Wintertime inevitably increases electricity bills. Nevertheless, there are simple ways to reduce energy consumption and thereby save even a little. Dajana Tiitsaar, Head of the Estonian Market for Customer Services at Eesti Energia, shares some tips.
In an average Estonian household, the most electricity is used for indoor heating, water heating, cooking, and then lighting and other electrical appliances. “Knowing the areas in the household that consume the most energy makes it much better to plan savings. Therefore, you should first look at the electricity consumption of your home,” Dajana Tiitsaar says.
Indoor temperature lowered by one degree saves up
In the Estonian climate, living spaces need to be heated for almost half a year. “Replacing your heating system can be quite expensive and may not be possible for everyone. However, I recommend those using electric radiators, underfloor or stove heating to invest in installing an air source heat pump. It is a much more economical solution that consumes one part of electricity but gives you five parts of heat in return,” Tiitsaar says.
Older windows and doors can allow warm air to escape through cracks around the frame. “If it is not possible to replace the windows and doors, consider resealing or insulating them,” Dajana Tiitsaar advises. Also, central heating radiators should not be covered with anything or hidden behind furniture: this prevents the free movement of warm air in the room. “If it is possible for you to adjust the indoor temperature, you should do it according to your preferences, bearing in mind that temperature lowered by even one degree reduces your heating costs by 5%.”
A 30-degree washing machine cycle saves up to 30%
Washing machines use the biggest amount of energy for heating the water. “Slightly dirty laundry can be cleaned with a 30-degree cycle, which can save you up to 30%. By drying your laundry on the rack instead of the dryer, you save approximately 12 euros per month,” Dajana Tiitsaar says. In the case of water heaters, a temperature of 55 degrees is sufficient, as it reduces the formation of scale which also affects energy consumption.
“An electric stove is not the friendliest energy consumer,” Tiitsaar says, “which is why it’s wise to choose a pot or pan of the right size for the amount of food and the right size stove top.” What’s more – if you use the oven, you can turn it off 10-15 minutes before the food is ready, because the residual heat cooks the food anyway. Those who want to go one step further could consider purchasing an induction cooker. “Compared to an electric stove, an induction cooktop saves 2/3 more electricity.”
The payback period is more important than the retail price
When it’s cold and dark, people spend more time indoors and use more electrical appliances. It is also possible to find points for saving here. “A simple action that can save up to 10%: unplug all devices that are not in use at the moment, for example at night. When replacing a household appliance, pay attention not only to the price but to the energy class as well. It is estimated that energy rating A devices save 45% more energy compared to lower ratings,” she claims.
Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs pays for itself in less than a year. “An incandescent bulb has a lifespan of about 1,000 hours, and it uses about 20% of its energy for lighting, while the remaining 80% is spent on released heat. However, LEDs direct 80% of their energy to lighting, and their lifetime hours are between 25,000 and 50,000.”
Dajana Tiitsaar also makes it a point to make sure your home is safe before winter arrives: “Have your old electrical wirings checked by a specialist, have your chimneys and heating sources properly cleaned, heat moderately, monitor your heaters carefully and keep your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in working order.”