Prepare for load shedding

2015-05-07 06:00
Being properly prepared for when the power goes off can actually save you a lot of money.

Being properly prepared for when the power goes off can actually save you a lot of money.

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IF youand#039;re not using it, switch it off. That is our mantra across the length and breadth of South Africa. All school car-park and dinner conversations revolve around this topic, and in particular comparing when your residential zone is scheduled for load shedding.

So says Riaan van Deventer, head of real­ estate of Engel andamp; Völkers Southern Africa­.

“Involve the family and make them responsible so that they are prepared for any of their activities which could be affected. Basically we are now required to have two trains of thought - energy saving habits and energy saving costs.”

Energy-saving habits

- Switch off any high-usage appliances in the peak periods between 5pm and 9pm.

- Switch off all non-essential equipment, lights and appliances that you do not need at any particular time, day or night.

- Replace energy-intensive lights and appliances with energy-efficient technology alternatives, like CFL or LED light bulbs.

- Unplug all appliances when not in use.

Energy-saving costs

- Using less energy in your home means a lower electricity bill and more money in your pocket at month-end.

- As your geyser uses about 39% of all household electricity, switch it off to save electricity and money. A timer on your geyser is the answer; set it to switch on from 4am to 5.30am.

- Reduce your geyser thermostat to 55°C.

- Install motion sensor lights in rooms and garden areas where you only need lighting when you move around.

- Take your own electricity and water meter readings and email to your municipality.

- Install solar-powered geysers.

Water-saving habits

- Shower instead of bathing and use energy and water-saving shower heads.

- Install water tanks.

Being prepared

Have a number of battery lamps handy. Some of these lamps will automatically switch on when the power goes off.

Have gas cookers, lamps and heaters filled and ready for use.

Have a backup UPS battery installed in your garage door motor and sliding gate motor so you can open at all times.

Invest in a back-up power supply (UPS or generator).

UPS

- Basically a battery back-up power supply.

- A UPS is cheaper than a generator.

- A strong UPS (2 000 VA or more) can be used to power all your small appliances - computers, ADSL Router, TV, DStv decoder, LED lights. It cannot run kettles, hairdryers, stoves, washing machines and so forth.

- If you buy an inverter and back-up batteries you can add more batteries to the whole system.

- The main benefit is that it will keep these smaller appliances running when the power goes off.

- Portable size and requires no maintenance.

- Makes no noise.

- The only negative drawback is that it only lasts a couple of hours.

Generator

Generators can, depending on certain factors, run a whole household, but create noise and harmful emissions.

- Can be either a diesel or petrol generator, and will allow you to operate most equipment in your office or home.

- The generator provides unlimited hours of back-up power supply.

- Can be turned on/off manually or automatically.

- Is a more expensive backup power supply system, and is expensive to run on a long-term basis.

Power usage

As explained on the Eskom website, electrical appliances needs a certain amount of energy to work. This amount depends on the wattage of the appliance and the number of hours it works, for example:

A 200 watt TV, switched on for 60 hours per month, accounts for 12 000 watt-hours (12kWh) of the total kWh you use per month. This would cost you approximately R14.64 a month (at a tariff of R1.22/kWh).

On the other hand, an electrical element geyser, providing hot water for a family of four, uses a hefty 410 to 450 kWh per month. This would cost you approximately R509.96 to R549.00 a month (at a tariff of R1.22/kWh).

This will assist you in determining which appliances use the most power so that you can make an effort to switch these off in peak times and limit their usage to the minimum.

“Although we cannot influence the exact times of load shedding and the schedules, this is a reality of life and the sooner we accept this and prepare our homes to ease the inconvenience, the better.”

He says to install a UPS or generator sooner rather than later will allow you to be better prepared when load shedding hits your suburb. – Property24.

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