Electricity is an unavoidable expense, but it does not have to cost you an arm and a leg

During these trying economic times, we are all trying to save where we can, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate. By implementing the easy, energy-saving tips below, you will be able to drastically cut your electricity bill this winter.

1. Change your bulbs

LED light bulbs use significantly less power when being compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs, along with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are still a bit more expensive, however they are more long-lasting and will save you money in the long run.

Tip: Don’t forget to switch off the lights in a room once you leave.

2. Keep an eye on your geyser

Lower the thermostat on your geyser to 60ºC and cover it with a geyser blanket to retain heat. The most energy-hungry appliance is the geyser and can be responsible for up to 39% of your monthly bill, according to the Western Cape Energy Department. Greeff suggests ‘’installing a timer that switches the geyser on and off according to the times you specify. This prevents the geyser from heating up water when it’s not necessary’’.

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Tip: Take a shower instead of a bath. This will use five times less electricity than the heat required to fill your tub.

Myth debunked: It is not true that regularly switching a geyser on and off damages the thermostat, nor that more electricity is used if a geyser is switched on and off.

3. Switch it off when it’s not being used

This is something we all know, yet it’s the one thing we always forget to do. Did you know that if you leave your devices plugged in, they still chow electricity? For example, leaving your charger plugged in, or your TV on stand-by mode all contribute to unnecessary electricity usage. According to the Western Cape Government, by turning off the switch at plug points, you will reduce your electricity bill by 6%.

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4. It may be time for an upgrade

It’s believed that larger, older appliances i.e. your fridge, geyser or washing machine actually uses more electricity. Why’s that? Older appliances were not made with energy-saving properties like appliances of today. Newer appliances come equipped with energy-saving capabilities therefore reducing your electricity bill significantly. If you are able to purchase one or two new appliances, look for the most energy-efficient option. It might take a big chunk out of your pocket now, but it will save you a good amount of money in the long run.

Tip: Plug all your appliances into a power strip. That way you only have to unplug one device to prevent all your appliances from drawing a phantom charge from the power socket.

Innovative ways to reduce electricity this winter:

Dust on the light bulbs in your lamps is another “phantom” electricity thief. Greeff says that ‘’the dustier your light bulbs are, the less light they provide, which means you are more likely to switch on additional lights to brighten up the space’’.

Empty the dust bag on your vacuum cleaner 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.

Setting your washing machine to a cold cycle is another way to save electricity. A bonus is that you do not need to separate your lights and darks because the cold water is less likely to make the colours run.

All it takes is just a little bit of effort and before you know it, you would have saved hundreds on your bill.