Electricity bills skyrocketing in winter is not a new thing, but with the rising cost of living — with the VAT increase earlier this year and increasing fuel prices, with another one predicted for July — this winter will prove more costly than previous ones.
And as South Africans continue to seek ways to ease the financial pressures of 2018, reining in your electricity bill is one of these ways.
Here are a few energy-saving tips from Budget Insurance:
1. What kind of heater do you have?
The way that different heaters warm up affects the amount of electricity they use. For example, oil heaters consume smaller amounts of electricity because they warm up gradually and consistently. Bar heaters, on the other hand, warm up much faster, using more electricity. Wall mounted heaters take a long time to reach optimal temperatures, drawing on a lot of electricity in the process. Your choice will depend on the space you're heating as some heaters are more cost-effective in smaller spaces, but oil heaters and small fan heaters are generally best for the average home.
2. Energy-saving lightbulbs
Invest in energy-saving lightbulbs. While they are more expensive to purchase, they use as little as one-sixth of the energy of regular lightbulbs and can last up to 25 times longer. Since it can be a bit pricey to replace all your bulbs at once, spread out the cost by replacing them as they go out.
3. Check energy rating before you buy
Before purchasing new appliances like heaters and kettles, check their energy rating — A being the most efficient and G the least.
4. Save via your geyser
Geysers use a huge amount of power and can make up as much as 40 percent of your total electricity bill. You can save up to 10 percent by simply lowering the thermostat's temperature to between 50C and 60C, instead of 60 to 65C. Don't set it lower than 50C, however, as this could cause bacteria to grow inside the geyser. Also, by using a geyser blanket, insulating your water pipes and installing a geyser timer, you could save your geyser a lot of hard work, and yourself a lot of money.
5. A microwave is pretty handy in winter
Microwaves remain the cheapest way to cook food, while ovens draw heavily on electricity. Slow cookers are far more energy-efficient than ovens and are a great alternative for soups and stews. If you are using the oven, reduce power by turning it off a few minutes before the food is ready, and allowing the built-up heat to finish the cooking.
6. Thicker curtains and rugs
It's not just about adding warmth to your home, but about keeping heat from escaping. Thick, heavy curtains on windows and rugs on tiled or wooden floors are great ways to reduce heat loss in your home.
7. Go thermal
Thermal clothing has come a long way, is now more accessible than ever, and is available at most retail outlets at an affordable price. It's a smart and lightweight way to keep the heat in and the cold out without using external heat sources.
"The good news is that there are ways to stay warm while saving yourself from sky-high bills," says Susan Steward, Marketing Manager of Budget Insurance.