With the cost of living on the rise, South Africans are looking at ways of cutting down on expenses. Yet whilst we simply have to grin and bear most of these costs, electricity is the one area we can have a certain amount of control over – when Eskom isn’t turning off the lights that is.

Here are some common sense actions you can take right now to cut that electricity bill in half:

Turn off your lights

Sounds simple doesn’t it, but unless you are policing your family members (and yourself) it’s amazing how many lights are left burning in unoccupied rooms. Go around your house and turn off all the lights you’re not using, especially if you’re using old style incandescent light bulbs.

Change to LED’s

Another alternative is switching to LED bulbs, which are more expensive upfront, but don’t have the drawbacks of CFL and behave more like a traditional light.

Do the maths: If each 60 watt bulb uses 0.060 kWh (more or less) per hour, and you probably have somewhere between 2 to 4 bulbs in each bathroom and kitchen, this equals 120-240 watts of wasted electricity per hour.

We recommend installing the Osram 5.3W Dimmable GU10 LED lamp. It is the same output as the 50W Halogen down light lamps, so in other words 10 of these will be the same power as using 1 x 50W Standard halogen downlight lamp. These replace your indoor downlighter 50W Halogen lamps. You can however use them in outdoor fittings too, like spike lights and up and down lights, provided they are sealed fittings.


Turn off your electronics, especially your computers, when you’re not using them

This point, just like turning off your lights, is an obvious thing that all of us know, but don’t religiously follow. You don’t really need to have your computer on when you’re asleep and although it doesn’t shave a huge amount off your bill at the end of the month, every bit helps. Especially when your household consists of a couple of laptops or desktops.

Install an occupancy sensor

Another option is to install an occupancy sensor in various rooms in your house – If no movement is detected within the set time delay the sensor will assume the room is not occupied and thereafter switch the load off and switch on.

We recommend the Radiant 06SE07 occupancy sensor


Unplug stuff you rarely use

We all have appliances that we don’t use all the time. This could include items such as televisions, stereo equipment, your DSTV Decoder, desktop computers etc. These electronics still draw power when they’re plugged in even if they are switched off. You’ll need to physically unplug these things from the wall to eliminate any power consumption when not in use. It might take you an extra minute to find the cord, plug it in and switch on the electronics when you do use them—and an extra minute to unplug when you’re done—but it’s worth it if they’re barely used.

Change your habits when it comes to your appliance usage
The appliances that use the most energy include washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers. For those of us lucky enough to have all three, they make housework much easier, but they really push up the electricity bill. When doing a load of washing, unless the load is filled with little Tim’s grass stained soccer shorts, you don’t need a long cycle or a cycle that’s more than 40 degrees. Most new washing machines allow you to select an economy cycle of 30 minutes, whilst selecting your own temperature. When it comes to your dishwasher, wait for it to be full until you switch it on. Or simply wash your dishes the old fashioned way… Tumble dryers are actually very bad for your clothes but if you must use one rather put the clothing in for a short spin and then hang them out to completely dry.

Use panel heaters
We all love our heaters in winter but no one likes the electricity consumption of a standard electric heater. Switch to low energy heaters that are clever in the way they circulate heat.

We recommend the Econoheat panel heater that uses natural convection technology. Heat is mainly generated behind the heater in the space between the panel and the wall, which leads to an efficient up draught of heated air circulated into the room

eHeaterbox2013ZALOW3 300x280 copy

Put your geyser on a timer and reduce the temperature

The geyser is one of the most power hungry appliances in the home. Unless you have a timer telling it when to switch on and off, the element will maintain the water temperature all day long, at your pockets expense. So unless you have erratic shower or bath times, use a timer and save. Also, we all think we need piping hot water but actually we only need water that is between 50-70 degrees. Set your thermostat at this reduced temperature over and above the geyser timer settings and you’ll be amazed at how your energy consumption is reduced.

We recommend the CBI QAT –TRDM geyser timer – this low voltage touch-screen programmable Electronic Time Switch can be used to automatically control geysers, lights, air conditioners, and pool pumps.The new touch-screen timer fulfills the need for a reliable time switch that is quickly installed and simple to set up, all within a compact form factor.

ScreenShot2015 05 22at11.48.48AM

Reduce the hours your pool pump runs

If you reduce your daily pool filter cycle by 2-3 hours a day you will be amazed at the cost savings. Algae flourishes in summer due to the warm temperature of the pool water. In winter we need less filtration to keep the pool clear so it makes sense to reduce the hours your filter runs each day.

Change to long life / low voltage outside lights
Most of us keep at least one or two outside lights on for security at night. These lights will be on for almost 12 hours in a 24-hour cycle so make sure they are long life or low voltage.

Indulge in an electricity-free evening
Implement an electricity free time slot in your week and not only will you save on electricity but you will also stay connected to your loved ones. Life is overwhelming and with so many devices to keep us “connected”, it is becoming necessary to switch off and unplug. Rather than waiting for Eskom to switch off your lights and appliances during scheduled load shedding, chose a night of the week where you only use candles and all screens are off. This includes televisions, tablets, phones and computers. You can thank us later ☺

For these and more energy saving products, please contact one of our lighting consultants for more information:

Plumstead Lighting: 021 715 3151

Okavango Lighting: 021 982 8124

Please note that some of these products are available at our Lighting showrooms located next door to the electrical wholesaler divisions.

Share this post