Useful tips & tricks for saving electricity in everyday life
Operating the light switch when leaving the room has been common practice for decades. However, a lot has happened since the invention of the lightbulb and we now depend on 24/7 electricity at home. The domestic power consumption is correspondingly high. It is now clear that whoever saves electricity not only protects the wallet, but also the environment. But what is the best way to save electricity at home? Discover 22 tips for saving energy, with which you can easily organize your everyday life to save electricity!
Due to the high demand, we have updated this article and added the 22nd energy saving tip “Work on the laptop instead of the PC”.
Economical devices without battery
Electrical devices such as toothbrushes, electric razors and telephones use significantly less electricity when connected directly to the mains than devices that run on batteries.
The LED lamp is energy efficiency class A+ with a weighted energy consumption of 3 kWh/1000h
You can find out how high the energy consumption of a device is or how energy-efficient it is by looking at the EU energy label. If you are unsure which device consumes the least power, compare the information on the EU energy label for the battery and main models.
Pay attention to the energy efficiency class for new devices
Regardless of whether it is a dishwasher, washing machine or kettle, the basic rule is: the higher the energy efficiency, the better. Therefore, always include the energy efficiency class when making a purchase decision. In the end, more expensive devices can be worth buying if they consistently consume less energy than cheaper models.
As already mentioned, the EU energy label shows you how energy efficient a device is. Products marked with A+++ and in dark green show very high energy efficiency, while red and D stand for very poor energy efficiency.
A revised EU energy label has been in force since March 2021, which no longer has the plus classes A+, A++ and A+++. It is only categorized from A (very good) to G (very bad).
Stand-by mode is more energy-efficient than normal mode, but the devices continue to consume electricity in this mode. The best way to avoid this unnecessary energy requirement is to pull the plug.
By the way, it is not only good for your electricity bill to disconnect the devices from the mains. You also prevent possible causes of fire: If an electrical device has a defect inside and overheats, it can quickly lead to an electrical fire.
Tip: If you find it too annoying to pull the plug or if the socket is in an unfavourable place, you can use a socket strip with a switch. This makes it easy to turn off the power.
Energy-saving refrigerator in the right place
There are devices that consume a lot of electricity and we can’t just unplug them every now and then. The fridge for example. Therefore, before you buy, think about whether you need a freezer compartment and how big the fridge actually needs to be.
Not only with the right refrigerator, but also with the right position, electricity can be saved. Put the refrigerator in the coldest possible place and do not cool it more than necessary. This also applies to chest freezers and freezers: Ideally, place the chest freezer in the basement.
Also, make sure to leave sufficient space on the wall for the cooler of the refrigerator. So that the heat can also dissipate upwards, you should place as little as possible on the refrigerator. Incidentally, the air is a poor conductor of heat, so a full fridge is not only a pretty sight, but it is also better for the electricity bill.
Tip: fridge a break when you go on vacation. Simply switch off and defrost in the meantime.
Cooking with gas
A gas stove works with gas and is, therefore – who would have thought it – particularly energy-saving. But it is actually more environmentally friendly than an electric stove and uses about half as much primary energy. This is because the gas generates heat directly, while the electricity first has to be generated from other energy sources.
If you cook with gas, it is estimated that only half the CO 2 is released as with a conventional electric stove. You can continue to use your pots, as no special pots are required for the gas stove. By the way, some chefs are convinced that dishes cooked with gas taste better.
Cooking with a lid
Regardless of whether it is a gas stove or an electric stove, it is well known that heat “rises” upwards. If the pot is not covered, the heat has free flow towards the ceiling. If the pot is covered, the heat generated stays inside. In addition, the food is ready faster!
It is best to use a glass lid, then you can look inside the pot without having to keep lifting the lid. This is because valuable heat is lost every time.
Tip: Make sure you choose a saucepan that suits the size of the hotplate and the number of ingredients. In this way, you do not heat up an unnecessarily large pot and no energy is lost on a stove that is too large.
You don’t always have to use the stove!
