantage of the heat generated by its resistance.
That is, it is much more expensive to turn on the iron for a few clothes each day than it is to wait for the weekend and it takes an hour to iron them all at the same time.
Adapting your cooking hours can mean big savings
The point of meal times is problematic, because in each household there are different working hours, schools, even our personal hobbies influence. But what we can try to do is change the times we prepare food.
According to IDAE, the oven represents 5.1% of energy consumption, against 9% for ceramic hobs and 2% for microwaves. All three have to generate a lot of heat for short periods of time, but there are two different ways we can try to save.
First, take advantage of the residual heat by turning it off a few minutes in advance. You can also enjoy cooking several dishes at the same time or one after the other, do not open the door if it is not necessary and if the dish to be prepared takes more than an hour, it does not is not necessary to put it to Preheat.
Also, if we can shift the cooking to off-peak and flat hours, we can save up to 95% compared to using these devices at peak times. For example, if it is possible to start cooking from 2:00 p.m. or to leave certain dishes or meal steps made in the morning, significant savings can be made.
And of course, after you’ve cooked and eaten, it’s time to clean up. If we have a dishwasher, we will spend about 2% of the monthly consumption of this appliance, which it mainly spends on heating the water. Therefore, it is convenient to use ecological programs that wash at a lower temperature, with programs over 65 degrees recommended only for those cases where we want to achieve maximum disinfection.
The refrigerator, this major consumer of electricity
Refrigerators are huge devices which, despite their size, have low energy costs. With consumptions that rarely exceed 200-300 watts, the main thing with these devices is that they work 24 hours a day, which represents up to 18.9% of the total expenditure.
We cannot deactivate them and use them at low cost, but we can apply some Turks to reduce the cost they produce. To start with, leave as much space as possible on the sides and back to improve its cooling and improve its efficiency. It is also convenient to clean the rear heating elements, if you have them, at least once a year.
It is useful to avoid direct sunlight to avoid overheating and if possible it is not recommended to install the oven next to the refrigerator. Of course, we must try to minimize the opening of the doors. In this sense, models with 4 doors lose less cold than those with two doors and in the long run they spend less.
In addition, whenever we can, we must avoid introducing hot food directly into the refrigerator and if our model has a rapid cooling mode, we can activate it at off-peak or flat hours to force the machine. to operate at the lowest electric cost hours, generate a cold that will remain for the rest of the day.
Heating, air conditioning and thermos
Other large consumers of energy in the home are air conditioning equipment, heaters, electric heaters, stationary and portable air conditioning systems, and electric water heaters for hot water.
In cases where this is possible, it is advisable to move the ignition to lower consumption times, either by purchasing equipment with heat accumulators or by means of external timers, although we can also do this manually if this is the case. don’t mind being aware of it every day.
For example, electric water heaters need a lot of energy for a few hours to heat the water, and then they consume very little by little throughout the day to keep the water ready. You can choose to turn them on from 12 o’clock in the evening so that they make this large consumption at reduced rate hours and have the water ready for the morning shower then leave them off during the day or put them in the bathroom. lowest possible temperature.
Something similar happens with air conditioners and heat pumps, we can schedule or manage their switching on at off-peak hours so that they produce more cold or heat than we need for a few hours and then lower those temperatures. at the minimum possible in the most expensive hours to save pennies every day.
TV, the silent thief of watts
In many homes, including mine, there is the custom of turning on the television in the morning and leaving it on most of the day, as if to “create an atmosphere”, spend and spend several times without watching a specific program. .
This is causing consumption to explode and television represents up to 7.5% of household electricity consumption. What can we do? Well, the most immediate thing would be to not turn it on until we get to see it for real. But there are also more options.
For example, most modern models allow you to turn off the screen but let the sound work, which allows us to create that ambient sound without spending more than necessary.
It is also advisable to configure a panel brightness level by setting it to low for when the use is generalist and a maximum brightness mode when we are going to really enjoy it with a film or a series, whether our model is LCD or not. LED or OLED.
The larger models consume more, so if there are occasions when we can opt for a smaller TV where picture quality is not a priority, like the one to put in the kitchen, living room or living room , in the long run, we will save especially if we turn it on frequently.
Small gadgets, big consumption
We have a swarm of small appliances and gadgets that need electricity, sometimes plugged directly into the wall and sometimes via batteries. Cellphones, controls, music players, radios, household appliances such as mixers, vacuum cleaners, food processors, smart speakers, headphones, tablets, laptops, etc.
This is a large group of computers that together are a big expense, especially if we’re not careful when we plug them in to charge them. With the new time slots, it is convenient to charge them at night and on public holidays, which will allow us to save up to 95% of their consumption.
As for status lights and consumption in standby mode, as we pointed out at the beginning, they can represent up to 6% of the total cost and the solution in most cases is simple: use a power strip for leave completely off.
However, this is not always possible, as there are equipment such as OLED TVs that must be in standby mode to perform maintenance tasks on the pixels. Routers should also always be left on during the day, although if we don’t use them at night, we can turn them off to save pennies every day.
More information | IDAE
Pictures | Ralph (Ravi) Kayden