As if being the world’s most expensive city to live in wasn’t enough of an unfortunate distinction, Singapore’s Consumer Price Index underwent a 2.5% spike between April 2013 and April 2014 as a result of elevated food, transport and healthcare costs. It’s this daily struggle for the bare essentials for Singaporeans bullied by the notorious inflation demon that makes life so difficult to get on with. Current economic indicators are speculating that inflation in Singapore will vary between 2%-3% for the remainder of the year.
When it comes to living costs, energy expenditure plays a massive role in contributing to it. Unfortunately, it is also the most overlooked wasteful expenditure that most people don’t bother to keep a tab on because of how miniscule these charges on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s when they add up at the end of the month that you might be in for a rude shock. But it’s too late to do anything about it then, isn’t it?
Dissecting the Electricity Consumption of an Average Singaporean Household
With a figure of 8306.77 kWh, Singapore was shown to have one of the highest electricity consumption per capita rates in South East Asia according a 2010 World Bank study. Private apartments and condos rank higher than 4-room HDB flats and executive apartments in terms of overall electricity consumption.
Among all the primary home appliances, air-conditioners, water heaters and refrigerators contribute to greater than 75% of the electricity bill in the majority of Singaporean households.
The electricity tariff rate in Singapore was recently set at 27.45 cents per kWh. Now I’m pretty sure that there’s not much that will pique your interest by throwing out jargon like kilowatt-hour; however, the cents and dollars sure will catch your attention because they will be coming out from your pocket at the end of the day. This is why you need to take a good hard look at your electricity bill and pin-point all the wasteful expenditure you make in the month and figure out a gameplan for conservative consumption.
Here are a few of the most common yet effective energy-saving tips and tricks you can adopt to ensure your savings are shielded against the brutal onslaught of costly utility bills:
1. Unclog Your Air Conditioner Filter and Use the Timer Setting
If you ever thought that your parent telling you that “it pays to be hygienic” was only a figure of speech, prepare to be proven wrong. Most Singaporean households end up ignoring the cleanliness of their AC filter and its regular maintenance. As the AC filter gets more clogged with dust over time, it becomes more difficult for cold air to get blown out and your AC will utilize a lot more energy in trying to keep your room cool.
All you need to do is look up a simple tutorial online for your air conditioner model and figure out how to remove and re-install its filter. After this, you can simply rinse or vacuum clean your filter to remove dirt. Just make sure the filter is dry before you attach it back on to avoid mold and mildew problems from surfacing.
Although air conditioners are foolproof appliances that are guaranteed to beat the heat at your disposal, they also add more to your energy bill than any other appliance in your household.
So how much money does it guzzle up, you ask? Well, a single 1000 W air conditioner running 8 hours a night for a year can burn a $1,186 hole in your wallet annually. Luckily, the majority of air conditioners come equipped with a timer configuration these days, and you can program it to automatically switch off after 2-4 hours when you have already dozed off.
But if you use the timer setting on your air conditioner and program it to shut off after 4 hours, you will be amazed to know that your bill will drop down to $300-$600 for the whole year.
2. Get Your Windows Tinted
If you happen to reside in a flat that’s in the direct path of sunlight, then you must be aware of how easily the heat can accumulate over hours to turn your residence into an uncomfortable hotbox. If that is the case, then purchasing a window tint is exactly what you need.
You can either invest around $500 to get a local company to install a window tint or pay half the cost by purchasing the materials online and installing it yourself.
Window tints are perhaps one of the most cost-effective permanent solutions for beating your household heating issues and save you a fortune in air conditioning expenses. Window tints essentially filter out 99% of ultraviolet rays that penetrate your windows in the day and eliminate nearly 90% of the heat.
3. Optimizing Your Refrigeration Techniques
First and foremost, you must ensure that the thermostat in your refrigerator is configured to match the ideal setting because overcooling only becomes a liability to your household energy consumption. Overloading is another cardinal sin to avoid so that the cold air in the fridge can circulate smoothly without choking the cooling capabilities of your appliance.
Hot food must be allowed to cool down before being put into the fridge as it puts a higher load on the compressor. Similarly, uncovered foods and liquids must be appropriately covered to in order to prevent the same effect on the compressor.
4. Efficient Water Heater Use
Singporeans who own an instantaneous water heater can practice a simple yet sound energy conservation strategy by switching on the heater only 15-20 minutes before a bath. Leaving it on for longer than that results in an unnecessary wastage of electricity and will overheat your tanker water to the point of it becoming too hot to bathe with.
Longer showers also mean longer usage of bathroom lights, which means costlier bills.
For more financial tips and tricks to optimize your lifestyle, visit imoney.sg and learn all the best moves to make with your money.
Want the best financial deals in town delivered to your inbox once a month? Sign up for iMoney’s Monthly Round-Up today!