Wondering how to save energy this winter and keep your electricity costs low? Here are ten tips you can try today.
South Africa generally enjoys nice weather, so air conditioners are not as common here as in some countries. But you’ll still find them in numerous homes and most office blocks. In such temperature-controlled areas it’s easy to forget that the world is colder outside. But dressing slightly warmer indoors and lowering thermostats by a few degrees brings a lot of energy saving to your electricity bill.
Think About Heating Options
One of the earliest reasons humans liked fire was undoubtedly its heat. Since then we’ve had a thing for heaters to warm our spaces. Electric heaters are not the best at this and are heavy on consumption as well. Oil heaters are effective, but gas is one of the most efficient ways to heat a room. If you prefer electric, consider fan heaters that will move the heat more evenly around the room.
Insulate The Ceiling
Heated air rises and a lot of warmth will escape a room by going straight up. A common culprit in older houses is a fireplace chimney, which when not in use is as good as an open window. Hot air just goes right up it. Ceilings are not much better, allowing a lot of heat to escape. Putting insulation into the ceiling keeps a lot of the ambient warmth inside the room.
Get A Few Carpets
Surfaces such as tile and concrete are great heat conductors, so they suck the warmth up quite efficiently. Cloth materials such as rugs and carpets are in contrast decent heat insulators. Even partially covering the ground can make a big difference in your energy conservation efforts.
Close The Doors
Warm air will spread upwards and dissipate, encouraging cold air to move in. Doors and windows are like highways for this traffic, so keep them closed to preserve more heat. Just be sure to have air circulation if using gas or oil heaters.
Mind The Dishes
We eat more during winter, but we don’t have more meals. Instead we snack often – the result being bits and bops of dishes every day. The temptation may be there to put it in a dishwasher and do a small load. But dishwashers consume a lot of power and should only be used when fully loaded. Two ways to save energy is to rather handwash small amounts or wait for enough dishes to pile up before starting the machine.
Insulate The Geyser
Geysers or hot water tanks are among the miracles of the 20th century that we all love, especially in winter months. Yet even though geysers are engineered to be well insulated, they can do with a little help keeping the water hot. A geyser blanket is one of the ways to save energy. It can help cut a geyser’s power usage by double digits. Also look at insulating pipes carrying hot water across the building.
Don’t Shower Too Long
The South African lazy winter seeps right into your bones. At those moments few things work as well as a hot shower, so we are tempted to take long ones. But even though a shower is far more efficient than a bath, a long shower becomes really wasteful. It consumes a lot of hot water, which takes electricity to generate.
Use Dryers In Bulk
Clothing dryers make for some of the best winter memories, when that warm jersey or scarf comes straight out of the machine and onto you. Unfortunately heat and power consumption have a close relationship: heaters are big electricity users. Though the odd scarf warming is forgivable, when warming several loads of clothes you should time it well. If a dryer is warmed up and allowed to stay that way, it uses less power. Time your dryer use so you can do loads back to back.
Change Those Lights
Are you still hooked on old incandescent lights, the classic bulb with the glowing wire? It was great invention, but a century later we have access to vastly superior ways to save energy. Compact Fluorescent lights are well priced, more reliable and use a lot less power. LED lights are more expensive, but last ridiculously long. Why is this important? In winter we have more darkness and use our lights more often. Don’t let an old bulb burn a hole in your bill.