26 March, 2021
Indian summers are scorching and post Shivaratri, and the mercury has started rising slowly. With the Covid-19 pandemic still keeping the people indoors largely, the electric bills are set to rise more than usual. The lights, fans and air conditioners will be in use for longer periods. Of course, added to this will be the constant use of devices like laptops, TVs, etc. Kids may be unable to do many outdoor activities, and hence, when confined indoors, they may end up using devices more. However, a few good and thoughtful measures can help us save some money on the electric bill. This would involve some careful planning and discipline from all family members.
One of the best ways to save on electric bills is by not using the lighting, especially during the day. If you need to work during the day, try to find some bright spot by the window where there is natural lighting. If not, ensure that as much of the lighting in the house is replaced by LED lights. They are almost as much as 80% more efficient than traditional lights and are also more durable. The better varieties can last as long as 10 years. Also, all the lights need to be dusted so that the light is reflected properly.
Note: Nothing saves electricity better than turning off lights and other appliances when not needed!
It will be unavoidable to use air conditioners as the summer progresses. However, some intelligent use of a combination of ceiling fans along it can help reduce the bill. Always set the AC temperature to 25°C and not a lesser temperature to get more cooling. Setting it for lesser temperatures will surely hike the bill. Instead, use other measures to keep the room cool, like keeping the windows closed and using shades and curtains to keep away the heat. Use bamboo shades for balconies, if required. Ensure to get the AC serviced before you start using it regularly and check and clean the filter periodically through the summer months. This will also ensure the efficient functioning of the AC. Most modern ACs come with auto cut-off functioning once a set temperature is reached. This could then be maintained by using ceiling fans to keep the room cool. Also, if you have old ACs, please replace them with more energy-efficient inverter ACs. In the long run, this will save a lot on the electric bills. All these measures can help reduce the electricity consumption of the AC.
Please switch off/unplug any device that is not being used, as this does consume electricity. Many people are totally unaware that the ‘standby power consumption’ happens, which adds a reasonable amount to the bill (up to 5%). Especially, TVs, computers/laptops should be unplugged or switched off when not in use. Any devices put for charging should also be removed once charged. Electric kettles could be used for heating water, and geyser use can be reduced to a minimum or even nil. It is better to bathe in cold water or use lukewarm water by mixing up a little water heated in a kettle. Use a refrigerator wisely, and allow enough airflow in there by not overstuffing it. Also, please do not open it often, as that would also consume more electricity. Defrost the freezer compartment and ensure that the refrigerator is serviced periodically to ensure that it is functioning efficiently. Use energy-efficient iron boxes with auto cut-off and iron clothes only after they have dried out completely. Ironing wet clothes consume more electricity. Use a washing machine with full loads of cold water and avoid heating, and also try to avoid using the dryer, as clothes can dry out naturally in the sun during summer.
The Solar Option
India is a country wherein we get proper sunlight throughout the year, despite having a good monsoon and a few cold months. Solar energy can be properly reigned for household use like lighting and heating. Many organizations specialize in providing the installation of solar panels of all sorts. To promote the usage of this renewable, natural energy source, the government too provides subsidies on this, and such households also get concession on electricity bills. If you have the provision of installing solar panels on your terrace, then this is one option you can explore to reduce your electric bill.
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