If you have electrical appliances such as coffee machines, kettles and egg cookers in your kitchen, then use them! On average, these appliances consume over a third less electricity than electric cookers.
Only fill the kettle with as much water as you actually need. However, the kettle is rather unsuitable for boiling eggs.
Note: If you are not only worried about your own electricity bill but also about the ecological balance, you should avoid coffee machines with aluminium pads. The production of these pads requires a lot of energy and is harmful to the environment.
Bake without preheating – cook with residual heat
You do not want to generate unnecessary heat that is ultimately not used? Then only preheat your oven if the pre-run is crucial for the success of the food. While pizza or biscuit dough, for example, likes to be really warm right from the start, the oven does not have to be preheated for a casserole.
The residual heat can also be ideally used with electric hobs and ovens. If you only want the dish to simmer or cook a little, you can switch off the hotplate 10 to 15 minutes earlier and the oven 5 to 10 minutes earlier.
The oven is not efficient for small portions. Preferably use the stove. The oven is also like a pot lid: the more often you open the oven door, the more heat is lost and more energy is used.
Defrost the fridge and freezer
The space in the freezer is getting tight because a thick layer of ice has formed? Then it’s high time to defrost! The icing is not only annoying, it also unnecessarily increases power consumption. For efficient operation, the ice should be thawed from a layer of about one centimetre thick.
There is a very simple explanation for the increased power consumption: the ice layer makes it harder for the cold coming from the cooling coils to get inside. The icy cooling coils of the fridge or freezer, therefore, have to cool longer and use more energy overall to create icy conditions and keep your ice cubes in shape.
Tip: If your fridge doesn’t have an automatic defrost function, you’ll probably have to defrost it yourself. But you can speed up the defrosting process very easily: put a bowl of hot water inside to melt the ice faster. Don’t forget to wipe the inside dry before using the freezer unit again.
Heater down, door closed
If you turn down the heating and think about sitting in front of the sofa in a winter coat and gloves, then we can put your mind at ease. Because heating energy can be saved without drastic measures.
With every degree less, an estimated six per cent of heating energy is saved. It is therefore particularly important to regulate the temperature correctly and set it individually for each room.
While you like it to be cosy and warm in the bathroom at 23 °C, 16 to 18 °C is enough in the bedroom. In living rooms such as the living room and children’s rooms, a guide value of 20 to 22 °C applies. In the kitchen, 18 to 20 °C is optimal and if you like to cook and bake a lot, it will quickly get really warm anyway.
It is also important to ventilate the room vigorously from time to time rather than continuously tilting the windows. Remember to turn off the radiator while you do this.
Note: Be sure to bleed the heater before winter. If a radiator is not properly vented, it consumes a lot of energy.
This energy-saving tip is well-known and still effective: Turn off the lights! If nobody is in the room, the light does not have to be on. Just make sure you always think about the light when you leave a room and switch it off if necessary.
This is especially true for parts of the house that are not used that often, such as the basement and garage. If you leave the light on here, the unnecessary power consumption will most likely go unnoticed for several hours. Even in the hallway or on the stairwell, people like to leave the light on for convenience.
Tip: If, for example, you find it particularly difficult to go to the light switch in the stairwell, you can also have your light switched on automatically via a motion detector.
Use LED lamps and energy-saving lamps
Not only the burning time but also the type of light source can make a difference in terms of energy consumption. Energy-saving lamps use around 70 per cent less electricity than a conventional light bulb. While the power consumption and the CO2 emissions during production speak for an energy-saving lamp, it has fallen into disrepute in recent years because of the toxic mercury content.
So if you want to avoid hazardous waste and still want to save energy, LED lamps to offer a good alternative. The slightly higher acquisition costs pay off over time thanks to the energy consumption that is up to 85 per cent lower than that of conventional light bulbs.
Energy-guzzling apps running in the background
You only charged the battery a few hours ago and now it’s empty again? If the battery charge of a smartphone or tablet seems to be visibly dwindling, apps running in the background are usually to blame.
While some apps have a low-power background mode, others constantly “eat” battery power. The Facebook app is commonly known as a power guzzler. In general, apps that frequently send you notifications are potential battery suckers.
