Tips on how to save electricty
Why should you care about saving electricity?
1) Cutting your electricity bill down means saving money
2) Reducing your energy consumption level helps reduce your carbon footprint and means you help save the planets resources 3) With the current energy crises in SA, not wasting electricity means there less power cuts and generally less hassle for all of us!
Take a look the following 28 ways to decrease your energy usage and implement a few of them this week to start saving electricity today.
It’s as simple as being smart about lighting choices, using economical washing and drying methods, fixing a dripping tap and adopting energy efficient cooking techniques.
Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby
- Many of us with use the remote to switch off the tv or stereo, leaving the appliance running on standby. this means the appliance is still using up electricity and wastes a considerable amount of energy. by switching off at the main power button, or even the socket, you can save both energy and money.
- items left on standby use up to 85% of the energy they would use if fully switched on. An extra million tonnes of carbon will be released into the atmosphere through this power wastage.
- In most homes, about 10-15% of the electricity bill is for lighting. Use energy saving light bulbs to cut your costs considerably. Traditional light bulbs waste a lot of energy, whilst the 20 – 25 watt bulbs use up to four times less energy.
- No matter what type of lighting you are using, always turn the lights off when you leave a room.
Solar garden lights
- There are a number of different solar-powered lights available for use in the garden. These lights are highly energy efficient and convenient as they do not require external extension leads or special electrical fittings. These lights contain solar cells which convert the sun’s energy into electricity. They charge up during the daylight and light up as it gets dark. They are not usually hugely bright but are less intrusive than electric lights and look nice in the flowerbeds.
Economical washing and drying
- Washing machines and tumble dryers are big electricity users. You may not be able to cut down how often you use them, but small changes in how you use them will save energy and money.
- When using the washing machine, between 85-90% of energy is used just to heat up the water. Therefore, dropping the water temperature of your wash could significantly decrease your electricity consumption. Over a year, by using a warm wash rather than a hot wash, you could cut consumption nearly in half.
- Only use the washing machine when you have a full load. If you have to do a smaller wash, use the half load function. The spin on the machine may mean that more energy is used, but by spinning your clothes you are removing more excess water, therefore reducing your drying time in a tumble dryer.
- You can cut down on using tumble dryers by line drying clothes outside whenever possible or using an indoor clothes dryer when the weather is bad.
Fix a dripping tap
- A dripping tap can be not only annoying but if it is a hot water tap it can cost you in both water costs and water heating costs.
- If left to drip, over time a hot tap can waste enough water to fill half a bath. So don’t pour water and your heating costs down the drain, make sure you fix it.
- There are a few easy ways to save energy when cooking which can also speed up the amount of time you spend over a hot stove. Always use the correct size pan and, when heating water, only use the amount you need.
- If only using a small pan, then use a smaller burner. Boiling water in the kettle first will save the time the burner needs to heat the water, and putting a lid on will help it come to a boil quicker.
- When making a cup of tea, only boil the amount of water that you need. Boiling a full kettle unnecessarily is a waste of electricity.
Fridge and freezer
- The location of your fridge can make a difference in how energy efficient it is. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight and not close to the oven. It is best to keep it against an outside wall so that the heat it generates can escape easily, and always make sure that there are a few inches space all around the fridge so that air can circulate.
- Make sure you defrost your fridge and freezer on a regular basis or whenever necessary. An iced up freezer will make the freezer work harder, therefore wasting more energy than needed.
- Only set your fridge to as cold as you need it and avoid keeping the door open for long periods of time. The more cold air escapes, the harder the fridge has to work and the more electricity it uses. Check the seal regularly as a damaged seal also lets cold air escape.
- Never put warm or hot food into the fridge as this will make the fridge work extra hard to try and keep it cold; allow food to cool down first.
- Defrost frozen food in the fridge as this helps to keep it cool as it thaws.
Water heating tips
- In many homes, the single biggest electricity expense is the heating of water. This typically accounts for about 30% to 40% of the electricity account.
- By taking a shower instead of a bath you can save hot water. Showers typically use less water than a bath.
- Get the family into the habit of plugging the water basin when washing or shaving. Allowing hot water to pour out of the taps and down the drain is wasteful.
- Use the sun’s energy to heat your water by installing solar panels. This will save electricity and cut down your electricity bill.
- Do not set the thermostat on the geyser too high. A setting of 50-60|C is recommended.
- A geyser blanket helps prevent heat escaping from the geyser. A geyser blanket may cost in the region of R150, but the pay-back in electricity efficiency and electricity savings make it a good investment. It should take less than an hour to install a geyser blanket and over twenty years it may save you over R2 500 (in 1997 terms) in electricity bills (at an electricity price of 22,5c/kWh).
- To optimize electricity efficiency, geysers should be located as close as possible to the points where hot water is being used.
- Insulated hot water pipes maintain their temperature at constant levels and prevent heat loss. Pay special attention to the insulation of the first 1.5 to two meters of hot water pipes nearest the geyser. Water pipes can also be insulated with ceiling insulation material, or through the use of pipe insulators that wrap around the pipes. This can save well over R1 000 (1997 terms) in heating costs over twenty years.
- The water in most geysers stays hot for a long time. Electricity can be saved by switching off the geyser for long periods during the day and at night.