Due to the current crisis, Germany might be heading into a very cold winter. The unavailability of gas is going to make prices soar. Residences might have to pay thousands more for energy for the same spaces compared to last year.
There is also the possibility that energy will be rationed to keep the German industry and economy running. This is why it is important for every one to look at cutting back at their consumption. Not only to save cost but also to ensure that there is enough energy to go round in the coming winters
Know How Much You Are Paying For Energy
First of all, you should know how much you pay for your electricity and gas. You will find your tariff on your yearly statement from your Hausverwaltung or your electricity company.
Find out if your utility company have adjusted or plan to make changes to your tariff.
One of the first things that you will read about is to change your electricity provider to save money. This winter, it might just be what you do not want to do. Unless you have a very expensive tariff, new contracts may be very expensive at this time due to the current crisis.
Turn Off The Lights.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your electricity bill is to simply turn off the lights when you leave a room. If you use natural light whenever possible, and then use motion sensors or dimmer switches to turn off your lights when you’re not in the room, you can save yourself some serious cash.
Unplug and Turn Off Electronics When Not in Use
Unplugging your phone charger, laptop charger, and any other electrical device that you are not using is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. This is also a good habit to get into whenever you leave the house for an extended period of time.
Only use appliances when you need them
Set timers to turn off appliances if they’re not being used, such as your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer (if you have these).
You can use smart plugs to automate or switch off appliances even when you are not home.
Use Energy Efficient Electronics
- Use energy efficient electronics.
- If you have a computer at home, set it to go into sleep mode when it is not being used by you. This can save several hundred euros per year if your computer uses 60 watts per hour while in the sleep mode.
- Use power strips to turn off electronics when they are not in use. You can also use a power monitor to see how much electricity you are using and check what devices have the biggest consumption.
Change Your Light Bulbs To Energy Saving Ones.
- Change all your light bulbs to energy saving ones.
- Use LED bulbs. They last longer and use less energy than old-fashioned bulbs.
- Use mirrors to bounce light around in your apartment—they will help brighten up your home without using extra electricity!
Consider Buying A New Refrigerator
Many refrigerators in Germany are quite inefficient and waste a lot of energy—you could use the money saved on electricity bills to buy a new refrigerator.
Insulate Your Windows
Insulating your windows is an easy and cost-effective way to keep your home more comfortable in the winter. If you are renting, you may not be able to do this without your landlord/lady’s approval.
Here are some ways you can do it:
- Use plastic wrap. If you don’t have any, use any other insulating material you can find (such as blankets).
- Get a window treatment that will help keep the heat inside your house. This could be curtains or blinds made from heavy fabric like velvet, wool, or cotton; heavy drapes with a thermal backing; or even insulated shades that let in light but prevent heat from escaping through your windows. This leads us to the next point.
Get Insulated Curtains
Curtains are a great way to insulate your home. They can be made of cotton, polyester, or silk and should be thick enough to keep out the cold. Curtains are also an easy way to make your house look more stylish without breaking the bank.
Invest in Smart Thermostats
You can make your life easier and save money on heating by switching changing your current thermostat on your radiator to a smarter version. The acquisition cost may seem high but considering the amount of money you will save with the rising costs, it is well worth it.
Set a timer for lights when leaving home for long periods of time during winter months.
You can also set the required temperature for different times of the day.
You can always take them out with you to your next apartment.
Here is a selection of smart thermostats that you can use to control your heating. You can use them with your favorite home automation app to set temperatures for rooms, shut down when you are away, etc.
Heat Only the Rooms You’re Currently Using
When you’re at home, you can use your thermostat to control exactly where the heat goes. For example, if you’re in bed but don’t want to heat up the entire apartment just for yourself and your partner (who’s downstairs watching TV), then turn down the temperature on the thermostat until it reaches a level that is comfortable for sleeping. The same goes if you just want to warm up one room while leaving another cold: just adjust that room’s thermostat accordingly.
It’s also important to remember not to use any other form of heating system besides radiators or baseboard heaters until after you’ve turned off your main heating for the night—and even then, only if absolutely necessary!
Consider Buying an Electric Blanket
An electric blanket is a type of bedding that is used to keep you warm while you sleep. It is different than a traditional blanket because it has wires in the cotton fabric that heat up when plugged into an outlet.
Electric blankets are great for winter time, but they can be dangerous if not used properly. Consider models that have automatic shut off functions. These will go off after an hour or two after you have fallen asleep.
Use a Warmflasche (Hot Water Bottle)
You can also go old school by using an hot water bottle.
You fill these with hot water and tuck it in with you in bed. They should provide some hours of warmth under your sheet.
Here are a few options:
Dress for the Temperature in Your Home
In Germany, you’re going to want to dress for the temperature in your home. This means wearing layers—a sweater or jacket over a t-shirt is better than wearing just one or the other. Additionally, make sure that any socks and slippers you wear are warm. A hat, gloves, scarf and sunglasses can also help keep you comfortable at home during this time of year.
In addition to dressing properly for winter weather outside of your own home (which we’ll discuss later), you should also be mindful of what kind of clothes you wear in order to stay warm while indoors as well.
Do Full Loads of Laundry and Dishes.
While doing your laundry this winter, make sure that every load is full. It saves money in both electricity and water and gas costs.
Don’t overfill them either, which wastes energy and water—and could cause damage to your machine in the long run!
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Wash most of your clothes in cold water (if your washing machine has this function). Unless there someone has been sick in your house.
You can find detergents that are suitable for cold washes.
Don’t Use The Dry Cycle on Your Washing Machine.
Line-drying your clothes is a great way to save money on water bills, and it can help reduce the amount of energy used by your washing machine. When you line dry clothes, you’re not only saving money but also helping the environment as well.
Wash Dishes by Hand
Dishwashers are great for getting dishes clean. But they also use a lot of water and electricity, which can add up over time if you’re not careful. Hand washing your dishes can save both water and electricity, while also being better for the environment—and it’s cheaper.
You’ll be surprised how quickly hand washing becomes second nature when you’re trying to cut costs in Germany!
Take Shorter Showers
Showering is an important part of our lives. It’s important to stay clean and we all like a hot shower after walking in the cold but it can also be a source of unnecessary spending. This winter, think about ways that you can cut down on your shower time.
You’ll be saving money and energy by cutting down on your shower times, which will save money as well! And that’s not all: shorter showers are also better for your skin and hair than long ones.
Change Your Shower Head
You can save up 70% of water you use when you shower by just replacing your shower head. There are new high efficiency, low flow shower heads that will give you a strong stream of water by regulating the flow of water through them. You can save about 2700 gallons of water a year with this simple tweak.
Bonus Tip For Home Owners: Replace Any Single Pane Windows with Double or Triple Pane Windows
This is a common situation in Germany, where you’ll find single pane windows everywhere.
The first thing you should do is measure your old windows and then head to the hardware store or home improvement store to look at options. Buyers have a choice between double pane or triple pane glass (or even quadruple pane glass) depending on their budget and preferences. Generally speaking, we found that double pane was enough to keep our apartment warm this winter. If you’re looking for something stronger, triple paned windows are likely a good option for you as well.
Your New Mindset: Be Energy Conscious
Try to be mindful of the small things you do that use up energy. Cut out bad habits gradually till the become part of you.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hair
- Turn off the water while washing dishes
- turn off the lights when not using them
- close doors between rooms (like the door between the kitchen and living room) to keep hot air in one room from heating up another room unnecessarily
We hope these tips will make your home more comfortable and help you save money on electricity and heating this winter. Join the discussion; share with us what you are doing to save on utilities on our forum.