Cost saving tips

We’ve provided a guideline to help you maximise your water & electricity use to help you reduce your monthly bill, and positively impact the environment too.

Information source: savingelectricity.org.za  

 
 
 

Hot Water:

  • Turn your geyser down to 60°C. Turning your geyser down from 70˚C to 60˚C will see a 5% reduction in your hot water electricity bill.
  • Do not let the hot water run unnecessarily. Use cold water to wash your hands instead of hot water. Use a basin plug when washing.
  • Shower instead of bathing if possible. You will save up to 80% in water and use 5 times less electricity than heating bath water if you take a short shower.
  • Switch off your geyser when you go away for a few days or more. The element heats up a few times daily if you leave it on.
  • Switch your geyser off during peak hours. Less demand on the national electrical grid helps reduce the risk of load-shedding. In winter months peak demand comes in the morning from 6-8am and evening from 5-9pm. In the summer months, demand stays high all day long between those peaks (mostly from air conditioning).
  • Insulate your water pipes and wrap your geyser in a geyser blanket. This prevents heat loss, reducing the cost of electricity needed to keep water hot by R500 or more a year. Blankets cost about R200 – R400; and pipe insulation usually less than R100 per month.
  • Fix leaking hot water taps. A dripping tap can waste up to 18 litres of water a day. This could cost you hundreds of Rands worth of electricity annually if it’s the hot water tap that’s leaking.
  • Install a geyser timer. Set the timing to avoid peak hours on the national grid to help reduce the risk of load-shedding. Timer prices start at around R350 plus electrician costs.
  • Switch to a low-flow, energy and water efficient aerated showerhead. They’re designed to use up to 40% less hot water. To test your showerhead, hold a bucket under the shower spray for 12 seconds. If you collect more than 2 litres, it should be replaced.
 
 
 
 

Lighting:

  • Turn off the lights if you leave a room for more than five minutes.
  • Maximise sunlight. Open the curtains in the morning rather than turning on lights. This will save energy, plus numerous studies have shown that natural light can reduce stress and improve health and productivity as well.
  • Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Now costing as little as R50, they save 80% to 90% on your electricity used for lighting – the most efficient kind of lighting available. Even burning just 2 hours a day, the best-priced LEDs will pay for themselves in less than a year.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) remain a somewhat more affordable way to save, if LEDs are too pricey for your whole house. Make a list of your globes and the hours per day they are used. Replace the most heavily used ones, especially downlights, with LEDs, and the rest with CFLs. With the savings on your electricity bills you can buy more LEDs next year.
  • Choose light colours for interior paints. Covering walls with dark colours could double the wattage and therefore energy you need to light a room and dim the effect of natural light coming in through windows. There are also paints which boost reflectivity significantly.
  • Use solar powered lights in your garden. They rely entirely on energy from the sun and contain a small chargeable battery so they can be used at night – they are easy to install.
  • Put light only where you need it. Desk lamps, reading lamps and eye-level, under-cabinet fixtures for the kitchen will help you to see what you are doing better, allowing you to turn off unnecessary room lights. Ceiling fixtures often over-light rooms, often because too many downlighters are placed in areas where they’re not really needed. Dimmers can help, but they save less energy than you might expect. Try ‘de-lamping,’ removing a bulb or two.
  • Use motion-sensor lights outside. Outdoor lights burning overnight will certainly lead to higher utility bills, but numerous studies suggest they may also light the way for criminals to do their deeds, particularly if high walls shield the property. Infrared motion detector light fittings (that switch on when something moves and stay on for a preset time) are more likely to surprise unwanted visitors, while using less electricity.
  • Renovate to be LED-friendly.

 

 
 
 
 
 

More about fitting Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs):

  • Light fittings: CFL bulbs are available for most light fittings e.g. lamps, spot lights, down lights etc. If you require a specialist fitting, visit your nearest hardware store or specialist lighting store.
  • Dimmers: Look out for Dimmable Energy Saver CFLs at all retailers, trade and depot stores, as well as at leading lighting and electrical outlets. Regular CFLs will not work and using them will shorten the bulb life and void the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Light glow: CFLs come in a variety of light/glow options. The ‘cool’ white/’bright’ white CFLs are more suitable for kitchens while the ‘warm’ white/’soft’ white CFLs create a more relaxed atmosphere for lounges or dining rooms. Check the labelling and ask the sales assistant.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

More about Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs):

  • Energy-efficiency levels: LEDs are small, solid and extremely energy-efficient light bulbs, far exceeding the efficiency of both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. A wide range of white-light LED products is readily available on the market.
  • Installation: LEDs can be used for general lighting but are fairly sensitive to thermal and electrical conditions. Installation should be done by a qualified person.
  • Lifespan: A good LED product should last up to 50 000 hours. An incandescent bulb only lasts for up to 1 000 hours and a CFL for 10 000 hours. The lifespan of an LED can be increased by placing it in contact with a material that conducts heat away from it.
  • Costs: Currently LEDs are still more expensive although prices are declining rapidly. LEDs are already competitive with CFLs once you consider replacement, electricity and maintenance costs.