Take back the power

2015-08-05 06:00

AS Eskom struggles to balance constrained supply and rising demand for electricity, it is inevitable that the cost of power is going to increase adding to the financial burden on struggling South African households. Although there’s little that you can do to stop the price increases you can lessen the impact by taking steps to reduce your electricity consumption now.

1. Manage your geyser

Heating water is hugely energy intensive. By limiting the time your geyser works to when you need hot water, rather than all day, you can save a lot of power. The most convenient way to ensure your geyser is off when you are at work is to install a timer. Alternatively you can manually switch it off when you leave and switch it back on when you return home. You can also save by turning down the thermostat and insulating the geyser to reduce heat loss.

2. Wrap it up

During winter about half the heat in your home can escape if it is not properly insulated. Rather than crank up the heaters, make sure that gaps around doors and windows have sealant strips and that the roof is properly insula-ted.

3. Light with LED

Replace your light bulbs with the LED equivalent. LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer, so you will also save money on replacing bulbs.

4. Switch off at the socket

You can save up to 6% by turning off appliances at the wall. Televisions and other items with standby features still draw power even when not in use.

5. Unplug your devices

Unplug cellphone and other chargers when not in use as these still use power even if your phone is not plugged in. It is also not a good idea to allow phones and other devices to overcharge as this can limit the battery lifespan.

6. Be stove smart

Use flat-bottomed pots and pans and make sure you are cooking on an appropriately-sized heating plate. Using a lid when you are boiling water for eggs or vegetables will speed up cooking times and save power. According to industry experts just these tips can save up to 25% of the power used for cooking. Use your oven sparingly and remember that microwaves use a lot less power than a traditional oven.

7. Be cooling clever

Many people have their fridge and freezers set too low. This wastes electricity and also increases the defrosting intervals. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines.

8. Use machines sensibly

Using cold water in your washing machine will reduce electricity costs. There are a number of products which increase the efficiency of cold washes. If clothes are not too dirty you can skip the pre-wash cycle. If you only have one or two plates and cups, wash them by hand rather than in the dishwasher. If you do have a dishwasher make sure it is full before switching it on.

9. Avoid heaters

By ensuring your home is well-insulated and putting on a jersey rather than firing up the heater you will save power

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