By Grace Kadzere
Save energy and put money in your pocket for the little pleasures that make the colder months so special By using only what you need when you need it – and switching off lights and appliances you don’t need –you will contribute to ensuring there’s always enough energy for you and me and everyone else, enough to power your home and the lives of your family and friends.
Together we can make South Africa electricity smart; read on for top tips on how to switch and save and put a freeze on your electricity bill this winter. You can save 10% without spending a cent …
• Never leave lights on in unoccupied rooms.
• Drink hot chocolate and dress for the weather – an extra layer of clothing and a cozy blanket over your knees will help you 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 heater is on.
• Also, remember to seal gaps around windows and draught-proof wall cavities throughout your home in preparation for winter.
• Warm your bed with an electric blanket – switch it on an hour before bed time and switch it off when you get in.
• Use a hot water bottle to keep your feet happy.
• Don’t use under-floor heating – hot air rises and dissipates quickly when doors and windows are open, and it’s a waste of energy leaving under-floor heating on when you’re tucked up in bed.
• Switch off appliances at the power point when you are not using them – appliances can use up to 50%of the electricity they use when operating while onstandby mode.
• Use energy efficient appliances for cooking – slow cookers are best for preparing winter warming meals such as stews and oxtail, whilst microwaves are best for preparing your favourite small-volume winter meals.
• Boil only enough water in the kettle for the number of cups of hot drinks you are preparing.
• Don’t use hot water for tasks you can accomplish with cold water – such as rinsing dishes and vegetables.
• Swap your bath for a shower – keep it hot and short; showers use less electricity and water.
• Make regular pool maintenance a priority and – by limiting filtering to once every 24 hours during winter – it could contribute to notable savings on the energy required to run your pool pump. Winter is an energy intensive time – please assist South Africa during the current period of energy constraints by switching off your electrical element geyser, pool pump and other energy intensive appliances such as your dishwasher, tumble dryer and stove between 5pm and 9pm, the period of peak demand for electricity in South Africa.
Switch to energy efficient technologies and appliances and save; the list below is financially savvy investments for an energy smart home this winter – and all other seasons:
• Install window blinds or hang curtains – it improves thermal insulation by preventing heat from escaping your home.
• Install ceiling insulation – it is the most important step for improving the energy efficiency of your home and makes it up to 5% warmer in winter; approximately 40% of heat is lost through the roof if your home is not insulated.
• Install energy and water saving shower heads–it reducesthe amount of hot water and electricity used shower for shower.
• Install water flow restrictors on your taps – it reduces the amount of water your geyser needs to reheat and, therefore, lower your geyser’s energy consumption.
• Energy saving lights – replace all your old incandescent lights with energy efficient CFLs and LEDs; CFLs use up to 80% less electricity than incandescent lights bulbsand LEDs are even more energy efficient.
• Install a geyser blanket and pipe insulation on the first 1.5 metres of pipes to reduce heat loss.
• Invest in a fan heater controlled via a thermostat – this is the most energy efficient space heating option if you need quick heat for just one hour in an average room of 3 x 4 x 2.5 meter; it spreads heat quickly and evenly and the thermostat switches it off when the room temperature reaches the desired level.
• In addition to the above option, invest in an oil heater with a thermostat and an output no bigger than 2000 watt if you need heat for up to 3 hours in the same room; it heats the room slowly and steadily over the three hour period and does not cause a spike in your electricity bill.
• Alternatively, you could consider gas heaters or a closed-combustion wood-burning fireplace.
• 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 on an induction stove, making it 25% more energy efficient than conventional stove tops.
• Replace your electrical element geyser with a solar water heating system or heat pump – water heating can account for up to 50% of your monthly energy costs; solar can assist you to reduce your energy costs with up to 24% whilst heat pumps are three times more energy efficient than conventional geysers.
• Buy a pool cover and use it during winter and periods when your pool is not frequently used – it will limit water loss and reduce the amount of time your pool pump needs to run to keep the water clean.
• Install motion sensors on outside lights. Switch and save this winter … power your world by being electricity smart and financially savvy.
Call 08600 37566 or go to www.eskom.co.za/idm for detailed information on Eskom’s rebate programmes for the homeowner, and regular updates on the list of Eskom accredited suppliers of solar water heating systems and heat pumps.