Navigation apps are also particularly power-hungry. Therefore, always make sure to deactivate the location function when not in use. The flashlight function should also not be switched on permanently. By the way, your smartphone needs the least battery in flight mode. So it’s best to treat yourself and your intelligent helper to a little radio silence every now and then.
Note: You can usually display how much battery charge is being used by which apps in the battery settings.
The best way to save on laundry is to wash less overall. Of course, this tip doesn’t help much when the mountains of laundry are piling up at home. But even if a lot of laundries has to be washed, there is potential for savings.
Basically, it is important to buy a washing machine with the highest possible energy efficiency. If you wash a lot, you can save so much energy with a new machine that in the long run, even an older washing machine will be more expensive.
In addition to the energy efficiency of the washing machine, the washing temperature also has a major impact on electricity and water consumption. For example, if you wash at 40 instead of 60 °C, you can save up to half the energy. The economic programs of modern washing machines therefore usually wash at 30 °C. So just switch it down and choose a lower temperature level.
In addition, with today’s washing machines and detergents, no pre-wash is required. Also, make sure that you only wash when the washing machine is actually full.
Leave laundry to dry on a drying rack
Electricity can be saved not only when washing, but also when drying. Although tumble dryers are convenient, they consume a lot of energy. So use the natural dryer on sunny and warm days and let the laundry dry on the clothesline.
Even if the laundry cannot be dried outside, boiler rooms, for example, offer good conditions for drying laundry on the drying rack. The nice thing about the natural drying process is that it doesn’t need any electricity at all.
Note: The more the laundry is spun, the less moisture remains in the textiles and the faster they dry. While a spin cycle with 1000 revolutions is sufficient for the clothesline, 1200 revolutions or more are recommended for the laundry, which then goes into the dryer.
Reduce water consumption
Save electricity by saving water? Exactly! On average, a quarter of water consumption in Germany is hot water. And in order for water to become hot water, energy must be used.
Even small changes can save water in everyday life. For example, make sure you don’t leave the tap running the entire time you’re brushing your teeth. Also, use a toothbrush cup. You can save even more by turning off the faucet in the sink or shower while you lather.
In the kitchen, you can use a large bowl to wash the vegetables in a water-saving way. If you have many plants or a garden, it is best to use collected rainwater for watering. Incidentally, you can also save electricity in the garden by not mowing the lawn too often.
In general, dripping taps are an absolute taboo in a water-saving household!
Note: Make sure that the dishwasher is a water-saving model. The machine should not consume more than 17 litres per run and only be fully loaded or at least operated in the economy program.
Install economy shower head and flow limiter
While showering with the normal showerer is already water-saving compared to a full bath, you can also save water when showering yourself.
Economy showerheads, aerators and flow limiters optimize the water jet so that less water is used while the shower comfort remains the same. The principle behind it is as follows: The water jet is divided at the tap or enriched with air so that the pressure and surface of the water increase and less water are required.
Water consumption can be reduced by up to half without even noticing it in the shower. In addition to energy-saving shower heads, there is another water-saving hero in the bathroom: the energy-saving cistern for the toilet. While a normal flushing process uses 7 to 9 litres of water, an economy button only uses 3 to 5 litres of water.
Note: Regularly check that the toilet flush is not broken and that water is not running continuously into the toilet. Similar to a dripping faucet, many litres of water end up being channelled unused into the sewage system.
Turn off the hot water tank or replace it with a flow heater
Hot water tanks or electric boilers offer certain advantages in terms of comfort, as they store a certain amount of hot water and have it ready for later use. So it’s just a matter of opening the faucet and running hot water! However, the constant heating of the water consumes a lot of electricity, which is why boilers constantly consume electricity. Boilers should therefore be switched off at night or when nobody is at home.
For those who do not want to constantly switch off the hot water tank to save electricity, instantaneous water heaters offer an alternative. These only consume electricity when hot water is really needed and only for the required amount of water.
