Costa Rica’s beautiful climate and natural surroundings leave little to complain about, but no place is perfect. And if there is one common complaint you’ll hear in Costa Rica, it is the increasing rates for electricity.
Electricity rates in Costa Rica are calculated on a sliding scale based on consumption, meaning the more you use the higher the rate you pay. Recent increases have made it so that many electrical devices and air conditioning are practically now considered luxury items. So it is important that if you are a property owner in Costa Rica you consider some ways to cut down on your electricity and save money. Remember for North Americans, most of us are fairly spoiled with electricity consumption, so a big step is simply being cautious and making sure to turn off devices and lights while not in use.
Nonetheless, here are four tips to help keep your electricity costs down:
1. Turn off your breakers
Many property owners in Costa Rica are away for extended periods. Although your lights and electrical devices might be off, they can still consume electricity. So if you are away from your property, go ahead and turn the breaker off. Also be sure to turn off the breaker for your hot water tank. You might also consider switching to an on-demand tank. These smaller tanks are much more efficient and usually provide plenty of hot water for most people. Ultimately just be sure to leave the fridge on or at least cleaned out.
2. Switch out your light bulbs
Changing your light bulbs can make a big difference. Both LED and CFL bulbs tend to be the most efficient. The bulbs can be more expensive, but usually save you in the long run.
3. Turn off your ceiling fans
It is good to air out your place while you are away, but don’t leave ceiling fans on forever. I think a lot of people are misinformed on how much electricity ceiling fans can consume, especially when they are left on all day long. Obviously if they are on because you are using them, that’s one thing. But if you leave your home for the day or are not in a bedroom, turn them off.
4. Make sure your air conditioner is getting cleaned and receives maintenance regularly
I know some people who foolishly go years without cleaning their air conditioning unit. This just makes the unit work harder, costing you more, not to mention making it more likely that your unit will break down. Be sure to have it cleaned and checked every six to eight months.
David Karr has been living in Costa Rica since 2005. As a realtor, he handles sales and rentals in the Jacó area on the central Pacific coast. Visit his website here.