During the cold months of winter, the phrase, ‘energy saving’ is on everyone’s lips. The colder days and nights, as well as more hours of darkness, translate into a number of (uncomfortable) things, all of which have a direct impact on the levels of electricity consumption of the average South African home. Are you, like so many others facing rising living costs, wondering how you can get through the winter without spending more and more on electricity?
During winter, household heaters work day and night, lights are on for longer, the electric blanket gets pulled out of the cupboard, the tumble-dryer works double time, and televisions and computers get used more because it is too miserable to enjoy outdoor activities. With these cold, hard facts in mind, is it even possible to lower home power use? The short answer is, yes.
Try these 5 energy saving tips for using less electricity:
1.Switch to solar
Did you know that an average South African home uses 24% of its electricity on its geyser usage? You will drastically reduce your energy consumption if you replace your old, traditional geyser with a more modern solar geyser. What is more, you will not be without hot water during power outages, and because solar energy is clean energy, you will be protecting the environment.
2.The right timing
If changing to solar is too big a step for you right now, do the next best thing and install a timer that will ensure your geyser is only on for certain hours of the day. During your household’s peak use times you are guaranteed hot water for your shower, bath or cooking. Then during the rest of the day, when you are at work or school, the geyser is at rest, drawing no power.
3.The importance of insulation
It will come as quite a surprise for most that your home or building itself consumes energy. This is because houses lose energy and heat through the windows, ceilings, walls and of course any cracks or gaps below doors. Heat is transferred from the building in two ways: by conduction as well as by convection. It stands to reason that one of the easiest ways to use less electricity this winter is simply to put a stop to all the energy that is being lost. There are many simple ways to reduce heat loss in your building, including covering tiled or concrete floors with fitting carpets, and putting up curtains.
Another way to reduce thermal energy leakage in your home or commercial building is to insulate your ceiling. ISOTHERM Thermal Insulation is the ideal product to ensure that your home remains warm in winter (and also cool in summer). Made from the thermally bonded polyester of recycled plastic PET bottles, ISOTHERM is environmentally friendly and non-allergic.
4.A lightbulb moment
Every time you switch on a light in your home, which of course becomes more regular in winter, you are drawing upon more energy. We forget what a luxury it is to be able to switch on a light every time we walk into a room, but rising energy costs are making everyone hesitate before flicking the light switch.
There is a way to have more light and at the same time use less electricity. Make the switch to energy saving lightbulbs. The best option here is LEDs, or ‘light emitting diodes’. While still a bit expensive, the prices of these are dropping all the time. What might seem a bit of a financial sacrifice is more than made up by the fact that energy saving lightbulbs consume one-sixth of the energy of incandescent (regular) lightbulbs and can last up to 25 times longer.
5.Snuggle up with a hottie
Electric blankets might make your bed warm and cosy, but they are a heavy drawer of energy. It is far more practical, cost-effective and energy saving to use the old family favourite of a hot-water bottle. Boiling one kettle of water an hour or so before you plan on retiring for the night, filling your bottle and then placing it in your bed ensures that by the time you’re ready to sleep, your bed is warm and cosy, making it easy to fall asleep. We all know that a good, warm night’s rest means that you will be refreshed and more productive in the daytime.
There are many ways to save electricity this winter. The five suggested here are easy-to-implement ways to ensure you stay warm and more energy-efficient over the coming cold months.