How To Cut Electricity Costs In Winter
Winter in South Africa is fairly predictable. The scarves come out. The quantity of Facebook status updates about the cold reach an annual peak. And the rising readings on our electricity meters are most often upsettingly inversely proportional to the plummeting temperatures, both outside and inside.
In order to help save you from both icy toes and frozen accounts this winter, we’ve put together a list of both conventional and somewhat unconventional tips and tricks you can use to help restore equilibrium to both the temperature around you and the content of your wallet.
Investments To Help You Save:
Insulate your house
Effective insulation is key to keeping the temperature inside moderate and the temperature outside at bay. This means less electricity required to heat up the home, and more money saved. A well-insulated ceiling can keep the temperature indoors 5 degrees warmer in winter and up to 10 degrees cooler in summer. Not only this but according to Eskom, between 25% – 35% of a house’s heat is lost through the roof (no surprises there, considering hot air rises). As a result, insulation is the single most effective way to keep a home warm.
Buy a pool pump timer
The pool filter pump is another mass consumer of electricity. Use it as little as possible. Consider investing in a timer so that it isn’t left on longer than it needs to be. Also, consider re-adjusting your pump schedule as algae won´t grow as fast in the colder months – which means cleaning less is advisable.
Replace your light bulbs with LED lights
Lighting is generally responsible for about 20% of a home’s electricity bill. A large portion of electricity can be saved by switching out conventional tungsten bulbs with LED light bulbs. They may be pricier, but they will save you money in the long run, as their lifespan is much higher than that of the older tungsten bulbs.
Buy thicker curtains
Thicker curtains help to retain heat better. Also, consider drawing the curtains earlier in the evening as the temperature drops to help keep the warmth in.
Change from a regular geyser to a solar geyser
The geyser is the biggest electricity guzzler in most homes – and is responsible for roughly 40% of a home’s electricity spend. As a result, investing in a solar-powered geyser can help cut a chunk off your monthly, electricity bill. If you think smart, your solar geyser will end up saving you a great deal of money monthly.
Use a geyser blanket
This will insulate your geyser and help retain the heat for longer. Also, consider insulating the pipes.
Seal up your fireplace when it’s not in use
Heat can easily escape through the chimney if it’s not closed up. Place a chimney plate or protector, a blanket, a piece of board or large painting in front of the fireplace to help keep the warmth inside where it belongs.
Install low-flow shower heads
This will result in less hot water being used. Which means both less water and less electricity spent heating it. Bonus!
Habits To Help You Save:
Warm the bed with an electric blanket
Avoid leaving the electric blanket on all night. Rather use it to heat up your bed for 30 minutes before you turn in for the night, and rely on your body and blankets to do the rest. Here are some doś and don´ts on using an electric blanket.
Place tin foil behind any wall-mounted heaters
This stops heat from being absorbed by the cold wall and redirects it back into the room. Remember, the shiny side needs to face the room, not the wall.
Use a kettle to boil water for cooking
It’s faster and uses less electricity than bringing water to a boil via a stovetop. Always match the size of the pan with the size of the stove plate.
Use a microwave to cook
It’s both quicker and cheaper than using a stove or an oven. In fact, one oven uses the same power as eighteen microwaves.
Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need
Boiling a kettle uses a fair amount of electricity, and the more water that is in the kettle, the more power is required to bring it to a boil.
Cut food into smaller sections before cooking
This will help it cook quicker and use up less electricity.
Do not place hot food in the refrigerator or the deep freeze
This will raise the temperature overall inside the fridge or freezer and require it to work overtime to compensate and bring the temperature back down to what it was originally. Rather allow the hot food to cool outside first. This is also a good food safety protocol.
Wait until the dishwasher is full before you switch it on
The dishwasher uses a large amount of electricity, so try to run it as little as possible. Also, use the economy program wherever possible.
Turn off the lights that you don’t need
For obvious reasons.
Use lighter lampshades
They will trap less light and make most of the electricity used.
Turn the TV off. Properly
Allowing a TV to remain on standby mode uses up to 50% of the power the TV would use if it was actually switched on. This same concept is applicable to sound systems as well as computers and other electrical devices. Make sure you switch appliances off at the wall plug as opposed to leaving them on standby. Appliances left on standby may be responsible for about 20% or more of a regular electricity bill.
Avoid electric heaters
Rather use a gas heater or a temperature-controlled oil heater. See this comparison of different heaters for the most energy efficient options. If, however, you are using an electric heater always make wise choices. For more information, click here.
Shower instead of running a bath. Because a shower uses far less water than bathing, it also requires a lot less electricity when it comes to heating the water.
Turn the geyser temperature down to 60 Degrees Celsius
Dropping the set temperature of your geyser results in less electricity used to heat the water. Avoid dropping the temperature to anything less than 60 Degrees however, for health reasons.
-Turn the geyser off when you go on holiday
-Use cold water when possible for washing clothes
Hang your washing up inside
This may sound like an odd one, but, the result will be an increased humidity level in the house. And an increase in humidity will raise the temperature noticeably.
Turn your ceiling fan on low
This may also sound a little strange, but if you’re using a heater, consider turning on your ceiling fan to a low setting. This will help the hot air that has risen to circulate. Which in turn means less electricity used on additional heating. Everything you need to know about ceiling fans.
Long term saving is the product of making long term changes in the form of habits. While putting all of these tips and tricks into practice may seem rather overwhelming, why not pick a few that you feel are the most manageable for your family this winter and work on solidifying those. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Here is more information about energy saving tips over on our blog – Biggest Energy Consumption Culprits and Biggest Energy Hogs in the office. For more advice on how to save electricity and adopt more eco-friendly practices, visit Sunburst Electric ! Or Contact us !