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9 Hacks That Helped These Homeowners Pay Under $60 For Utilities For Over Half A Year

20 July 2023 | BY

From submitting metre readings to installing a Smart Home system, the Tans let us in on some of their electricity and water-saving hacks.

9 Hacks That Helped These Homeowners Pay Under $60 For Utilities For Over Half A Year

While many HDB homeowners find their monthly electricity bills in the range of $70-$150, the Tans – who live in a 4-room HDB flat in Lorong Ah Soo – managed to keep their total utility bills under $60 over the course of 8 months.

Saving on utility bills - Payment historyImage credit: Mr. and Mrs. Tan

By making smart reno choices, embracing energy-saving practices, and taking advantage of GST Voucher (GSTV) U-Save rebates, the couple proves that minimising utility bills doesn’t have to be a pain. Here are 9 hacks that helped them save on utility bills for over half a year.

1. Regularly submitted metre readings

SP Utilities AppMetre readings can be submitted via the SP Utilities App.
Image credit: SP Group

To ensure accurate billing and prevent potential overcharging, the Tans put in the effort to check their metre readings and submit the correct values to SP Group, the company in charge of taking metre readings for all residential properties in Singapore.

With scheduled metre readings conducted every 2 months, the average electricity usage is calculated when exact readings are not taken by homeowners. By submitting their actual electricity usage to SP Services, the Tans managed to avoid inflated electricity charges – especially during periods when they were away on holiday.

2. Installed a Smart Home system

Installed a Smart Home systemImage is for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: Walmart

In addition to giving them effortless control over the appliances in their home, the Tans discovered that their Koble Smart Home system was a large factor in reducing unnecessary electricity consumption.

Smart Home system appImage is for illustration purposes only.
Image credit:

“If we didn’t set our aircons to turn off at 6am on weekdays and 8am on weekends, they will certainly be turned on for much longer,” the couple admits, attributing the reduced usage of air conditioning to the convenience of their Smart Home system.

Furthermore, the Tans explained that the “Leave house” configuration on their Smart Home app allows them to easily turn off all the lights and fans in their home on the go, ensuring that nothing is inadvertently left switched on while they’re out of the house.

3. Invested in water-conserving toilet bowls

Opting for a Tornado Flush toilet bowl instead of a normal HDB toilet bowl was another clever reno decision made by the Tans – and not just because Tornado toilet bowls are quieter than their conventional counterparts.

While a standard toilet bowl uses a whopping 10L of water per flush, the Tornado Flush system uses just 3.8L, saving 62% of water each time you use the loo. Rest assured that Tornado Flush toilet bowls are just as effective – if not more so – than normal ones, as they are designed with a whirlpool flush that ensures the entire bowl is cleaned each time the flush is activated. 

The Tans acknowledged that Tornado Flush toilet bowls do tend to be pricier than standard ones, but they were also aware that the accumulated savings in water bills far outweighed their initial investment.

4. Reduced the usage of downlights

Centre lighting fixture, reduced usage of downlightsCentral lighting fixture in the Tan’s living room – illuminates the entire living area during both nighttime and daytime.
Image credit: @flat_007

After installing numerous downlights in their living area, the Tans discovered that the space was sufficiently illuminated by their central lighting fixture – a 2-in-1 light and overhead fan. Resultantly, they got into the habit of keeping the downlights turned off, and using the 2-in-1 fixture as their sole light source.

In a similar vein, the couple decided to place the desks in their study room directly below an overhead LED light. The strategic positioning allowed them to effectively illuminate their workspace with a single light instead of using 2 – optimising their overall energy savings and reducing their utility bills.

5. Skipped the heater and took cold showers

Skipped the water heater and took cold showersImage is for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: The Smart Local

Another energy-saving factor is Mr. Tan’s practice of indulging in cold showers, a habit that Mrs. Tan occasionally adopts in an attempt to escape Singapore’s sweltering heat.

“Our main intention was to enjoy the benefits of cold showers, such as improved circulation, higher energy levels, and better skin immunity. The reduced bills were a side benefit,” the Tans explain.

Nevertheless, skipping the heater and taking cold showers was an effective way to cut both electricity and water consumption, since “cold showers equals short showers”, as Mrs Tan puts it.

6. Kept their air conditioner temperature at 23°C

Saving on utility bills - Air conditioner temperature at 23°CImage is for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: The Smart Local

Setting your air conditioner to lower temperature means that the compressor uses more energy to cool down the house, which inevitably translates into higher electricity bills.

“We never lower our air conditioner temperature below 23°C,” the Tans tell us. By avoiding lower temperatures, the couple also reduces the risk of acquiring a dry cough and lowers the likelihood of triggering their sinus reactions.

7. Used energy-saving settings for heavy usage appliances

Saving on utility bills - Washing machine on Super Eco Washing modeImage credit: @houseofgoodcheer

In addition to using Super Eco Washing mode as the default setting on their washing machine, the Tans also limit the use of steam wash to bedding items, and opt for a weekly laundry schedule instead of doing frequent loads.

Saving on electricity bills - Did not get a dishwasher

“Also, we don’t have a dishwasher and don’t intend to get one in the future.” Although dishwashers may lower water usage as compared to doing dishes by hand, the Tans evaluated that overall, money is actually lost rather than saved, since dishwashers consume high amounts of electricity when in operation.

8. Unplugged appliances that were not in use 

Unplugged appliances that were not in use Image credit: The Smart Local

“We didn’t install too many sockets because we didn’t know how much is enough. So there are instances where we will need to unplug, and we naturally got into the habit of unplugging.”

Though it may seem like a small action, the Tans understand the importance of unplugging appliances that are not in use. Since the electrical current flows even while devices are idle, the couple’s simple yet effective practice of unplugging appliances prevents excessive electricity wastage and contributes to their reduced utility bills.

9. Used their GSTV U-Save rebate

GST Voucher U-Save rebatesEligible HDB households are set to receive double their regular GSTV U-Save rebates in 2023 – great news for budget-kia Singaporeans.
Image credit:

Lastly, homeowners looking to minimise their utility bills can check out the GSTV U-Save rebates. Understanding the rebate scheme offers homeowners a clearer picture of their household’s ideal electricity and water-usage, so as to ensure that their monthly bills remain below the rebate thresholds.

Saving on utility bills - $0 due via Geneco appImage credit: Mr. and Mrs. Tan

That being said, the Tans did not intentionally inconvenience themselves in an attempt to minimise their utility bills. Instead, they explained, “we were pleasantly surprised each month when our bill amounts came in the negative range – meaning that our usage has consistently fallen below the GSTV U-Save rebates.”

Paying under $60 for utility bills over the course of 8 months

From submitting metre readings to getting a Tornado Flush toilet bowl and taking cold showers every day, the Tans demonstrate a remarkable balance between energy conservation and convenience.

With the help of the GSTV U-Save rebates, paying under $60 for utility bills for over half a year certainly has become a tangible reality – showing that sustainable practices can lead to significant savings in the long run.

For more home advice from the Tans, check out @flat_007.

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Cover image adapted from: Walmart, The Smart Local

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