Electricity prices are always on the rise and utility bills are getting ugly with Eskom not being the most reliable service provider along with more people being added to the grid every year the pressure on the South African infrastructure is high. To keep up with demand costs will be incurred by the consumer so conserving on electricity is not just smart for your pocket but for the country as a whole. So how do you conserve electricity? Use the following tips and reduce your electrical bill by up to 40 percent.

1. Use Hot water sparingly

  • Turn down the thermostat on your electrical element geyser to 60°C
  • Don’t use hot water for tasks you can accomplish with cold water – such as rinsing dishes and vegetables
  • Only use hot water for cleaning tasks that really need it, like washing dirty dishes with fatty stains and resedue
  • Look at installing a better hot water management system

2. Fridge freezer

  • Set your fridge to 3°C – any lower and it will use more electricity than necessary
  • Make sure the seals on your fridge and freezer doors are intact
  • Don’t open the door unnecessarily
  • Place your fridge somewhere cool – away from sun-facing walls and windows, and as far as possible from the stove
  • Defrost your chest freezer twice a year; upright freezers should be defrosted three times a year
  • Don’t overfill your fridge or freezer; only use 90% of its capacity

3. Living rooms and bedrooms

  • Always switch off lights in unoccupied rooms
  • Unplug all appliances you are not using
  • Don’t leave computers, TVs, DVD players, iPads and cell phones on standby – if you do, these appliances use up to 15% of the power they normally use
  • Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to optimise natural light and postpone switching on artificial lighting until it gets dark

4. In the kitchen

  • Replace your iron with an energy efficient, thermostatically-controlled model.
  • Replace the seals of your fridge and freezer doors if they are worn or damaged.
  • Invest in a Wonderbag, a simple heat retention cooker that uses no electricity.
  • Replace Install water flow restrictors on your taps to reduce the amount of hot water you use; they will assist to reduce the amount of cold water your geyser needs to reheat and, therefore, lower your geyser’s energy consumption.

5. In bathrooms

  • Install energy and water saving showerheads; their flow rate is less than 10 litres per minute and will assist to reduce the amount of cold water your geyser needs to reheat.

6. In rooms throughout your home

  • Replace incandescent lamps with energy saving CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes); do the same with your conventional downlights: CFLs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent lamps and last up to eight times longer.
  • Invest LEDs are about 85% more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lamps and about 5% more efficient than CFLs.

7. Improve your electric element geyser performance

Install a geyser blanket and pipe insulation on the first 1.5 metres of water pipes to reduce heat loss; fit your geyser as close as possible to the points where you use hot water.

8. Fans and windows

  • Invest in the ceiling or stand-alone fans to circulate cool air around your home; avoid switching on your air conditioner.
  • Install shade awnings on the outside of windows facing the sun; they reduce radiant heat from entering your home.

9. Outside your home

  • Invest in motion sensor lamps for security lighting rather than leaving conventional lights burning all night.
  • Use solar powered garden lamps.
  • Plant trees and shrubs in your garden to channel fresh air towards open windows – trees are ideal for creating shade and, if positioned appropriately, can assist in managing your home’s internal temperature and reducing cooling costs.
  • Invest in a pool cover when your swim infrequently in summer – it will limit water loss and reduce the time your pool pump needs to run to keep the water clean.

10. Invest in green energy & energy optiistaion

  • Small electricity smart investments will contribute to lowering your electricity bill while reducing demand pressure on the national power grid – importantly, it will help to keep the lights on.
  • Replace your electrical element geyser with a solar water heating system or heat pump.
  • Add solar panels and a battery storage connected to your current home system to augment your national grid support

11. Climate control and home insulation

  • Installing ceiling insulation is the most important step for improving the energy efficiency of your home. During winter – approximately 40% of heat is lost through the roof if your home is not insulated
  • Insulation makes a home up to 5% warmer in winter (and 10% cooler in summer)
  • Insulation reduces – and postpones – the need to switch on space heaters and climate control systems
  • Insulation contributes to lowering your electricity bill – an insulated and draught-proofed room requires 51% less energy to heat up

12. In the laundry and kitchen

  • If your fridge, washing machine or dishwasher is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new one. Appliances become energy intensive over time, and newer models are designed to be energy efficient. Look for the ‘international efficiency label’ on products to ensure optimal energy efficiency
  • Replace your conventional oven with an energy efficient convection oven
  • Or, alternatively, install an induction stove; compatible with stainless steel, cast iron and enamel cookware, approximately 90% of energy generated is used for cooking, making an induction stove 25% more energy efficient than conventional stovetops

13. Changing winter habits

  • Avoid using electricity-heavy ‘bar’ heaters – instead, use energy efficient space heaters or, even cheaper, delay switching them on and, instead, dress warmly, use a hot water bottle and cover your legs with a thick blanket whilst watching TV.
  • Keep your under-floor heating switched off – hot air rises and heat dissipates quickly if a door or window is open. If you do switch it on, make sure it is switched off when you are warmly asleep in bed.
    Use boiling water to ‘reheat’ your hot water bottle when you switch off the TV and head to bed – switch off your electric blanket when you get into bed.
  • Drink hot drinks and dress for the weather – an extra layer of clothing and a cosy blanket over your knees will help stay warm and postpone switching on a space heater.
  • When you do switch on your space heater, heat only the room you are in – remember to close all doors and windows while the electric heater is on.
  • Also, remember to seal gaps around windows and draught-proof wall cavities throughout your home in preparation for winter.

In terms of electricity usage, the term less is more is applicable … using less energy in your home means a lower electricity bill – and more money in your pocket at month end. So now that you know how to reduce your consumption which tips did you find most helpful? Are there any tips we may have missed? Let us know in the comments section below

Don’t let your electricity bill shock you

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