With rising costs of electricity, more and more families are finding it hard to stomach the number on their utilities bill each month.
Now that the days of loadshedding are (mostly) over, it’s up to us to reduce our electricity consumption without it being forced on us for 4 hour periods! By being more aware of our daily habits, it’s possible to reduce your electricity bill significantly, even in the colder winter months. Here are some top tips to help you be more economical with electricity.
Switching off your TV’s, kettles, microwaves and toasters when they’re not in use can save a lot of electricity. The same goes for charging cables for your cellphone. These gadgets can drain electricity even when turned off, so it’s best to switch them off at the plug or unplug them totally once you’re done using them. To make this easier, consider using some multiplug extensions so you don’t need to switch everything off individually. In fact, ‘standby power’ often accounts for around 10% of your electricity bill, so this simple step could save you a small fortune over the course of a year.
Running the dishwasher or washing machine when there’s only half a load is a waste of electricity as well as water, so be careful to only run them once they’re completely full. If you desperately need one dish or item of clothing, you can always handwash it in a small amount of warm, soapy water.
The same goes for your oven! Try not to turn on the oven just to roast some vegetables. Instead, make your meal for that evening in the oven and consider roasting a chicken or cooking a casserole in it at the same time, so that you don’t have to use it the next day. Having the oven on for extended periods of time uses a lot of electricity, so you might as well get more bang for your buck.
Geysers form a huge part of the electricity bill for most South Africans. Consider installing a timer to turn off the geyser during the day and overnight, so that it is only on at the times when you shower. If you are going away for a weekend or know you will be out for the day, you can also turn off your geyser at the switch. Just remember to turn it back on when you get in and wait a bit before you jump into a freezing shower! You can also cover the geyser with an insulation blanket which helps to stop the heat escaping and, in the longer term, look at using a solar geyser.
While it’s tempting to turn to a portable heater or even underfloor heating in winter, these are very costly methods of staying warm. If you were to run a heater for four hours a day over one month, your bill would increase by roughly R450-R500 rand. That’s certainly money which is worth keeping! Instead, encourage your family to use blankets and extra clothes or light a fire on