11 life hacks to save a lot of money and electricity.

It’s strange: bulbs are being replaced by low-energy bulbs, tube screens are giving way to efficient flat screens, dishwashers are not allowed to be sold under energy efficiency class A + – and yet the annual energy consumption of an average household is minimal.

Is energy saving so sensible at all?

The paradox has long been known. As early as 1866, the economist William S. Jevons summed it up: technology that uses little energy leads to higher energy consumption. At that time it was the steam engines that were used the more frequently the less coal they consumed. Today, some people travel with their electric car for which he would have taken the bike earlier, and are on the highway with “green conscience” full throttle.

towel in the dryer

A tumble dryer is a fine thing: you throw in the wet clothes, press a button and you can put them in the closet the same day. Unfortunately, the device consumes quite a bit of electricity. However, you can reduce the drying time – and thus the consumption – if you give the laundry a dry towel. This absorbs moisture and distributes it over a larger area, allowing it to evaporate faster. Even tennis balls that support the spin process, shorten the drying process.

Most of the energy, of course, saves drying in the air. You will find helpful tips on how to do this even on wet days here .

eggs in the kettle

A kettle consumes 50% less electricity than a pot on the stove. So, whether you cook potatoes or eggs, you should first heat the water in the kettle and then pour it into the pot. Quick-boiling noodles such as spaghetti are often only needed with boiling water and then allowed to draw with low heat – so nothing boils over. Some cook their eggs right in the kettle. So that it does not automatically switch off, you usually just need to open the lid as soon as it bubbles.

Fridge from the sun

Refrigerators and freezers are among the largest household power guzzlers. That’s because they run uninterruptedly day and night. Nevertheless, you can save a lot here too. Just the location choice should be well thought out. If the devices are close to the sunny window or next to the stove, they will have to work harder to reach low temperatures. A cool location is better. There should be enough room to the wall so that the warm exhaust air can escape optimally.

Styrofoam in the compartment

Even in daily use of the refrigerator you can avoid mistakes. So it makes sense to always leave food in the same place. Then you will immediately find what you are looking for, and the refrigerator door does not need to be open unnecessarily long. With a few tricks you can easily order your food. If your refrigerator is usually sparsely filled, you can fill in the free space with Styrofoam so that less cold air escapes when you open it. What else you should pay attention to when you learn here .

Too large stove top

Not always fits the cookware exactly on the stove. Very often one reads there the advice, rather to place a large pot on a small plate, so that no energy is wasted. But that is a fallacy. In fact, the energy needed for a heating coil that is too large is much less than the extra energy that would be needed to heat a too large soup pot. For induction cookers, the problem is of course not, because the heat in the pot arises here.

Cover on it

With an open pot 30% of the heat escapes unused upwards. With a lid, you therefore save a lot of energy. Even more efficient is a pressure cooker: in comparison to a pot with a lid, it consumes only half the energy. Otherwise, it is worthwhile to switch off the stove at an early stage with time-consuming dishes and to use the residual heat. Also, the pots – if possible – should be rather wide than high and just rest on the stove top. It is often the most banal things that decide.

Cook in the tower

Energy saving was the order of the day. In many kitchens was therefore cooked “in the tower”. The pots are stacked on top of each other, which effectively uses the waste heat: the boiling potatoes, for example, warm the spinach. This technique takes some practice, as you have to calculate the different cooking times. But worth considering is this trick.

Do not preheat

In almost every recipe, you should preheat the oven. This is superfluous in most cases. The cake must last a little longer, if you push it into the still cold tube, but you are already using the warming heat. Conversely, you should also let the residual heat work for you: With 40 minutes baking time, you can usually turn off the oven after 30 minutes. Only in Kurzgebackenem, such as thin pizzas or short pastry, preheating is important. Incidentally, circulating air saves 40% energy compared to top and bottom heat, as lower temperatures are required.

Roll on the toaster

If you only want to bake a few rolls, put them on the toaster rather than in the oven. This saves up to 70% energy! The same is true of the microwave oven: it also works more efficiently with small quantities than the roasting tin. On the other hand, if you want to warm up many bread rolls or several plates, you are better advised to use the oven.

Draft coil

By far the largest item of annual energy demand is generated within a few months: we need two-thirds of the total energy for heating. Proper heating makes itself felt positively in every purse. A draft snake is just as well-known as a well-tried trick. If the heating costs are not directly noticeable on the electricity bill, the circulating pump will do that already. An obsolete pump quickly becomes the biggest power hog in the home, so homeowners can benefit from an exchange.

On / off

Induction cookers, Wi-Fi routers, televisions – technical devices are available 24 hours a day. Some of them do not even have a standby switch: power supplies from laptops, dimmers with remote controls and satellite dishes constantly draw power unnoticed. This results in costs of 4 billion euros each year in Germany alone – this corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of Berlin and Hamburg together. The cost of electricity alone for a “switched off” stereo system is 53 euros a year.

Socket strips with switches are therefore a great thing to actually take devices off the grid when not in use. This includes the empty fridge when you go on vacation. Incidentally, 14% of so-called no-load losses are accounted for by under-counter instantaneous water heaters, which in many apartments provide hot water at the sink. Here you can install an intermediate switch.

Electric toothbrushes, card games on the smartphone, pedometer while jogging – the attempt to curb the rising energy demand seems like a fight against windmills. With the many small devices, the power consumption is hardly noticeable. The makes itself noticeable only afterwards, if one flies over the electric bill with big eyes.

You can find even more ingenious tricks, projects, household tips and ideas in our new book, which you can order here .