Original author of the article Bindisha Sarang | via economictimes

Summer means high energy consumption and high electricity bills. But small steps can whittle away power costs.

1. Go easy with the AC

The air-conditioner is the biggest power guzzler among household appliances. If you are planning to buy an AC, a BEE-rated model is a good option. If the choice is between a split and window AC, the split makes more money sense. Says Abhishekh Jain, founder, Bijlibachao.com, "A 5-star rated window AC is as power efficient as a 4-star split AC. Also, look for an AC with a built-in inverter. Though more expensive, it consumes much less power." An old 1.5 tonne AC uses around 1.5 units per hour, while an inverter AC uses only 0.91 units per hour.

How Much You Can Save

Used 5 hours a day, the approximate bill for an old AC in a year: Rs 27,372

Inverter AC: Rs 16,670

Potential savings: Rs 10,702 a year

2. Place the fridge right

A refrigerator accounts for 15% of a household's total power consumption. You can make your fridge more power efficient by placing it in a way to allow air circulation around it. It should be at least 2 inches away from the wall. Do not expose it to direct sunlight—it will need more power to function.

Don't stuff your fridge full, there won't be enough space for air to circulate inside, reducing the efficiency of the unit. Ice accumulation impacts energy consumption, so defrost regularly. If you are buying a new fridge, go for BEE-rated one. Big fridges and ones with features like instant ice maker use more energy. Replacing an old refrigerator with a new BEE-rated one, can save Rs 1,500 a year on power bills.

How Much You Can Save

Approximate annual power bill on an old refrigerator: Rs 4,468

BEE-rated refrigerator: Rs 2,916

Potential savings: Rs 1,552 a year

3. Reduce standby consumption

It's not enough to just switch off a device. If you don't turn off the main switch the device is connected to, you will continue to pay for the standby power. According to a study conducted by the Department of Energy in the US, a DVD player's standby power consumption is around 7.54 W, and a set-top box's 17.8 W. Switch off the electric point for appliances which are not being used. It is safer to unplug the cord. According to a government report, standby power use in a household accounts for nearly 2% of power consumed.

How Much You Can Save

Annual power bill without unplugging appliances: Rs 24,000

After unplugging appliances: Rs 23,550

Potential savings: Rs 450 a year

4. Switch off that fan

The power saver in us is quick to switch off lights and replace regular tube-lights and bulbs with CFL and LED. But lights are used only after dark, while fans run all day and night. Thus, fans have a bigger impact on power bills. While a tubelight consumes around 55 watts per hour, an average fan consumes 75 watts.

Old models and inexpensive fans can guzzle up to 90 watts. Replacing your old fan with a power-saver model makes sense as a BEE rated fan consumes around 50 watts. A study by Bijlibachao.com shows an eight-year-old fan consumes as much as 92 watts on full speed, twice as much a BEE-rated fan. Today, super energy efficient models are available, which use around 35 watts. The average cost of operating a fan is Rs 5 per unit.

How Much You Can Save

Used for 8 hours a day, the approximate bill in a year for a normal fan: Rs 1,095

A BEE-rated fan: Rs 730

A super efficient fan: Rs 511

Potential savings: Rs 365-584 a year

5. Analyse your bill

If you think your electricity bill is too high, analyse it. Detect the possible issues and take corrective measures. Bijlibachao.com has an online bill calculator which helps you understand the various components of your bill. It gives you approximate figures to show how much your are paying for various appliances in the house. You could save Rs 3,000 a year in electricity bills if you switch from using a desktop to a laptop. Switching from a 1-star refrigerator (200 lts) to 5-star could save you Rs 2,297 yearly.

How Much You Can Save

Approximate annual power bill when using a desktop at home: Rs 4,476

Laptop: Rs 1,167

Potential savings: Rs 3,309 a year

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