How to use less electricity

Find out just how much power your gadgets are sucking up, even when they’re not switched on, and learn how to use less electricity in order to save money on your bills.

Did you know that phone and computer chargers use electricity, even when they are not charging your device? If you leave a phone charger plugged into a power point, and the power point is turned on, then the charger will continue to use a small amount of energy even if it’s not plugged into your phone or laptop. Often if you feel the transformer box attached to the charger it will feel warm, even when it’s not charging anything, showing that there is still energy being used. Turn these chargers off at the wall to ensure that you aren’t wasting electricity.

Standby mode
One of the biggest energy suckers is standby mode. Any device which is left turned on and plugged in when you are not using it will be using electricity. Your television, for example, continues to use electricity even when you turn it off with the remote. DVD players and VCRs are some of the worst culprits. If you watch three hours of television per day, that means your television is still using electricity during the other 21 hours you’re not watching it. You can now get little power-saver boxes, which plug in between your television, DVD Player or VCR and the power point. They can tell when you’re not using the device and can switch off the power supply accordingly. These nifty little gadgets can save you up to 15 per cent on your electricity bill.

Anything with a hot element uses an enormous amount of electricity, and kettles are one of the least power-efficient appliances. Many people fill the kettle right up, and then keep reboiling the water inside, even if they only want a small amount of hot water. It is much more energy efficient to only fill the kettle up with as much water as you think you will need.

The fridge
Knowing the best way to stock your fridge can significantly reduce your energy consumption. A real no-brainer is to avoid leaving the door open for longer than necessary. Wait until food has cooled down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge – warm food makes your fridge work harder.

You can also defrost food in your fridge. The frozen food acts as an ice-pack, helping to cool down the fridge. Fridges and freezers work at optimum efficiency when they are three-quarters full. If your fridge is quite empty, why not fill up some old two-litre milk bottles with water and use these to reduce the empty space?

It’s also important to clean the coils at the back of your fridge. Use a vacuum to suck up the dust – thick dust on the coils can reduce their efficiency by up to 25 per cent.

Do you have another great energy-saving tip? Share your ideas in the comments below.