There’s some question as to whether switching your geyser on and off in the same day actually saves electricity, with many suggesting it doesn’t. Experts suggest that if you are going away for a few days or weeks, turning your geyser off will be effective, though.
What is effective, though, is having a properly insulated geyser. Insulation saves energy by only allowing a small amount of energy to escape. It’s best to have this done by a reputable company that uses approved materials.
Remember that energy savings are also achieved by preventing the loss of heat from the pipe work. It’s a good rule of thumb to insulate at least 1m of the inlet pipe going into your geyser and all the outlet pipes travelling from the geyser. This can also help to prevent frozen pipes in winter.
While solar geysers have the water pumped into solar panels in order to warm it before being stored in a geyser, the geyser itself still benefits from insulation.
Electric blankets are far cheaper to run than heaters in the bedroom. You do, however, need to reduce any potential risks by checking your blanket every time you change your sheets. When fitting the blanket, make sure it is flat on the bed as creasing can damage the heating elements. Secure the blanket firmly.
Keep the cord and control switch clear of the bed so they won’t get damaged. Putting clothes or other things (like a large dog) on the bed while an electric blanket is on may cause the blanket to overheat and could start a fire. Never leave an electric blanket unattended for long periods of time when it is switched on.
It’s an effective way to heat your bed up before you go to sleep. Turn the blanket off once you’re warm and ready to sleep, as they can cause much discomfort in the night when you overheat! Unless your children stay dry throughout the night, don’t use an electric blanket on their beds.
When washing coloured clothes, it’s always best to use cold water anyway so that colours don’t run. When washing whites, use warm water rather than hot. If you are buying a washing machine, speak to the dealer about one that is most energy efficient. Even if you pay a little more upfront, the savings in the long run will make up for it.
Because your washing cleans out a huge chunk of your energy and cash every month, it’s worth looking into the most efficient way of doing it. Top loading machines may be the most popular model of washing machines because of their lower purchase cost, but they are not the most economical choice. Front loading washers may cost a bit more at the store, but they are more energy efficient since they have a larger capacity meaning fewer loads need to be done, less water is used so there is less water to heat, and the higher speed spin cycle removes more water from the clean clothes easing the dryer's work load.
Tumble dryers chew electricity . . . so keeping yours in top working condition can save on energy. Try using the dryer when the weather is wet and using pure, free sunlight on warm, sunny days. Read the instruction manual that came with your tumble dryer and make sure the machine is serviced when it needs to be. Keeping your electrical appliances in optimal shape can reduce your electricity bill, as they don’t need more energy to work effectively. If your white goods are out of warranty, find a handyman who will do services on your equipment periodically.
Meat production takes a lot more energy and resources than growing vegetables or grains, and 18 percent of human-generated greenhouse gases come from the livestock industry. It’ll take just one meatless day a week to help reduce emissions. “Meatless Mondays” are being advocated by companies and individuals around the world. To see who’s in on the deal, click here
Vehicles consume half of the world’s oil - and spew a quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Leaving your car at home even one day a week can save a lot of gas and emissions over a year. Also, try to buy foods that are grown in your area, or at least find out how far your foods have travelled to understand their global footprint.
Put a notice online; in your company’s newsletter or in a local store to find others who travel the same route and you, and share rides to work. This will not only have someone assist you with petrol money, it’ll keep one (or more) extra car off the road. Helps with emissions AND traffic problems!
Experts recommend checking your tyre pressures every two weeks. It’s also best done when the tyres are cold; in the morning and before you’ve driven too far in your car. Tyre dealerships say that correctly inflated tyres will last up to 5,200 miles more than those that are under-inflated by 10 per cent.
Note, too, that over inflated tyres give a less comfortable ride, and can increase the wear around the centre of the tread. A reduced contact area with the road can make the steering feel light and affect acceleration. Make sure you know the manufacturer’s guide for your tyre pressure.
With South Africa’s roads coming under increasing pressure from traffic, it makes sense for those who can to work from home. A good modem and internet access means many people are able to telecommute. VOIP programs can keep you in touch with colleagues – near and far – and meetings can be conducted just as effectively online.
If you can’t work from home all the time, find out about doing it one or two days a week. Also, companies who allow their staff to work flexitime can help traffic congestion by keeping at least some people/vehicles off the roads at peak traffic times.
Did you know that installing low energy light globes is one of the simplest and smartest things you can do to make your house more sustainable? Low energy globes use only 20 percent of the energy of your old incandescent light bulbs – and your electricity bill will reflect this!
While low energy globes do cost more than the old fashioned sort, they can also last up to eight times longer, so they end up paying for themselves. To minimise your greenhouse gas emissions even more, turn your lights off when you’re not in the room – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Where there’s natural light available, use it. Open opening the curtains instead of turning on the light and make the most of the sunshine.
Because your geyser is one of the most costly items to run in your home, it really is worthwhile having it checked by a professional to see that it is working properly. The older models – and those that are not SABS approved – run the risk of bursting, which not only wastes a lot of our precious water resources, it can ruin carpets and furnishings and end up costing far more than an expert opinion – or a new geyser!
Call in a trustworthy plumber and – if your geyser is in good working order – have it insulated there and then for better energy savings.
Low flow bathroom and kitchen fixtures save water that would otherwise be wasted, not only reducing your bill, but also the amount of available fresh water used. Did you know that reducing your hot water use saves energy because your geyser then has less work to do?
Some 73% of the water used in a typical shower is hot water. Inexpensive and simple-to-install, low-flow showerheads and tap aerators can reduce home water consumption and water heating costs by as much as 50%. You can call in a professional, or you can even do it yourself. Either way, the savings are well worth it.