Saving on the energy expenditure of a home is possible without necessarily leaving a kidney in a thorough reform. With only a few modifications of the habits of consumption and use of appliances, it is possible to avoid the disbursement of at least about 200 euros a year, according to experts. It is true that, whenever there is talk of improving energy efficiency, the first changes that are usually evoked are the increase of the insulation of the envelope and the replacement of the windowsor the installation of photovoltaic panels, among others. All of them undoubtedly involve some investment, but there are other elements to look at and that do not imply excessive spending.
“The truth is that users can achieve energy savings and be more sustainable through minimal daily changes, mainly in the use of appliances and heating,” says Emilio Bravo, CEO of the electric company Lucera, pointing out the two keys to economize in this area.
Beware of appliances
The appliances that contribute most to energy expenditure in homes are the refrigerator (662 kWh per year on average), the freezer (563 kWh), television (263 kWh), the washing machine (255 kWh), the dryer (255 kWh) and the dishwasher (246 kWh), although the actual values will depend on the efficiency of the device and its use, according to calculations of la Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).
Using a convection oven, for example, consumes half compared to a conventional one, although the advice of the OCU spokesperson is “do not preheat for a long time and turn off about five or 10 minutes before the end of cooking.” Nor should the grill function, which consumes twice as much, be abused, and an insulated oven with double or triple glass will be preferred, since its cost is half compared to a classic one. A common sense measure will be to avoid placing it near the refrigerator or, if it is inevitable, to interpose an insulator. Better open the door a little and take the opportunity to bake several foods at once.
Usually, the expense in the kitchen It will be half with the most efficient induction plates. Significant savings can also be obtained if pans of the same size as the plate are used, if it is turned off before the end of cooking, if the containers are covered, if the quick cooker is often used and food is removed from the refrigerator before put them to cook. Since cooking involves producing heat, another measure that can be taken is to lower the heating while cooking.
As for the refrigerator, it will be necessary to calculate a capacity of 60 liters per person and take advantage of the volume, but without compressing the food. It will not be installed near the oven, the radiator or a sunny window and it will be verified that the air circulates behind. The thermostat will be between four and six degrees. “Do not leave the door open for a long time and defrost if there is frost: with 3 millimeters spend 30% more,” warns Izverniceanu.
Washing machine, dishwasher and thermos
“It is recommended to use the washing machine and the dishwasher only when they are full, taking into account that they will spend 80% of the energy on heating the water, so it is advisable to select programs in cold or low temperature”, suggests Belén López, of the Asecener energy certification company. In the case of the washing machine, cold or low temperature programs will be preferred, “since washing clothes at 40 degrees instead of 60, you can save up to 55% of energy,” he says. The dryer drum must be completely filled, but respecting the maximum load, and the filter and condenser must be cleaned of lint.
Izverniceanu advises against installing the water heater on the terrace, basement or garage and stresses that it should always be insulated with rock wool and not adjust the temperature to more than 60 degrees. “You have to put a programming plug to heat water in the cheapest hours and if it is not used in 24 hours, unplug it,” suggests the OCU spokeswoman.
Adapt the boiler
As far as heating is concerned, López points out that energy expenditure depends not only on the tightness of the rooms, but also on the adequacy of the installation. In other words, “you have to verify that the boiler is properly sized, as well as taking care of the maintenance of the radiators.” As far as possible, temperatures will be constant and consistent with the use we need of each place in the house at all times.
It will also be taken into account that considerable savings can be achieved in the electricity bill by replacing old boilers with condensation, biomass boilers or a heat pump. “The traditional air conditioning equipment of split indoor and outdoor unit have a higher consumption than the current high efficiency air-to-air heat pump systems, ”says López.
The Asecener manager also brings up the role of lighting. Beyond change traditional bulbs with led ones, López encourages the installation of timers or presence detectors, and adds: “For a very low price we can put dimmers that reduce the lighting of the rooms according to their use, since we do not need the same light in the room to see the television or in those parts of the house dedicated to reading or work ”.
In his opinion, there are also several effective actions that can be carried out without involving a significant economic investment. Among them, the fact of “closing the radiators that we do not use, installing a programmable thermostat, disconnecting appliances, lowering the blinds at night in winter and day in summer, putting carpets and taking advantage of sunlight” stands out.
“The savings will be effective if we accompany the changes of habits with very economical systems and easy to install, such as for example external and internal adjustable parasols,” in the season of maximum sunshine, he advises.
Technology can also be a great ally of the user, thanks to the connectivity and advancement of speech recognition devices. “Almost all household appliances – including air conditioning, thermostat, lights and garage doors – can be connected to the so-called internet of things [IoT, por sus siglas en inglés] and be controlled remotely from a mobile device or smart speaker, ”says Bravo, from Lucera.
“For have a smart home It is not necessary to buy the latest gadgets from the market at exorbitant prices, ”says Bravo,“ since simply replacing the devices we have with similar ones with connection, we will turn our house into a smarter home ”.
“The simplest measure that has the most impact on energy saving in a home is knowing how much electricity is consumed per month.” This is clear that Joaquín Coronado, CEO of the Podo electricity company, for whom it is shown that a home in which all its members know how much they spend electricity monthly saves between 8% and 12% of their consumption.
Along the same lines, Emilio Bravo, general director of another marketer, Lucera, says he is convinced that “having an efficient home begins by knowing how we consume energy.” Therefore, in his opinion, it is worth returning to the basics: read correctly The invoice of light. The first thing to look at is whether the contract belongs to the regulated or free market. The rate that is applied in the first one, the voluntary price for the small consumer (PVPC) changes every hour depending on the supply and demand. “In the second, less flexible rates are usually offered where the price of light is different from the regulated one, with greater stability,” says Bravo.
Beyond knowing what each of the disaggregated concepts correspond to, such as VAT, meter, electricity tax and billing period, it will be necessary to know the contracted power and the estimated monthly electricity consumption. “Identifying all these concepts is the first step to analyze if it is necessary to adjust it to our consumption,” concludes Bravo.