As temperatures start to soar, your water and electricity bills are bound to follow suit. But a few simple changes to your daily habits could radically help you save on the amount of energy and water that you use – and waste.
Not only will changing your behavior in the home save you money, you’ll also be doing the environment a favor and play a part in reducing the UAE’s carbon footprint, which is currently four times higher than the global average.
By following these 10 simple steps, you’ll radically reduce the costs of running your home – money that would be much better off sitting in a savings account, or maybe treat yourself to the latest smartphone or even put it into a deposit on a mortgage!
1. According to DEWA, turning that temperature dial up by even one degree will help you save on your cooling costs by 9%. Try setting your AC to the recommended 23 degrees and you’ll knock dirhams of your next DEWA bill. If your AC system is more than ten years old, it is also worth thinking about having it replaced because an old AC could be doubling your cooling costs, says DEWA.
2. If you find that your DEWA bill is getting on the high end, check for leaks in the pipes under the ground. One of our regular users found out that there were 5 leaks in their backyard after seeing their bill go up from ~ AED 1,500 a month to AED 4,000 within a few months. Try and look for trends in your bill and do not ignore increases.
3. Get into the habit of switching electrical items, like DVD players, TVs, computer monitors and stereos, off at the mains when they are not in use, so they are not generating unnecessary heat. Also, those tiny, blinking standby lights could be consuming up to 50% as much energy as when the device is actually in use.
4. Always turn lights off as soon as you leave a room and train the rest of the family to do the same. This is an easy step to help you save.
5. Invest in LED light bulbs, which are more energy efficient and do not generate any heat, and choose the lowest wattage that you need. There’s no point having a 100-watt light bulb in a side lamp, for example. Also, dust light bulbs off regularly, as a layer of dust can block up to half of the light. Dimmer switches will also help you to conserve energy, as will timers and motion detectors on exterior and security lights that do not need to be on all the time.
6. Only turn your dishwasher and washing machine on once you have a full load. Even simple actions like turning off the tap while you are brushing your teeth or shaving could help reduce your water consumption levels by some 19 litres a day.
7. If you own your own property, think about investing in water-efficient toilets, showers and sinks. Big sanitary ware companies such as Grohe, Kohler and Hansgrohe offer a host of energy and water-efficient options that will radically help you save on the amount of water that you waste.
8. Buy thick, heavy-duty curtains with a blackout lining — they’ll be worth every dirham. Make sure to draw them during the hottest parts of the day, which will block out the light and help keep your home feeling cooler, so your AC has less work to do. If you have expensive rugs, artwork and furniture, make sure they are not being exposed to direct sunlight as this will ruin them. Save yourself the cost of having to replace things by being strategic about where you place them.
9. Making sure that your garden thrives through the summer months can be a costly and labour intensive business. Try to waste as little water as possible by never watering your garden in the heat of the day. Stick to early morning or late evening watering sessions, when the water is less likely to evaporate straight off.
10. Finally, invest in local, drought resistant plants that will consume less water and are guaranteed to make it through the worst of the heat.