We have all lived through the dark periods of load shedding and are aware of the power and electricity crisis that South Africa faces. This often pre-empt the question of: so what can I do about it?
Embracing conservation, thrift and economy in all areas of our lives is an essential practice to assume to ensure the sustainability of our environment. Energy saving plays a large role for anyone who adopts this mindset. Warmth is a basic need and is mostly provided through the supply of power. Energy saving techniques and our ability to implement them will determine that there is sufficient power for everyone country-wide.
Energy Saving and Me
This can be accomplished in many ways such as switching off lights and appliances, using water carefully and sparingly, particularly hot water, fixing dripping taps and opting for going green when ever possible.
The largest users of energy in your household are the heating appliances of which the biggest is the geyser. It is a known fact that this one appliance can account for 35% to 40% of your total power usage. It therefore makes sense to conserve as much energy as possible in this particular area.
Ways to conserve geyser energy usage are to set the thermostat at between 50°C to 55°C, use less hot water (shower rather than bath) and to turn your geyser off when you are away for a period of time. The sacrificial anode on the geyser also needs to be checked regularly and if, necessary replaced.
Where is the Geyser?
Location will affect the loss of thermal energy from your geyser. The colder the position, the more energy required to keep the water hot. This can be realised by comparing a geyser placed outside to one protected by being set in the roof or under the stairs.
A large contributor to energy saving is insulation in the home. If the house is well insulated with protection used in the roof, walls and other areas, it will make for a more temperate environment. This in turn reduces the need for excessive heating or cooling or losing this thermal energy.
There are many products used for insulation and here again one should research the product. Does it provide maximum insulation? Take into account the safety of the materials used, their non-combustible merits and that the quality standards conform to those of the SABS (South African Bureau of Standards.) ISOTHERM is an insulating product produced from recycled plastic bottles (PET bottles) and makes it non-toxic, extremely effective and it is 100% people, animal and environmentally friendly.
Blankets, Duvets and Covers
The amount of energy saved by insulating your geyser and pipes has been calculated to reduce the geysers energy consumption by more than 50%. This means that the geyser blanket pays for itself in less than 6 months.
Geyser blankets, or duvets, are designed to provide an extra layer of thermal insulation and the better the insulation, the more effective the product. Look for the R-value which represents the thermal resistance or ability to resist the transfer of heat. The minimum value is 1.00 and good quality blankets are of 1.25 and above.
Financial and Energy Savings
Financial saving can be anticipated due to a reduction in the power that is consumed in your house hold. A thermostat is triggered to restart the heating process when the temperature of the water drops. A blanket inhibits the frequency of this happening and it is estimated that there is a 20% saving to be gained. Effectiveness is increased by a further 10% if the water pipes are also insulated.
DIY vs. Installer
It is a relatively simple process to fit a geyser blanket so long as the geyser is accessible. Instructions with the purchase are easy to follow and other than duct tape and a pair of scissors, no tools or other materials are required. A section large enough to wrap around the geyser is cut, fitted and secured with duct tape. Two circles are then cut and fitted to the ends. Insulating the pipes can be done by using off-cuts or by using preformed pipe sections which clip on to the pipes and are secured with tape.
ISOTHERM is soft, non-allergic or irritating, hard-wearing and does not sustain fire. An added benefit is that it will not need maintenance and it is bacteria, fungi and pest resistant. It is an eco-friendly product which is very easy to work with which makes a just the job for the weekend. However, it is easy enough to find an installer, which will save you from creeping into little-used spaces, and the installation will be quick and relatively inexpensive.