1. Close The Curtains If You've Turned On The Air Conditioner
If the sun is coming directly through the windows, your air conditioner will be working overtime to cool the house. A simple way to use less power is just to block the sources of sunlight–you can try drawing heavy curtains across windows–but sometimes you need the light. In those cases, try to diminish the light instead.
Thin drapes are one way to do this, as is the use of two sheets of newspaper (assuming you don’t mind that “under renovation” look). Some people go for a compromise, such as clustering large leafy plants near direct sources of sunlight–this diminishes the light while jazzing up the place a bit.
If you want a permanent solution, you can also tint the windows.
2. Help Your Air Conditioner
Do you have one of those traditional Chinese fans? Try this: turn up the air conditioner by two degrees, and then fan yourself for the next five minutes or so.
By the time you stop, you’ll be feeling nice and cool all the way. A lot of the time, air conditioning doesn’t feel as cool as it should because of poor air circulation. If you’ve been to a cold country, for example, you may know how nice and tolerable seven degrees celsius can feel… until the wind blows in your face.
It’s the same deal: amplify your air conditioning by getting the wind going. In a pinch, you can also use sheafs of A4 paper or old magazines as makeshift fans.
3. Clean Your Air Conditioner's Vents
The air conditioning vent (the part where the air blows out) gets dirty and clogged very quickly. This can drive up your power bill, since a clogged vent means it takes more energy for your air conditioner to cool the room.
In the long run, leaving the vent clogged can also damage the air conditioning unit, and ruin the delicate filters inside it. Replacements and a repairman can run up costs as high as S$300, especially if it is a central air conditioning unit.
So avoid being lazy and keep those vents clean. It just takes 15 minutes, a stepladder, and some running water to get it done.
4. Use The Thermostat
If you are going to sleep with the air conditioner on, learn to set the timer or thermostat. Think about it: assuming you sleep for seven hours, that’s around 210 hours of power usage every month. Depending on the power consumption of your air conditioner, that could be a savings of upward of S$20 a month.
Setting the timer or thermostat is also better for the environment, and saves money in the long run–if you make a habit of keeping your air conditioner on all night, it is likely to break down in short order.
A worn out air conditioner will usually drain more power than a well maintained one. Factors like coolant leaks, stuck vents, and cracks in the casing can all cause your air conditioning to work overtime. And of course, poor maintenance can eventually lead to a total breakdown, and we know these things aren’t cheap to replace.
So keep a record of when your air conditioning unit was last serviced, and call in a technician for a general cleaning once a year. You might also want to check if the manufacturer or your property manager offers special rates for these services.
6. Don't Always Go For Cheap
It might be tempting to save by getting a cheap, obscure brand of air conditioner, or to forego any warranties. Our suggestion is that you don’t.
You may end up spending more on a good unit, but a lousy one will cost you more if you need to wholly replace the unit. Also, it is not cheap to call in a technician repeatedly (and you will be doing that if you go cheap).
7. Install A Water Saving Kit In Your Home
Even if you don’t care about the environment, you should care about saving water at home because it can cut down your water bill.
The Singapore government has a Water Efficient Homes programme that provides water saving kits to residents in the form of a thimble. According to PUB, people who have installed the thimble in their homes have cut down on their utility bills by 5%.
This is absolutely free of charge, and you can request one here.
8. Clean Your Air Con Filters
If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the filters on your air conditioners, they might be clogged up with dirt. This makes it difficult for the cold air to come out, and your air-conditioners will use more energy (and time!) to cool the room to the temperature you’ve set.
Make a habit of cleaning the filter once every month or two. You don’t have to hire a repairman to help you –in fact, it’s so easy you can do it yourself.
To save more energy, set the timer to switch your air-conditioner off halfway through the night. You’ll be asleep anyway and wouldn’t feel much of a difference.
9. Use An Alternate Version Of Electrical Appliances
It’s convenient to use an electrical kettle to boil water or a dryer after washing your clothes. But these appliances use up serious amounts of electricity. The more energy you use at home, the more money SP Services will charge you.
Using a kettle over a stove to boil water instead isn’t going to take more effort on your part (it’s not like you have to stoke the fire to life). Neither is hanging your clothes out to dry.
10. Use A Credit Card To Get Cash Rebates On Your Bills
Some cash rebate credit cards in Singapore reward you with cash rebates when you use them to make payments. You get even more cashback when you create a recurring bill payment option with them.
For example, your utilities bill is an average of S$200, your broadband and cable bill comes up to S$100 and your mobile bill is around S$65 a month. You can get up to the following cash rebates with these cards: