Property Advice

How to trim your energy consumption this winter

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter |
How to trim your energy consumption this winter

It is not uncommon for electricity bills to rise in winter, up to 30% say some professionals, which can be a bit of a shock 60 days later when the council bill arrives. This can, however, be managed by using some affordable options.

Here are some cost-effective tips that will help you reduce your electricity bill during the winter months:

  • Close the curtains: As the sun sets, close the curtains to contain the heat in the house, and prevent it from escaping from the windows. You might also consider doing this during the day if it is particularly overcast or cloudy.

  • Use gas heaters: While not everyone is fond of gas, gas-powered heaters may be cheaper to run than those that require an electrical connection.

  • Ceiling fans: Reverse the setting so that the fan pulls cold air up to the ceiling and circulates warm air down. Don’t forget to turn them off when not occupying the room.

  • Convert to LED lights: If you haven’t already, replace old incandescent lights with LEDs that use less energy.

  • Check insulation: Drafts actually leak out more heat than you think. If your windows and doors are allowing air in, your heating systems will use more energy to heat the environment.

  • Check your geyser heat: Water heaters are often set at an unnecessary high temperature. The ideal, say experts, is between 55-65 degrees centigrade. Also consider the use of a geyser blanket.

  • Geyser off: Some manufacturers recommend turning the geyser off during the night or day, when it is not required. A geyser can take up to an hour or so before the water is hot. This may save up to 20% off your electricity bill.

  • Sweaters and blankets: If all members of the household dress in layers, you’ll be less likely to use a heating system, or only need to in extremely cold conditions. A blanket over the lap or the shoulders can be an effective barrier against cold conditions.

  • Hot water bottles: A great alternative to an electric blanket, hot water bottles can warm up a bed, or if placed on a lap while watching TV, can often be more effective at heating your body than a heater.

  • Candles: A wonderful way to turn the lights off, and create a warm and cosy atmosphere. Candles do need to be monitored, and/or extinguished when leaving a room for a long period of time. Also ensure they are well-mounted to avoid creating a fire hazard.

  • Rugs: Tile, stone and laminated wood flooring may be gorgeous features, but they are not known to be heat retainers. Consider using rugs that can act as cosy features and prevent your feet from getting chilly.

  • Attic: Much heat in the home is lost from the top. If affordable, consider installing insulation. Not only does it minimise the amount of warm air escaping through the roof, it also regulates the heat entering the house during summer months.

  • Interior doors: Doors leading to other sections of the house should be kept closed if you want to warm one room with a heater.

  • Oven door: When you are finished baking, leave the oven door open for an extra boost of warmth in the kitchen.

  • Thicker upholstery and bedding: Change your curtains and bedding to thicker weighted fabric.

  • Soup, stew and curry: Who doesn’t want a warming bowl of hot vegetables or a meaty dish when it’s cold outside. Make a big batch and feast for a couple of days, which will save using the cooking facilities every day.

  • Snuggly fleecy throws: Put them everywhere so you can easily grab one when changing rooms or moving from indoors to outdoors.

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