We are all aware of Eskom’s inability to supply all the power we need all the time. Hence we have load shedding. If that’s not bad enough, the power utility wants us to pay more – 20% more – for the electricity it can supply.
Here’s a list of ideas which could you to reduce your demand and save money. If enough of us follow these simple tips, we would all contribute to helping to avoid load shedding.
Fridge and freezer
- Set your fridge at 3ºC. Make sure the seals of your fridge and freezer doors are intact.
- Don’t open fridge and freezer doors unnecessarily.
- Place your fridge and freezer somewhere cool – away from sun-facing walls and windows, and as far as possible from the stove.
- Defrost your chest freezer twice a year and your upright freezer three times a year.
- Don’t overfill your fridge or freezer – only use 90% of its capacity.
- Install a “Fridge Safe” device between your fridge and freezer and the power socket. The Fridge Safe is an automated voltage protection device that prevents damage to your fridge, freezer or cooler caused by spikes and low voltage levels. An unexpected change in power supply can lead to irreparable damage to your fridge, freezer or cooler’s compressor motor.
Stove and oven
- Keep your oven door closed until food is done cooking.
- Match pots with stove plate sizes.
- Avoid using your stove for small tasks – like boiling water for tea and coffee.
- Place frozen food in the fridge to defrost – avoid defrosting food in the microwave.
- Use your microwave to cook small to medium amounts of food.
- Use a pressure cooker or slow-cooker for food that cooks for a long time – such as stews and casseroles.
- If you’re making yourself a cup of coffee, put cold water in the mug, heat it for one minute in your microwave and then add coffee powder, sugar and milk to state. The average kettle uses 2200 W for five minutes to boil water; the microwave will boil a mug of water in one minute using only 1000 W.
- Wait for a full load of crockery and cutlery before you start the wash cycle.
- Soak or prewash is only recommended in cases of burnt or dried -out-food.
- Remove bones and large pieces of food from crockery, pots and pans by scraping it off – not rise it off.
- Understand how your dishwasher works and make sure it is the eco function.
- Wait for a full load of washing before you wash.
- Ensure that you set your washing machine to match the load of washing – there is no need to set the machine to its highest and longest setting if you are washing a small load.
- Only wash clothes that are dirty. Heavier items such as jeans can be worn a few times before throwing them in the wash.
- Cold settings are fine. Don’t use the hot water setting if clothes are not heavily soiled.
- Understand how your washing machine works and make sure it is set to the eco-function.
- Don’t use your tumble dryer on sunny days – use the washing line instead.
Keeping cool in summer
- Set air conditioners to a comfortable 23ºC in summer – once on, all windows and doors should be kept closed.
- Don't leave the air conditioner on in unoccupied rooms.
Otherwise, if you don’t have an air conditioner:
- Insulate your home: Fire retardant ceiling insulation will make a home up to 10˚C cooler in summer.
- Install shade awnings on the outside of windows facing the sun – it reduces heat from entering your home.
- Open windows and doors to allow cool breezes to circulate freely.
- An electric fan uses far less electricity than an air conditioner.
Keeping warm in winter
- A fan heater with a thermostat is the best choice to quickly heat an average room of 3 x 3 x 2,5 metres. It spreads heat evenly and the thermostat switches it off when the room is cosy.
- Install ceiling insulation.
- Close curtains on cold days to help keep the warmth in.
- Make sure doors and windows seal properly to reduce drafts
- Close the door of the room you are occupying.
- Don’t heat the whole house – heat only the rooms in use.
- Install your geyser closest to the points in your home where you use hot water.
- Insulate a geyser with a geyser blanket.
- Insulate the first 1,5 metres of water pipes leading to and from the geyser.
- Do not let hot water run unnecessarily. Always use basin plug in your bathrooms and kitchen.
- Use cold water in your bathrooms for quick tasks like washing your hands or brushing your teeth.
- Use cold water in the kitchen to rinse fruit and vegetables.
- Install a solar water heater to preheat the water entering your electric geyser.
- Install a gas-fired geyser for your kitchen and or bathrooms. These provide instant hot water and work during load shedding.
- Replace incandescent lamps and energy saving CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) with LED lamps in every room. LED equivalents for downlights save electricity and don’t produce heat.
- This includes outside security lights.
- Use motion-detector type outdoor lighting rather than lamps which burn all night.
- For pathway lighting, use small independent solar charged lamps.
- Replace fluorescent tubes (often found in kitchens and garages) with LED equivalent. An 18 W LED tube replaces a 1,2 m (4 foot) 56 W fluorescent tube.
- Turn lights off when the room is unoccupied.
- Reduce the amount of time your pool pump runs:
- Keep to a four to six-hour filtering cycle every 24 hours in winter.
- Keep to two six-hour filtering cycles every 24 hours in summer.
- Make regular pool maintenance a priority – it will help to reduce your pool pump’s electricity use.
- Clean your pool filter regularly throughout the year; a clean filter is key to better water flow.
- Brush the floor and walls to remove debris that the filter misses.
- Clean areas with the least circulation at least once a week.
- Keep your pool covered when you use it infrequently in winter – pool covers prevent leaves, dirt and debris from falling into the pool.
Invest in a battery-powered inverter to keep your security system, modems and routers and other essential equipment, such as motorised gate and garage doors, CCTV, medical equipment, fish tank pumps, etc., powered during load shedding.