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5 ways to save electricity and reduce costs

Saving electricity means helping the environment and saving money.

Windmills in a field

It is possible to save electricity without having to abandon the use of certain devices or appliances. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Juan Bacallado

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Leer en español: 5 formas de ahorrar electricidad y disminuir el gasto

Every time people acquire more devices that demand electrical energy. In Colombia, for example, the average person consumes 1,159 kWh (kilowatts per hour) per year, while the price per kWh in this country is 0.153 US dollars per kWh according to Global Petrol Prices. This means that an average Colombian can spend $ 177 annually, a figure that would increase considerably in a household with a family of four. In Latin America, the country with the most expensive electricity according to GPP is Guatemala, with a price of 0.251 dollars per kWh , while Venezuela is where electricity has the lowest cost in the region and in the world since the kWh does not even reach a cent.

Regarding the appliances that consume the most kWh in an average home, the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) reported that the refrigerator is the appliance that needs the most energy, with an average of 662 kWh per year, followed by freezers with 563 kWh,  televisions with 263 kWh,  washing machines and dryers with 255 kWh for each. However, it is possible to save electricity without having to abandon the use of certain devices or appliances, these are some of them:

Use Energy Star or A +++ products

Perhaps the most important option of all and one that many people don't know of is Energy Star. This is a label supplied by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that guarantees that this product exceeds the standards of low electricity consumption, so its use saves money and has a lower environmental impact compared to those that are not Energy Star, according to the NRDC.

This seal guarantees that the equipment is among the 25% of those that consume the least energy in its category, that is, of every 100 similar models of washing machines on the market, the 25 that use electricity more efficiently are the ones that will have the label. When this number reaches 50%, the EPA changes the requirements for manufacturers to improve consumption, so the newer the Energy Star equipment, the less energy it consumes. The Energy Star endorses 70 categories of products such as laptops, light bulbs, heaters, air conditioners among others.

In this case of not finding Energy Star products, it is also important to check the energy efficiency, this is the standard used by the European Union to qualify the consumption of household appliances, A +++ means that it consumes less than 25%, A ++ less than 30 % and A + between 30% and 42%, according to Endesa.

Also read: Alternatives for a plastic-free planet

LED bulbs

LED technology gave the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 to the three Japanese men who devised what they themselves defined as "a new light to illuminate the world." LED lights have several advantages, first of all, their duration is longer, reaching up to 100,000 hours of use -fluorescent lights usually last 10,000 hours-, they also do not contain mercury, so they do not pollute or are a health hazard when breaking. Their other advantage is that they provide maximum illumination from the moment they are turned on, since there is no need to wait for them to heat up and therefore they consume up to 80% less energy than traditional ones, according to BBVA.

Basic maintenance

Like everything, long-term use generates waste and this occurs in most electrical appliances. For this reason, you must be careful to do basic maintenance at least once a year in equipment such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washers, and dryers, in addition, to constantly checking and cleaning the filters that these appliances have, since when they become clogged they cause limited performance and consume more current. In the case of refrigerators and freezers, it is also important to make sure that the doors close properly to avoid cold leaks, the proper maintenance of each appliance will prevent failures and save electricity and money.

Enjoy the sun

The sun can be a useful and efficient alternative when it comes to lighting, heating and even drying, for this reason, it is advisable to take advantage of it as much as possible before resorting to the dryer, light bulbs, or heating. Also, using hot water in the washing machines consumes 90% more electricity according to CNET, and doing a good spin in the washing machine will allow the clothes to dry even more and reduce the time they take to dry completely.

Smart plugs

Currently, there are "smart" plugs that can be connected to the WiFi network and turned off from a phone app, making them ideal for those plugs where temporary use equipment such as a television, chargers, among others, are connected. This type of plug also allows you to program automatic turn-off and turn-on times that will help avoid consuming extra energy when you are sleeping at night or leaving the house.