Get more bang for your watts: 11 sneaky ways you can save electricity


Sadly, it's no April Fool’s joke. On 1 April, electricity prices will increase by 9,4%

National energy regulator Nersa announced on Tuesday that it had granted Eskom the tariff increase for the 2016/17 financial year.

Saving electricity is no longer an option, but an absolute necessity.

“With budgets already tight, not many South Africans will be able to absorb the upcoming electricity price increase," Graham Craggs, spokesperson for Budget Insurance said.

"Hopefully consumers will see a price increase as an incentive to take action against rising electricity costs by cutting back on the amount of electricity they use in their homes. Prudent power management is the order of the day."

It’s possible to cut back on electricity consumption and costs by making a conscious effort. Here are some ideas you can start implementing in your own home today.

1. Unplug it!

Switching them off isn’t enough. Unplug your cell phone charger when you're not using it. If the charger feels warm when it's plugged in but not attached to a cellphone, it's still using energy.

2. Cold for laundry

Ninety percent of the energy used by a top-loading washing machine is for heating water. A front-loading washing machine uses less water and costs less to operate than a top-loader. A washing machine uses the same amount of electricity for a full load as it does for a single item, so keep dirty clothes until a full load has accumulated.

3. To wash or not to wash?

Fill your dishwasher completely before operating. Short wash cycles, rinse-only cycles, mid-cycle turn-off and other features are designed for energy conservation as well as convenience.

4. Keep your cool

Don’t overload your fridge as this uses more electricity. Don’t open your fridge needlessly, and switch on the energy-saving switch if one is fitted to the appliance.

5. Fill up the freezer

On the other hand, your freezer should be kept as full as possible to prevent heavy icing. Keep the freezer open for as short a time as possible to prevent the loss of cold air.

6. Making waves

Defrost your food in the fridge instead of the microwave oven as it’s more economical. Use your microwave oven to cook small to medium quantities of food – it’s more economical to cook larger portions of meat in a conventional oven.

7. Use a low-flow showerhead

A low-flow showerhead uses less water a minute, which means less water to heat.

8. Save money with low-energy light bulbs

Changing your traditional light bulbs to energy-saving equivalents can make a big difference. Also remember to turn off lights in rooms you’re not using.

9. Switch off the air-conditioner

You need three times more energy per degree to cool a room than to heat one.

10. Optimise the energy consumption of your PC

Modern PCs can be set up to enter energy-saving modes – check your power settings to find out how.

11. Clean out your tumble dryer

Clean the lint filter in the tumble dryer after each operation to maintain full air flow and to maximise the drying efficiency. First choice would be to dry clothes outside, in direct sunlight, or use the tumble dryer in consecutive loads where possible as your dryer will be warm already and will save on initial energy consumption

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