Energy saving tips – How I cut my HUGE power bill in half!
Have you ever received a really high power bill and thought what the …!!
We did and I took drastic measures to reduce our monthly and daily power usage. It was a great learning curve! We managed to cut our high power bill by half! I kid you not! Read more to get some great energy saving tips for your next power bill!
When your power company underestimates your power usage
Our previous power company had been underestimating our monthly power usage, so we didn’t realise just how much power we were actually using. If we had known, we would have used these energy saving tips much earlier and saved ourselves hundreds of dollars!
The day I found out that we were using way too much power
When I scrutinized my weekly budget and decided to change my power company supplier, my new power company had this really cool app where I could key in my meter readings whenever I wanted and I could see exactly how much power we were using on a daily basis. It made it super simple to monitor our daily usage.
This also made it super scary to watch exactly how much it was costing us on a daily basis!! We needed some energy saving tips drastically.
We could no longer afford to live the way we were living
I spoke with a lovely lady at the new power company, and after some discussion about our power usage, she informed me that we were using on average a whopping $600 a month! That’s double what our family budget had allowed for!
OMG did I get the shock of my life!
So why is my monthly power bill $600!!?
Now that might be normal for some people, for most it’s not, and certainly not us.
We don’t run electric heaters and we don’t even own a clothes dryer. We have a great log burner, are an average family of five living in a smaller than average three bedroom home. We don’t have any fancy appliances like coffee machines on standby and we don’t exactly use a lot of hot water either. However, we have never considered using energy saving tips before and had become complacent on just how much energy we were using and what it was costing.
It was time to take action!
This was not on. There was no way this was in the budget. I was only budgeting $75 a week for power and there was no room in the budget to stretch it any further!
Family meeting and a crash course on some energy saving tips
If I can cut my power bill in half, then you might just be able to save yourself some extra dollars, even if you try some of these energy saving tips! We called a family meeting, discussed the issues and came up with some solutions.
How I cut my power usage from 65 kilowatts per day to just 30 kilowatts per day!
Turn off the water pump
We live in rural Southland and have a large 10,000 litre water tank. It also feeds some of the troughs around the house but we don’t have to have this pump running 24/7!! So we switch it off, and once a month we will fill our tank (maybe more often if the cows and calves are in the paddocks). By turning this off, we are saving an average of 10 kilowatts per day already!
I walked around the house and unplugged or switched off everything at the wall that we weren’t using. This is what I unplugged:
Around the house in general
Unplugged all charges – phone chargers, laptop chargers, battery chargers, electric toothbrush chargers – Only charge things when you actually need to!
Turned off the HRV (it comes back on by itself every 8 hours so still get some benefit)
Get harder on the kids about turning lights off when you leave a room, or if you don’t really need it on
If kids want to charge their phones, they have to turn them off and leave them to charge (normally they would sit and play on them while trying to charge it)
Stop leaving phones on charge overnight! They only take one hour to charge. If you want them to charge quicker than that, put them on flight mode or turn them off.
Unplugged one deep freezer – Living in the country we tend to stock up on home kill and sometimes need two big deep freezers. But when supply gets down, we can squeeze it all into one and unplug the other freezer (had to eat a lot of beef and lamb to clear the space – but there’s nothing like a good clean out lol)
I pulled the plug on a sky box that was plugged in but wasn’t working anyway, an extra telephone handset and the printer!
Turned off security lights
We have one small bathroom. The electrician told me that the underfloor heating wouldn’t use much power and would be okay if left on low. I beg to differ! We rarely used the heated towel rail anyway so I was able to turn all power off in this room.
The kids rooms – All plugs off at the wall when things not in use. This means that these rooms are only drawing power at night for electric blankets and a dehumidifier in the middle of winter. The kids TV’s are only turned on at the wall when they actually use it.
The main bedroom – do we really need two digital alarm clocks? Don’t turn electric blankets on so early in the evening and perhaps consider turning them off once in bed? (We do live in Southland NZ and personally, I like to leave mine on all night in winter!) Everything else I unplugged in this room I have covered elsewhere in this post.
Switch the microwave off at the wall – we don’t use the microwave every day so it doesn’t really need to be plugged in all the time.
Turn toaster, kettle, and oven off at wall when not in use
Use a crock pot for more meals, or electric fry pan rather than oven
If you do use the oven, do all your oven cooking at the same time. A little planning ahead helps with that and reduces the amount of time the oven is heating up.
Boiling the kettle
Have you ever heard the sound of a generator when you flick the switch on for the kettle or toaster?
Kettles and toasters and high power using appliances and suck a lot of power. For this next tip, you might think it is going a little too far, but bear in mind that we work on a farm (well hubby does anyway) so he is in and out all day for his breaks and coffee. I am home all day or entertaining friends (not really, but you know what I mean) so we can sometimes be putting the jug on at least 10 to 15 times a day, maybe more! Sometimes, hubby doesn’t realise I had just boiled the kettle and walks in and boils it again!
So as a way to save power, we now use a thermos. We boil the kettle once, make hot drinks and fill the thermos, which will do us another 5-6 hot drinks.
We have reduced the amount of times we boil the kettle in one day from say 10 times to now just 3 times a day.
If you don’t want to go to this extent, another tip is to just boil enough water for what you need. No need to boil a full jug if you are only making one cup of coffee!
Multi-Power boards with shining lights
We had a couple of large power surge type multiboards in our bedroom (don’t ask me why) each with their own light that glowed constantly. So I changed these for smaller more simple power boards that don’t have a light running 24/7.
More energy saving tips – What we already do
We already turn our TV off at the power button (only because the remote doesn’t work) and our hot water cylinder is already at a good temperature of 55 degrees Celsius. Most of our lightbulbs are the energy saving bulbs already.
Guess what my new morning routine is?
I now make it my morning ritual to walk around the house ensuring everything is unplugged and turned off that should be.
By doing this, I have reduced my daily power consumption from 65 kilowatts to an average of 30 kilowatts per day at a cost of approx. $10 a day (except for the weekends when the kids are home all day and it goes up to $11.50 per day!)
So what now
I still feel $10 a day is high, especially considering I’ve pulled nearly everything out of the darn walls! From now on when we consider purchasing any new power appliances we will be considering the amount of watts the appliance uses as well as hunting for a bargain price.
This has been a real eye opener for us as a family and I have involved the children as well so they are aware of how much it actually cost to have electricity in our home. By breaking it down on a daily basis and being able to show the kids the bar graph of our highs and lows (ie weekends being high usage) it has made them realise the importance of saving power and turning those lights off!
I hope that this post gives you the encouragement to unplug and save a few dollars for yourself! Walk around your house and see how many things you can unplug out of the walls. How many habits can you and your family change to save power?
We are now back on budget, and I look at it as saving $50 a week in power! That’s a huge savings!
Share your energy saving tips
If you have any more great power saving tips, share them here in the comments box below and I just might be able to pick up a few more power saving ideas from you! Thanks for sharing!