How to save on electricity

Looking for ways to save on electricity? We get warnings all the time. The orange, red and black alerts flashing on our TV screens (thankfully the black alert has not yet been triggered), but we all know that electricity is becoming a scarce resource. One of the biggest premises of the green movement is to conserve resources, but not everyone can afford to go green at home. Here are some tips to save on electricity if you are a regular user.

Eco Solutions

Firstly, let’s take a look at the power alerts and their status. When the orange light flashes on our screens, this means that there is moderate strain on supply, and we are advised to switch off lights in unoccupied rooms, the geyser and pool pump, as well as the dishwasher and tumble dryer.

Upon red indication, there is increasing strain and we must again switch of all lights, geyser, pool pump, dishwasher, tumble dryer, as well as air conditioner and stove. The black light is the worst, and indicates significant strain on supply. In the event of this light, all lights and appliances that are not in use or absolutely necessary should be switched off.

These are the best ways to save on electricity.

Water saving

Solar water heaters

Installing a solar water heater is one of the best ways to save money on electricity, and should be coupled with a timer for the best possible saving. Essentially, solar water heating offers hot water directly from the sun, and can save up to 60% on electricity costs each month.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps can achieve similar savings to a solar water heater, however require slightly more maintenance. They use electricity to heat water but in a more efficient way than a traditional geyser by using the same technology as an air conditioner or fridge. It can also generate more hot water when needed.

Geysers

If you can turn your geyser down to about 60oC, you will save plenty of power, and money. It is also advised that one insulates geysers in the home. Furthermore, you can install intelligent geyser timers, which allows the use of hot water only when needed (such as in the morning and at night).

Pool pumps

By reducing your pool pump operating hours, you can pretty much save between R1 and R2 an hour. It may not sound excessive, but when you add that together over the year, that’s a deposit for a new car. Experts recommend reducing this to about 6 hours a day, or alternatively 8 hours in summer and 4 hours in winter.

Kitchen electricity saving

Stoves

There are certain things you can do to reduce electricity usage on your stove, including making sure pots are the same size as the heating plate being used, as well as not heating more water than is necessary to cook with. You can also use a pressure cooker to conserve energy, and by bringing food to the boil faster, then reducing temperature to a simmer.

Washing machines

You can save on electricity requirements for the washing machine by reducing the time of your spin cycle and also by making use of the cold wash facility. Not everything should run for two hours. When investing in a new machine, rather opt for one that offers a variety of water temperatures.

Fridge

Choose a fridge size that suits the needs of your family. A two-person household doesn’t always need a double-door fridge. Try to also limit the amount of times you open and close the door, and clean out and switch off the fridge when taking an extended holiday.

General Lights

You can replace regular light bulbs with low power options such as fluorescent or LED lighting. You can also install sensors that detect when someone is in the room, and day/night timers for security.

Air conditioning

You can save on air conditioning by implementing alternative lifestyle patterns, such as ensuring your home is well insulated, making use of windows and opening doors (within safe limitations), keeping lights off when no one is in the room, and using light coloured curtains and fabrics in the home.

Sources: Enyuka Green, Eskom, Power Alert, The City of Cape Town   

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