How to save on utility services: life hacks from the most zealous resident
The ever-growing amounts in utility bills are an eternal headache for millions of Russians. Probably, only very wealthy people can afford not to think about how to save on electricity, water, gas and heat. The rest are looking for options to reduce spending, and some of the tenants are very successful in this.
Life hack number 1: wash clothes, following the instructions on the clothing label
How much water do you think flows away while you wash your face in the morning, brush your teeth? Everything is self-tested. At least 4 liters in the morning and the same amount in the evening. And this is the cost of 1 person. But daily morning procedures require only 300 grams of water. For economical washing, a regular sink plug will do — for 77 rubles. With it, you can wash your face and hands with just 1 liter. Or wash the dishes in the kitchen in 2 liters of warm water, and not just pour out about 3 liters to wash one plate.
In addition, try to wash dishes in a full sink with a covered drain. Water that you rinse fruits and vegetables with can be used to water flowers. All these manipulations will help save about 12 cubic meters of water per year — about 650 rubles.
And, of course, wash in the shower, not in the bathroom — the water consumption will be reduced significantly. I periodically experiment and wash myself with water flowing out of the washing machine after washing. In such cases, instead of powder, I rub laundry soap, which has accumulated since Soviet times.
By the way, when washing, you can save water resources if you wash things strictly according to the instructions on the clothing label. If you need to wash at 30 degrees, do not force the machine to run at 60 degrees. You will not only save your hard-earned money, but also do not wash your favorite jacket — then you will not need to buy a new one soon. Do laundry only from 23:00. Still, the night rate is cheaper. Before washing in the machine, wash stains on clothes manually with soap — this way, the cost of electricity and water for washing will decrease by 1.5 times.
Life hack #2: Use a glass when brushing your teeth
Never leave the faucet open while brushing your teeth. It turns out that in 2-3 minutes, about 2 liters of water per day, 15 liters per week and almost 850 liters per year flow nowhere. If we multiply all this by two (morning and evening), by the number of family members and by 365 days, we get 55,000 liters of water per year, which we “successfully” drain into the sewer. It is much easier and cheaper to fill a glass with water and use it to rinse your mouth and toothbrush. Save about 3,500 rubles a year.
Life hack #3: Save water by flushing the toilet with a brick
A typical toilet cistern holds approximately 8 liters of water. A good way to reduce water consumption is to fill the container with something heavy. Everyone remembers the law of Archimedes? Then write down: to use less water in the toilet, you can put three 1.5-liter plastic bottles filled with water in the toilet bowl. Save significantly — 2 times less water — 4 liters instead of 8. Or you can use the «services» of a brick, a bag of sand and even a bottle of coins. This works great too.
Life hack number 4: install a faucet with a thermostat
Not so long ago, I began to use one “smart” thing in the bathroom, which uses water sparingly. Such a shower is one and a half times cheaper than usual — I paid about 3,000 rubles for it. Thanks to the mixer with a thermostat, I immediately get a jet of water at the most comfortable temperature (30 °), without wasting about 10 liters each time until hot and cold water are mixed in the right temperature ratio. This trick saves at least 5 liters. Another water consumption in the bathroom can be reduced by 5 times if you install a shower head with small holes, which I did.
In the kitchen, a faucet sprinkler for 180 rubles helps me save about 30% of water. Water with its help flows out under high pressure and sprays a jet.
Lifehack #5: Soak Dirty Dishes
Did you know that cooking without a lid, or when it is loose on the pot, uses 3 times more energy? I advise you to always cook food in a saucepan with a lid. In this case, the pan should have a thickened bottom, and the diameter should be slightly larger than the burner. Energy savings — from 140 to 280 kWh per year. An induction electric stove will save you money — it heats only the dishes. And those who have not skipped physics at school are probably aware that ceramic, copper utensils heat up faster than cast iron and steel. Conclusion: using the first one is much more economical.
At one time, my mother taught me to boil water for soup in a kettle, not in a saucepan — this way it boils faster. And do not pour out the water after cooking pasta — you can brew tea in it.
I also advise you to pour exactly the amount of water into the kettle that you will use in order to save electricity. I personally timed the time: it takes about 3 minutes to boil a full kettle. I boil water on a gas stove. I pour unused boiling water into a thermos and use it later. Do not be lazy to clean the kettle more often. The more scale, the more time and electricity it will take to heat the water.
Get into the habit of soaking dirty dishes right away. Dried food waste takes more water than usual.