However, a bit of patience or courage is required here: a certain lead time is required, which is why cold water comes first before hot water is finally available. Also, make sure that you only set the water temperature that is actually required.
Tip: Alternatively, you can use solar panels to generate heat for hot water and heating. Even during the cold season, the sun’s energy is sufficient to heat up a considerable part of the water.
Forego air conditioning
When temperatures are particularly high, there is only one true solution for many: air conditioning. But just as quickly as air conditioning systems provide pleasant cooling when it is hot, they also drive up electricity costs.
If you don’t want to work up a sweat at the sight of the electricity bill, you should opt for conventional alternatives such as fans and the correct ventilation procedure. An open refrigerator in the room is not an energy-saving alternative to air conditioning.
If you don’t want to do without your air conditioning system entirely, you can also exploit the savings potential in operating it. For example, avoid direct sunlight in the room and keep the windows and doors closed. Position the air conditioner as freely as possible so that the cooled air can circulate well in the room and do not set the temperature too cold.
Saving energy with digital helpers
If you want to reduce your electricity consumption, it is helpful to know your own energy consumption. If you know exactly where and how much electricity you use, it is easier for you to take appropriate savings measures.
There are now numerous tools, apps and websites that you can use to display and evaluate your own consumption. So-called “smart meters” also play an important role in saving energy. These electronic electricity meters can be intelligently networked via a communication interface and can transmit energy consumption in a timely manner.
Generate electricity yourself & switch to green electricity
Save electricity or not, even the keenest saver still uses electricity. In the meantime, there are also options for private individuals to reduce the costs for the remaining electricity consumption in the long term.
A particularly popular source of energy is the sun. While solar thermal energy is suitable for heating water, you can generate electricity with solar cells in the form of photovoltaic systems or mini solar systems. Part of the domestic energy requirement can thus be covered by solar energy.
An alternative source of energy is the wind. Since there are numerous templates and regulations associated with modern wind turbines, a mini wind turbine is particularly suitable. Approval is easier than with a giant wind turbine.
If you don’t want to become a private electricity producer and still want to make a contribution to reducing CO 2 emissions, you can switch to a green electricity provider. Switching is easy and often the tariffs for green electricity are even cheaper than those of conventional providers.
Note: If something goes wrong when you switch to green electricity, you still don’t suddenly find yourself in the dark. Your grid operator is generally obliged to continue to supply you with electricity.
Working on a laptop instead of a PC
Anyone who works or surfs a lot on a PC should use a laptop in the future. Because laptops are designed to run on battery power for as long as possible, they use significantly less energy. The power consumption of a PC with comparable use and equipment is usually (at least) twice as high as that of a laptop.
Do you just want to quickly research something on the internet? Then don’t turn on your laptop or even your computer, but use your smartphone. Smartphones and tablets are a lot more energy efficient than laptops.
Whether mobile device, laptop or PC, all devices can also save electricity using the energy-saving mode. This can be found in the control panel or in the system settings and can be adjusted personally. Determine the screen brightness according to your needs, when the device switches off automatically or goes to sleep and other settings.
And as with all other devices, the devices only consume no electricity when they are switched off. Therefore, always make sure to turn off your computer or laptop when not in use.
Conclusion: With small measures to big savings
Even if you don’t live in a straw hut far away from any electricity, there are numerous ways to significantly reduce your own energy consumption. Whether in the bathroom, in the kitchen or in the basement, there is potential for saving energy in every corner.
It’s often the little things like using the right light source or switching off electrical appliances properly that have a positive impact on the electricity bill. Just being informed about “electricity guzzlers” and being aware of them already influences us when dealing with domestic electricity.
It is up to the consumer to decide which measures are ultimately taken. The devices are still used for household support and even if doing without them completely represents the ultimate saving measure, the convenience for the consumer that was originally intended is lost.
Use your devices consciously and still for your enjoyment: If the sun is shining and you can hang the laundry on the clothesline, whistling happily, that’s ideal. If you just want to throw your laundry in the dryer on a cold, rainy day, that’s fine too. Now you know how you can do something for your wallet and your green conscience with simple tricks!