• Sarah @ Little Green Tips

Electricity

I got so excited a couple of weeks ago when I put my first load of washing on line. It saves so much electricity if you normally tumble dry laundry. I’m desperately trying to decrease our electricity usage so I'm not using the tumble dryer unless it’s an emergency. If I do have to use the tumble dryer I have wool dryer balls which help decrease the time for each load thus saving electricity. Cuts about 20% off my drying time, thus using less electricity… they really do work.


I've spent quite a bit of time recently researching how I can reduce the amount of electricity we use. Not only because it is more environmentally friendly but because the cost of it is getting increasingly unaffordable. Unfortunately it looks like this situation is going to get worse before any hope of it getting better. So here are a few more ideas I have discovered that will help reduce electricity usage.


One of the main changes I have made which has had an impact has been with the washing machine. Using our eco egg, I have lowered the temperature to 20oC and reduced spin speed to reduce energy consumption. I’m washing my laundry at 20oC now… down from 30oC …..down from 40oC. I don’t wash towels or bedding at 60oC regularly either.


Instead of spinning at 1400 rpm I drop to 1200 or 1000 or 800 depending on what I’m washing and where I’m drying it. I am also regularly descaling the washing machine (about once a month) so it works more efficiently and uses less energy.


Don’t assume eco settings on washing machine and dish washers use the least amount of electricity. They normally refer to using less water per load. Look up energy usage per program on the internet for your make/model if you can find it. Or just choose a shorter cycle time. I’ve gone from 2hr40 to 45 mins on our washing machine and our washing is just as clean.

Another things to do is when you need a new appliance make sure it’s as energy efficient as possible.


Since we have moved into our house we have gradually increased our insulation levels as well as getting thermal lined curtains, using a draught excluder at doors and closing curtains as soon as it gets dark to keep the heat in. You can make good use of passive solar gain from windows to help heat your house. Open up curtains in the day and when the sun sets close the close those curtains to hold in the heat.


Kettles are very very electricity hungry and take more energy to heat the water the hotter you want it to be. You can now get kettles that boil to either 80/90/100 oC. You don’t need 100oC for tea or coffee. I don't have a fancy kettle so just flick the off switch before it finishes boiling when I remember.


Only boil the water you actually need in the kettle! An obvious one but over a year imagine the difference this makes! You can also get new thermos insulated kettles which keep the water hot for 4 hours without reboiling it. I am guilty of reboiling the kettle after getting distracted while making a cuppa so I am being more mindful of this too.


Switch stuff off! Anything with a standby light just switch it off when you aren’t using it. Some TV’s have eco settings to reduce energy usage. Microwaves, cookers etc. Switch chargers off when not in use.


Descale appliances so they are as efficient as possible... heating limescale wastes energy and costs money! Citric acid granules and apple cider vinegar are brilliant eco friendly descaling choices. After descaling the kettle I use the water to descale the toilet.


If you have a woodburner preheat water in a kettle on top of it. Even if it doesn’t boil using preheated water saves a lot of energy. I try to do a bit of cooking on mine too but it takes a bit of practice!


Hoover the back of your fridge freezer so it’s dust free and can work efficiently!!!


Turn off the internet overnight!

We cook in batches so I make a large batch of chilli or curry. We eat some for dinner then freeze the rest. Heating it up uses a lot less energy than cooking from scratch and it saves time too when you are really busy. If using the oven then try and fill it up instead of cooking things on the hob too. Eg. roast your carrots instead of boiling them. I'm not convinced that slow cookers use a lot less energy than using an oven after some research but if doing batches in a slow cooker that could definitely save electricity.


Don't just think about lights inside. Do you have any lights outside that don't need to be on. Lighting gardens and driveways at night is wasteful and causes light pollution which is harmful for wildlife. Try and use timed lights or sensors. Use downwards facing lights rather than trying to light up the while nights sky!


Finally walk around switching lights off in your house. Repeat. Repeat again. Yell at kids to switch lights off … repeat. Repeat again 😂


I know this information won't help everybody. There are too many people who already do all of these things and more but still can't afford the electricity they need to stay warm, well fed and healthy. However I hope that it helps some people find a new idea or two of simple things they can do to try and reduce that horrendous electricity bill.

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