Five best ways to cut power costs

Five best ways to reduce the ‘idle load’ cost of your power bill.

Five best ways to cut power costs

Did you know that your home’s electrical appliances, even when in idle mode, can be responsible for around 10 per cent of the total cost of your power bills?

These ‘power parasites’ – such as televisions, computers, microwaves, coffee makers, toasters, kettles, mobile phone chargers, and up to around 60 other appliances around the average household – often draw power even when you’re not using them. This idle power usage increases the cost of your electricity bill and is also responsible for unnecessary carbon pollution.

The biggest power hogs are digital set-top boxes, printers, computer modems, electric hot water heaters and video game consoles – some of which can consume up to a quarter of their total power usage even when they’re not being used.

But by taking these simple steps, you can cut your idle load usage in half:

  1. Unplug rarely used devices or any devices not in use.
  2. Plug electrical appliances into a power strip, and switch off the strip when you go to bed or out for the day.
  3. Use a timer. Digital timers use less power than mechanical ones and they typically have a lower idle load. Plug your hot water units, coffee machines, heaters and your computer into a timer to reduce unnecessary additions to your power bills.
  4. Set your energy saver settings on your computer to sleep after 15–30 minutes of inactivity and shut it down when you’re not using it. Turn your television off at the switch on the screen rather than just switching to stand-by mode.
  5. If you do need to rinse something in the sink, use cold water and soak instead of using hot water.

Also, when possible, buying appliances with good energy star ratings will save you plenty on total energy consumption. Products with high-energy saver ratings will cost less whilst they are being used, but as they are generally built with lower idle power consumption in mind, they’ll also save you money when they’re not in use.

Do you have any power-saving tips for our members? Why not share them?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    11th Jun 2020
    Turning off the hot water tank on a daily basis to save money is recommended in this article. I have heard that this is not recommended a) because it takes more power to heat a whole tank of water which has cooled down again, and b) the switch system wears out more rapidly because it is not designed for frequent use.
    Can an appropriately QUALIFIED person please help.
    Some tips ( I don't doubt that most people of our age have had these ideas for ages but still hope something will be useful to someone).
    Slow cook in bulk on a rotation basis and freeze soups and stews - saves time too.

    Fill a thermos when you boil the kettle.

    . Do all your ironing once a week instead of in dribs and drabs.

    Do your washing only when you have a full machine load.

    I find that I can always get my washing dry on the line or on racks on my enclosed verandah. No need for a dryer.

    Use your dishwasher on the most economical setting and only when full.

    Heated throw rugs are great. I put my heating on until I am ready to settle down. Switch the heating off and snuggle up with the rug. The cat loves to sit on the edge!

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