The cold, wet weather in winter translates into more nights spent at home, which can cause electricity bills to skyrocket. Here's how you can avoid higher electricity bills this winter.
“Many homeowners already live according to strict budgets, so it would be helpful for them to consider ways of reducing their electricity consumption during this season. Beyond this, a lowered electric bill is also a more environmentally responsible way of living, which is something we should all be striving towards,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
Obvious electricity savers
“Of course, following those dark days of load shedding (excuse the pun) in 2015, everybody should be well aware of the obvious electricity savers, such as unplugging all of your appliances when they’re not in use, filling your washing machines and dishwashers with a full (not half) load before switching them on, making use of geyser blankets, and installing ceiling insulation for heating and cooling purposes. But, there are loads of other subtle tricks homeowners can try in an effort to lower the meter reading at the end of the month.”
Use a power strip
One such electricity saving tip Adrian shares is to plug all of your appliances into a power strip. That way you only have to unplug one device to prevent all of your appliances from drawing a phantom charge from the power socket.
Dust your lightbulbs
Dust on the lightbulbs in your lamps is another “phantom” electricity thief. “The dustier your lightbulbs, the less light they provide, which means that you are more likely to switch on additional lights in order to brighten the space – especially during Winter when the evenings and mornings get darker earlier,” Goslett explains.
Don't overfill fridges and freezers
“Another thing homeowners often do not realise is that freezers and refrigerators use less electricity when filled to their recommended capacities. Each item over the recommended capacity will increase electricity usage by between 10-20%. A similar effect occurs when these appliances are too empty. Homeowners should consider the needs of their household carefully before purchasing a fridge and freezer.”
Clean your vacuum cleaner
Continuing on the topic of things many homeowners are unaware of, Goslett prompts homeowners to empty the dust bag on their vacuum cleaners regularly. “Vacuum cleaners draw a lot more electricity when the dust bag is full, which is why it is best to empty the bag every time you use it.”
Cold washes for clothes
“Setting your washing machine to a cold cycle is yet another simple way to save electricity – a bonus to this is that you do not need to separate your lights and darks because the cold water is less likely to make the colours run.”
Less time in front of screens
As a final piece of advice, Goslett encourages homeowners to spend a little less time in front of their screens this Winter and more time engaging with their loved ones instead. “The biggest electricity thief in Winter is the television. We tend to hibernate in front of it when the weather does not allow us to go outdoors. Board games and conversations are a great way to stay entertained on rainy days without using any electricity,” Goslett concludes.