utility bills
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Dubai: Trying to reduce your utility bill during the summer? There are ways you can prevent your bill from burning a hole in your pocket.

But it is not just about your own expenses, irrational use of appliances can also have a highly negative impact on the environment. So, if you want to use electricity and water resources more conscientiously and also reduce your bill, here is your guide to managing your utility connections during the summer.

1. Don’t use non-essential appliances from 12pm to 6pm

With the sun blazing down for most of the day, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), urges residents to avoid using non-essential appliances between 12 noon to 6pm, as these are ‘peak load’ hours.

As part of its awareness campaign, Dewa urges residents to reschedule the use of appliances such as water heaters, electric ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, and irons for use during the morning or evening. While this may not necessarily reduce your electricity bill, per se, it will help ensure that extra fuel is not consumed to generate more energy during peak load hours.

2. Set your AC to 24°C

Keep your thermostat set at 24°C and make sure you set it on ‘automatic mode’ if your AC has that option, so that it shuts and restarts at intervals. While you may feel the urge to reduce the temperature to lower than 24°C if you have just stepped in to your home, it is best to give the cooling system some time and let it set the room’s temperature to an ideal 24°C. Also, remember, that every time you decrease the temperature by one degree celcius, you are increasing your AC consumption by five per cent.

3. AC older than 10 years? Consider replacing it.

The optimal lifetime of an AC is 10 years, according to Dewa, so consider changing it with a new energy-efficient AC, if possible. When looking for a new AC, choose one which has a four- or five-star rating from Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA). This will help you save up to 25 per cent on cooling consumption, according to Dewa.

4. Get a ceiling or pedestal fan

Fans use about as much electricity as a light bulb, so installing one can be helpful in reducing your air-conditioning bill. The air fans circulate can help you cool down more quickly and keep your room feeling cool during the day.

5. Clean your AC filters

Clogged or dirty AC filters can block the normal airflow. It is recommended to clean your AC filters periodically or ideally once a month during summer.

6. Use curtains or drapes

They help reduce the heat entering through the room’s glass or windows, allowing the room to stay cooler and reducing the load on the AC.

7. Apply weather stripping and caulking

Weather stripping and caulking are used to seal or cover gaps around doors and windows. You can get a weather stripping foam seal at a hardware store or order them online, to keep the cooled air inside your house and to prevent hot air from entering into your home.

8. Don’t use a hot water setting when washing clothes

If you usually use a hot water setting on your washing machine, reduce the temperature to where the water is just warm. According to Dewa, making this simple change will decrease your consumption by 50 per cent. Also, if you are washing clothes which are darker in colour, Dewa recommends washing them in cold water, as it saves their colour as well as the energy consumption.

9. Buy an iron that automatically switches off

Consider buying an iron that has an auto switch-off feature, in case you forget to turn it off. Also, if you don’t have a steam iron, spray some water on your clothes. This will make it easier to get rid of any creasing, and does not require the iron to be used for long periods.

If you are using all these energy saving tips and more, but still feel that your bill is unusually high, you can use Dewa’s ‘Consumption Assessment Tool’, which will help you monitor your electricity consumption levels at home, and make more sustainable decisions. To find out how to use the tool, read our guide here.