Winter is starting to creep up on us with icy fingers that reach into our homes in the early mornings and later in the day when the sun finally hangs up its hat. Summer is heading up North for 6 months and that means its frosty cousin is moving into the recently vacated spot all four seasons share on a rotational basis.
If you are down in Durbs, then you will barely notice the chill in the air, but the Cape tends to turn into Scotland in June and July, and as you move inland and up the escarpment, it can get bitterly cold very soon (shout out to everyone in Bloemfontein).
Keeping warm is the order of the day, but it’s super-expensive to run heaters, geysers and have the kettle going all day to keep the coffee and teacups topped up, right?
Do you have your own house or rent a spot where you pick up the electricity bill?
You will always see a sharp increase in cost during winter months as you crank up the voltage required to keep your abode warm, don’t you? Your electricity spend is going to go up. That is a given. The question is what smart little tricks can we share amongst us to keep the Eskom bill as low as possible?
At Wise About Life, we are all about making smart decisions, so in this blog post, we are going to share a few tips on how to reduce your electricity consumption and we encourage you to share your own tips, please, at the end of this post.
Let’s dive straight into it, shall we? Some of the tips are specific to winter, but others are general consumption tips worth mentioning.
Manage your geyser like a pro
If you don’t have a timer on your geyser, get one installed as soon as you can! By doing this, you can set specific times of the day that the geyser will come on when you need the hot water. So, for example you can set it for early in the morning so that you can have a warm shower & perhaps in the evening if you choose to shower in the evening. You will be amazed at how much electricity this saves you, as the geyser uses up a lot of energy. In fact, in most houses, it’s the main energy consumption culprit.
Along with a timer, it would also be useful to install a geyser blanket & pipe insulation. This will allow you to reduce the temperature of your geyser from the standard 70 degrees down to 60 degrees, which will further save you money on your electricity each month.
Keep your hot water in a flask
Boiling the kettle every hour or two for a nice warm cuppa dials up your electricity consumption. If you like a cuppa joe and a spot of five roses, then consider getting yourself a decent flask (perhaps 1-litre capacity) and boil the kettle to fill your flask once (perhaps twice). Then you’ll have hot water for most of the day.
The lighting in your house makes a difference
This isn’t specific to Winter, but something to note. You can start investing in compact fluorescent lamps, which reduce power consumption by a staggering 75%. You may be put off because they are more expensive, but they can last up to 8 times longer than your regular standard globes, which again will save you in the long run.
LED (Light-emitting diodes) lights are also a good way to reduce your electricity consumption. These are even more efficient than compact fluorescent lamps (lasting up to 100 times longer). The bottom line is, you may be spending more on your globes, but in the long run you will save.
Ceiling Insulation is often overlooked
Most people in South African don’t have double glazing on their windows because we don’t have brutal Winters like in Europe and North America, so it is difficult to insulate heat. A great alternative to this, is to install ceiling insulation materials like earth wool or fibreglass. Again, this is going to cost money, however, it could end up saving you up to 50% on your heating energy, which is significant. If you own your own home, at the very least you want to do a cost-benefit analysis and work out what the saving would be down the line if you invested in the project today.
Chuck a water bottle in bed and don’t dial up the electric blankets
There is nothing worse than getting into a cold bed after a long day. But how often do we rush off to buy energy eating electric blankets that we end up running for hours on end? Get a couple of high-quality water bottles and pop them into your bed a few hours before you want to call it a night. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well they work and it’s far more efficient than having the electric blankets cranked up.
Solar energy is a great long-term investment to consider
Following on from the geyser timer suggestion, to further decrease your consumption you could look at installing a solar water heater. By doing so you could end up saving up to 65% of your total water heating costs each month. Much like the ceiling insulation, it’s an investment to consider for the long-term, but given we live in sunny South Africa with natural sun rays beaming down on us, why wouldn’t we consider using mother nature to generate some warmth.
Do you have any energy saving tips for this Winter (or in general)?
We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team