I guess my next piece of advice won’t go down well with environmentalists. But to save money on water and detergents, free bags from the supermarket that you can put on plates and throw away after use help me. This will keep your plates clean. It is also convenient during the period when hot water is turned off — much less dishes will have to be washed in ice water.
Life hack number 6: paint the batteries
Dark-colored batteries — brown or black — will generate more heat, and if you stick foil behind them, you will become much more comfortable. Such a household trick will help reduce heat consumption by 10%. Not only did I paint the batteries brown and install the meters, but I also put heat shields behind them. Plain foil is also suitable — 12 meters for 119 rubles. The apartment will immediately become 2 degrees warmer. Or install bimetallic radiators, they have the highest heat transfer — 380 W / m * K. But such radiators will have to be cleaned periodically: 1 mm of dust reduces the heat transfer efficiency by as much as 15%. To save even more, insulate the balcony and front door, install sealed double-glazed windows. It is through the windows that about 40% of the heat escapes from the apartment.
Life hack number 7: use light bulbs with minimal power
Saving electricity is also easy and simple. I unscrewed all the bulbs from the five-arm chandelier in the living room and screwed 5 12W bulbs into it. All pleasure — 66 rubles for each. In the bedroom I use a night light, in which I screwed one 8 W light bulb for 38 rubles. In the kitchen, in the hall, in the bathroom and toilet I use 1 W light bulbs — 40 rubles each. Energy-saving and LED light bulbs will save about 1,000 rubles a year. And be sure to wipe the light bulbs and shades from dust, dust eats up to 20% of the outgoing light .
The biggest «devourer» of electricity — a refrigerator — I installed in the corridor, away from the battery, windows and stoves. I switched it to energy-saving mode: the freezer works at -15 degrees, the refrigerator itself — at -5 degrees. It is most advantageous to defrost products not in the sink, but in the refrigerator compartment. Good savings on compressor operation.
The family budget will thank you if you paint the walls and ceiling white. A bright interior and curtains will reduce energy costs by 10-15%.
When leaving home, be sure to turn off the lights, electrical appliances, chargers. The electricity consumption of appliances in standby mode is 10% of the total electricity consumption. Unplugged electrical appliances save about 55 rubles a year.
Life hack number 8: turn off unnecessary services
The utility bill is often «teeming» with services that we do not use, but for some reason do not turn them off. But if you do that, you’ll save a lot of money. For example, I don’t listen to the radio. And the radio station is absolutely useless to me. But in many old houses in Moscow, even today, the “communal” includes a fee for a radio station — about 99 rubles a month. It turns out that 1188 rubles fly into the wind a year. I paid the state duty in the amount of 61 rubles and turned off the radio.
The same can be said about the collective television antenna, which is usually installed on the roof of the house. Paying about 250 rubles a month just for having an antenna? And if a person does not have a TV? That’s as much as 3,000 rubles a year! I contacted the management company, wrote a statement and turned it off.
I also consider the presence of a landline telephone as an unnecessary service. Today, its absence is easily replaced by a smartphone. The fee for a landline telephone in Moscow is on average from 300–450 rubles per month. Even with a minimum subscription fee per year, it takes up to 3,000 rubles to pay for the service. If you do not need a home phone, it is better to refuse it. Personally, I save from 2,500–3,000 rubles a year this way.
Life hack number 9: iron clothes with the iron turned off, but still warm
Another friend of mine in everyday life — an iron — is equipped with a thermostat and a shutdown function when the desired temperature is reached. I start and finish ironing with clothes that require a low temperature setting: pullovers, T-shirts, polo shirts. They can be ironed with an already turned off, but still warm iron. I advise vacuum cleaner lovers to knock out the bag as often as possible. A vacuum cleaner clogged with dust and other debris “eats” about 40% of the electricity.
Life hack number 10: pay for a «communal» card with a cashback
Do not be lazy and issue a card to receive cashback — an average of 2-3%. Payment for the «communal» will return you a small part of the funds. For example, if you pay utility bills from a card during the year — with a monthly cashback of 1% — you will get back about 450 rubles.
And without a twinge of conscience, insist on recalculation if you were absent from home for more than five days. But this method works if you do not have counters installed. If they are, then you will simply pay for a smaller amount of water, electricity and gas according to their average readings.
It is possible to achieve a recalculation for poor-quality services: muddy or barely warm water flows from the tap, the gas was turned off for more than 4 hours, electricity — for 2 hours.
It is also beneficial for the family budget to ask the state for a subsidy to pay for housing and communal services. Provided that your expenses are more than 10% (the figure for Moscow) of the total income of the payment for the «communal apartment».
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