Understanding your energy bill is a good way to save money and combat climate change. The typical Irish household consumes 4,200 kWh a year, according to the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU). It can be hard to tell how your energy use is spread across appliances, and difficult to know how to make savings.
Your energy usage depends on the size of your home, the number of people in your house and the type of appliance you use most.
What is a Kilowatt Hour (kWh)?
A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of how much energy you’re using. Simply put, it’s how much energy you would use if you kept a 1,000-watt appliance running for an hour.
For example, if you switched on a 100-watt appliance, it would take 10 hours to use 1 kWh of energy. If you switched on a 4,000-watt appliance, it would use 1 kWh in just 15 minutes.
Let’s look at your average day at home during the winter. You might shower, cook, drink plenty of tea and watch TV, all while heating your home. Boiling your kettle several times a day can use more energy than switching on your TV for 6 hours in the evening. A simple rule of thumb is to consider what your appliance does. If it creates heat, it is using more energy. Think kettles, hair dryers and electric showers: these appliances use more electricity than most.
Check Your Appliance
The length of time it takes to use a single kWh depends on the appliance. Most appliances have a label you can use to check the wattage. If you can’t find the label, check similar appliances online for guidelines. It can take 10 hours for a 100-watt bulb to use a single unit of electricity, while a 2.5 kW tumble dryer would could use the same amount of energy in just half an hour.
How Can I Control my Energy Use?
The first step is understanding which appliances use most electricity. You can then make smart choices about when, and how often, you use these appliances.
The immersion is the single heaviest consumer of energy in the household, and even more so when it’s not insulated. Since the immersion can be tricky to police in even the most energy-conscious households, smart control could be just what you need. Installing a Climote remote heating control puts you in charge, allowing you to turn your heating and hot water on or off for as long as you need it, using your smartphone or tablet.
Energy Saving Tips:*
- Switch off all your appliances at night and when you’re not home. Don’t leave your computer on standby unless you’re taking a quick break
- Use electricity monitors to tell you how much energy you are using in real time. If you switch on the shower or the kettle, you'll see the numbers jump. You can make decisions on your energy use based on real data
- Don't boil full kettles for one cup of tea, but make sure you have enough water to cover the element
- Try to use the washing machine and dishwasher at times when there is lower energy demand and avoid turning it on between 7-9 in the morning and 5-7 at night. This may not save you money but will help avoid excessive CO2 emissions from power stations
- Tumble dryers are big energy guzzlers, so dry clothes on a clothes horse or washing line
- Don’t leave the fridge door open for long while getting food. For every 10–20 seconds the door is open, it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature
- Cover your pots and pans with a lid. The lid keeps the heat in and reduces condensation in the kitchen. Use the right-sized hob for your pan - the closer the match, the less energy you use
*Courtesy of the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
By following these tips you'll be on your way to reducing your energy bills and your carbon footprint. Small changes make a big difference.