Top ways to save power

2015-04-30 13:51

WITH the escalating cost of electricity compounded by load shedding, these suggestions from the City of Cape Town Municipality might lighten the strain.

• Turn geyser temperature down to 60°C - maintaining the temperature at 60°C uses less electricity than maintaining a temperature of 70°C. Works best when geyser and pipes are insulated. Don’t drop it below 60°C for health reasons.

• Use less hot water - shower instead of bath and take shorter showers. Use cold water where possible for laundry washing.

• Switch off equipment when not in use - turn appliances off at the wall plug, rather than leaving them on standby as this can still draw about 20% or more of normal electricity use.

• Reduce pool pump operating hours - if you have a pool with a cleaning system pump, reduce its operating hours to the minimum e.g. six hours a day. Consider a pool cover and turn off the pump at times in winter.

• Reduce excessive heating or cooling - space heating in winter is a big power guzzler, and the same for summer cooling for those homes with cooling systems. Fan or oil heaters with thermostats are best.

• Install an efficient shower head. To test this at home, hold a bucket under the shower head for 12 seconds. Measure the amount of water in the bucket with a measuring jug. If there is more than two litres then your shower head is inefficient.

• Install efficient lighting

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) use 75% less power than old incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. Note that CFLs contain small amounts of harmful chemicals, so dispose of them safely. Of course, switching off lights in unoccupied rooms is also an obvious way to save.

• Install a solar-water heater This can save the most electricity of all. It typically saves about two thirds of water-heating cost, but this varies and it should be installed with a timer for the best possible saving. With rising electricity tariffs and the new subsidies from Eskom (see www.eskomidm., the payback period is now no more than five years.

Other important advice:

Measure and monitor your home electricity consumption and costs.

Educate everyone in the home, including children and domestic helpers.

Remember that saving requires both behaviour and equipment. e.g. it’s no use installing an efficient shower head if you shower for twice as long.

This information is provided by the City of Cape Town, based on research about the most impactful and cost-effective ways to save electricity in mid-to-high income households

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