The UAE Money Expert’s Guide to Lowering Your Electricity Bill
If you’re living in the UAE, you know how much you’re liable to spend on your electricity bill—especially during the summer months. The desert climate paired with a very short (and sometimes non-existent) rainy season can drive electricity costs through the roof just by using your AC alone.
So it makes perfectly good sense for the UAE Money Expert to come up with this gigantic list of electricity-saving tips for our readers! Whether you’re saving up for a home, cutting back on costs, or just want to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, this guide will give you a means to do it.
Before we get started however, we’d recommend that you perform an energy audit. Energy audits are powerful tools that help identify exactly where you’re consuming the most energy. If you can identify problem areas fast, you’re spared having to slowly and systematically scour your lifestyle for possible wasteful electricity habits. At the same time, an energy audit can help you find defects in your home that you may not be aware of. Poor insulation or even an inefficient AC unit will be caught with an energy audit.
So do yourself a favor and take advantage of an energy audit! It could save you tons of time and yes…money too!
Energy Tips for Around the Home
Tip #1: Off-Peak rates are where the real savings are at. In the UAE, energy consumption peaks at around noon and slows after 5 P.M. This means that you’re paying more during this time for your energy than any other time of the day. Our advice: avoid using energy at this time of the day! While you may not be able to avoid keeping your AC on, you can at least be diligent about keeping lights off and doing your laundry at this time.
Tip #2: Running multiple appliances at once uses extra energy. It puts a strain on your electrical output, and will in turn cost you more. If you can help it, don’t run multiple computers at once plus the television, washer and dryer unit all together. It ratchets up your energy costs!
Energy Tips for Cooling Your Home
Tip #1: Have doors and windows shut during the hottest times of the day. This is when your AC is working the hardest and you don’t want any of that cool air escaping your home.
Tip #2: A once-a-year AC maintenance is a smart way to lower costs. Yes, you’ll have to pay someone to have it cleaned and make sure it’s running optimally, but throughout the course of the year it will actually save you money. Your AC unit will also last longer, which will help you avoid having to buy a new one.
Tip #3: Programmable Thermostats do the energy-saving work for you. If no one is home and you have no pets, there’s no reason to keep the AC running at full speed. Same goes for when you’re fast asleep.
Tip #4: AC Optimisers can lower energy costs associated with your AC unit. It helps your AC unit work smarter, not harder, all while keeping the temperature in your home the same.
Tip #5: Ceiling fans help circulate air within your home. This in turn keeps your AC unit from constantly churning out new cool air.
Tip #5: Trees can dramatically lower energy costs. If your home is shaded by trees, energy costs can be greatly reduced.
Tip #6: If you don’t have trees, try curtains! It’s likely you have either blinds or curtains in your home to keep the sun from shining in. To reduce the sun’s glare inside your home, get tinted window film.
Tip #7: You don’t need to live in an icebox to stay comfortable. Some people love setting the AC as low as possible. And while it may be fun to walk around during the summer in a sweater, we don’t recommend it in terms of reducing your energy output. If your home is around 25° C, you’ll be perfectly comfortable and still save big time on your electricity bill.
Energy Tips for Lighting Your Home
Tip #1: Go with CFL lightbulbs for maximum energy efficiency. They’ve been proven to work better than incandescent lightbulbs and spend 4x less energy!
Tip #2: Dimmer switches can keep the lights on without reducing efficiency. You may not need your lights at their brightest. If you’re not using a room but want the lights on, these dimmer switches are your best option.
Tip #3: Motion sensor lights ensure you never forget to flip a switch. They’re a bit pricey, but if you’re forgetful, they may be just what you need to stay energy efficient!
Tip #4: The UAE is the perfect place for solar panel lighting. These panels will store up energy during the day and consume it at night.
Tip #5: LED night lights will still keep monsters away. If your child likes having a night light on, consider going with an LED one. If you can believe it, these lights run on less than 25 cents a year!
