How You Can Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer By Using These Common Sense Tips

The truth is Hawaii gets hot. Really hot. During the scorching and humid months from June to October, residents begin to crank up their less than efficient AC window units to find relief.

But with the highest electricity rates in the nation, Hawaii electicity bills can be alarmingly high. Here are some practical, common sense ideas to lower your summer time electricity bill.

Air Conditioning

Running your window AC unit for 8 hours a night can increase your monthly utility bill by up to $50-$100 a month. By raising your thermostat by a few degrees, you can dramatically decrease your monthly utility bill. Here are a few additional ideas to help you reduce your AC related energy consumption.

  • Use a fan in place of running the AC unit.
  • Raise/Lower your thermostat whenever possible.
  • Replace, repair and clean your AC unit filters to improve AC unit efficiency.
  • Install CFL lights and keep blinds closed to reduce the temperature of your home.
  • Research your cooling system needs ahead of time. HECO provides a unit size calculator to help determine system needs and average monthly bill.
  • Have your AC system regularly maintained. If you have a central AC unit, you may qualify for a maintenance rebate.
  • Consider adding a photovoltaic solar system to your home.

Laundry Machines

Stop using heat while doing laundry is a very simple step to cutting your electricity bill. Additionally, learning the optimal size ratio for your washing drum and doing laundry in the evening will further your savings.

The Importance of Reducing Heat

The heating process in the wash drum accounts for up to 90% of the energy usage of your washing machine, this according to LG Electronics. Using cold water also eliminates the need to separate colors and is also a good practice for those using photovoltaic kit systems in Hawaii.

Drying your clothes in a drier will use a large amount of energy, but for those of us in Hawaii line drying not only makes sense, it's easy.

Do Laundry in Off-Peak Hours

HECO offers off-peak discounts of $0.6 cents below typical rates between the hours of 9 pm to 7 am. This may be a inconvenience for some, but considering the highest rates of +$0.5 are between the hours of 5 pm to 9 pm there is considerable savings by simply adjusting your laundry schedule. Learn More about HECOS off-peak and on-peak utility rates.

Dishwashers

If you're lucky enough to own a dishwasher, than simply reducing the amount of heat you use will cut energy costs. If you're like most Hawaii residents and sink wash your dishes, using luke-warm water will dramatically reduce your water heating costs. Solar water heaters or solar thermal can reduce your overall electricity bill by up to 60%, and installing a Hawaii photovoltaic Solar System can possible zero out your electricity bill.

Load Your Dishwasher Efficiently

Loading your dishwasher correctly may take a bit longer than simply piling the dishes together but will result in cleaner dishes and a more energy efficient wash cycle. Don't worry about completely pre-cleaning your dishes, the dishwasher is designed to clean dirty dishes; additionally, the more time you spend pre-washing dishes the more water you are wasting.

When placing your dishes, the bottom racks work best for plates and other larger items. The plates should always face into the center of the racks; this is where the water jets are most concentrated. How you should organize your utensils may seem a bit backwards, but all utensils should be placed handle first; this includes sharp knives--so be extra careful.

Place bowls, cups and other cooking utensils on the top racks. Of course, cups and bowls should face down-bowls at a slanted angle. All miscellaneous items like Tupperware and other plastics should always be loaded in the top racks as the heat can bend and warp them.

Place large flat objects like cutting boards in the back or to the sides of the dishwasher--never up front and parallel with the dishwasher door. This can prevent the detergent release door from opening properly, and preventing dishes from being washed correctly and require a re-wash--which is double the energy consumption!

Household Appliances and Electronics

Combined, appliances and electronics account for around 15%-20% of energy usage in an average household. That may or may not seem like a significant percentage, but some devices do require more energy to run than others. Here's a list of items that have high electrical draws:

  • Video game systems like Xbox 360's and PS3's
  • Electric Kettles (common in Hawaii)
  • Desktop computers
  • Plasma Television Displays

Turning your electronics and appliances on and off after every usage can be difficult to remember, that's why it's best to plug your high draw appliances onto efficient power strips. With just the flip of a switch you can turn everything off. This is important to do if you have a photovoltaic solar system, as the evening electrical draw of your appliances can decrease the effectiveness of your solar system.