Energy Tips for the Laundry Room
Tip #1: A bit of maintenance goes a long way. That means cleaning up your dryer lint trap every couple of months and having someone check out your washer and dryer units once a year.
Tip #2: Dryer balls will increase drying speed. They’re cheap and they’ll reduce your energy costs.
Tip #3: Full loads are the way to go. Both for your washer and dryer units. Simply wait until you have a full load and wash it all together.
Tip #4: Cold water washes save you money. They’ll keep your water heater from consuming energy. Plus, cold water is just better for clothes in general.
Tip #5: If you’re feeling really thrifty, don’t use a dryer at all! It wasn’t long ago that we threw a line out and let the sun dry our clothing. While this may not be the best option for you, it is an option worth considering, especially considering how much energy dryers consume in a household.
Energy Tips for Appliances
Tip #1: Smart Strip surge protectors turn off electrical equipment automatically. Again, this is a perfect option for the forgetful among us. If you’re always forgetting to turn off or unplug your appliances, go with a Smart Strip surge protector.
Tip #2: Replace all older devices with Energy Star devices. They really work, and they’re much more efficient than devices that do not have the Energy Star seal. Most new devices are already Energy Star approved but be sure to double check.
Tip #3: Unplug appliances and devices when they’re not in use. Even when your device is turned off, it often consumes energy. To stop this from happening, unplug that appliance or device until you need to use it. This goes for anything, from televisions and computers to toasters.
Tip #4: Some insulation added behind switches and outlets will reduce energy loss. The best option is to go with an electrical outlet sealer. They’ll help reduce energy loss when something is plugged into the outlet.
Energy Tips for the Kitchen
Tip #1: Refrigerators are huge energy consumers. To eliminate some of this energy consumption, try letting hot foods cool before putting them into the refrigerator, and keep food and drinks covered while inside your fridge. You should also have your freezer and refrigerator packed with food, since this actually reduces the amount of time it takes to stabilize temperatures within a fridge. Regular fridge maintenance is critical, especially when it comes to cleaning your refrigerator’s coils (something you can do yourself.) And lastly, don’t browse too long! An open fridge door is costly.
Tip #2: If you’re heating with a stove top, turn it off just before the food is done. Your food will still be fully cooked with the residual heat that the pan and stove are giving off. To keep even more heat in, use a lid!
Tip #3: The heat dry feature on a dishwasher is a big energy consumer. However, you’ll still get clean dishes if you turn it off.
Tip #4: Forgo the oven for the microwave. Microwaves are more energy-efficient than ovens.
Tip #5: Don’t preheat the oven unless it’s absolutely necessary. Some foods call for a pre-heat. For other dishes it simply isn’t necessary. If a dish doesn’t require a pre-heat, simply toss it in and turn on the oven then.
Energy Tips for Water Heaters
Tip #1: Upgrade and/or maintain your water heater regularly. An upgrade to a tankless water heater can dramatically reduce the time it takes to heat the water in your home. But if you’re not interested in upgrading, you can still help your water heater do its job by removing sediment build-up (bi-annually is enough) and making sure someone takes a look at it from time to time.
Tip #2: Manually reduce the temperature that your water can get to. Every water heater can be manually tweaked to reduce its water temperature output. Reducing the temperature to around 135° can keep your water heating costs low.
Tip #3: Water heater timers are solid energy savers. Installing a water heater timer keeps your water heater from wasting energy when no one is home. With a timer, the water heater only heats when you need it to.
Tip #4: Insulation around your water heater keeps the water hotter for longer. A simple insulation jacket is enough to preserve a good amount of heat.
Energy Tips for Insulating Your Home
Tip #1: Home insulation is paramount to keeping your home energy efficient. Not only does it stop cool air from getting out, it also stops hot air from getting in.
Tip #2: Weatherstripping acts as insulation for door and window gaps. Doors and windows are the single biggest escape points for cool air. Adding weatherstripping can keep cool air inside your home.
Tip #3: New Insulating paint can keep energy from leaving your home. This kind of paint can be used on the inside and outside of your home, and is a perfect do-it-yourself insulation method.