Winter is coming: Take control of your electricity bill

Winter is coming: Take control of your electricity bill



With Winter busy rolling in, we can all expect our electricity bill to sky rocket in the next few months, especially with Eskom’s tariff hike this year. That’s why we at Just Property have come up with a few tips to help you reduce your energy usage and save you some bucks.



To begin with, we need to understand what’s using the most energy in our homes. Usually we would put the big blame on our water geysers. How many times have we been told by our moms to get out of the shower? Well when we moved out and got our first electricity bill, it suddenly became clear why they hated long showers.

However, now that Winter is here, heaters are the next big power muncher knocking on the front door. Think about your evening routing when you arrive home from work. I would guess that one of the first five things you do is to put on a heater to warm up the cold room, and that heater is usually the big one in the living room. Taking that into consideration, I can guess your Winter electricity bill will not look too great at the end of the month.

Energy Saving Tips

So here’s the big question. How do I save myself from that crime scene of a bill? Just follow these steps:

  • First make sure that your heating equipment is in a good condition. A damaged heater is not only a fire hazard waiting to happen, it will most likely also suck up more power than a relatively newer machine. So if your heater is busy falling apart, then you should be on your way to Makro for a replacement.
  • Now that your heating equipment is on par, we need get your bad habits fixed. The first thing to never do is switch all your heaters on. Let’s face it, you and your family will only take up a small section of space in your home. So when you are gathered for dinner, don’t switch on the heaters in the bedrooms.
  • Additionally, the heat will linger for quite a while even after the heater is switched off. Therefore, you can already turn it off 20 minutes before you leave a room.
  • Aside from the actual electric heating, sunlight is your best friend. Keep the curtains open for all your North-facing windows during the day and let your house soak up that delightful warmth. It also doesn’t hurt that the sunlight will help kill all the germs floating around your house. Although don’t forget to close the curtains after sunset to block out the cold window chill.

Now let’s talk about that other big bad wolf we all fear: the geyser

  • Similar to heaters, if your geyser is cranky and old, then it’s time for an upgrade. Not only does your old geyser use more electricity, but the newer models are more efficient and can save you money simply by being new.
  • If replacing the geyser is not on your agenda, opt for the more economically viable option of lowering the thermostat. That’s a setting on the geyser that determines the temperature of the water. Needless to say if the water doesn’t get heated too hot, you won’t need as much electricity.
  • The next obvious step is just to use less hot water. Although we do realise that’s easier said than done. Nothing beats a nice long hot shower or a soak in the bath in Winter. Alas, you must resist the temptation. Additionally, you can fix any leaky taps and make sure you close them properly after every use. This may seem like a few drops, but can accumulate to a reasonable amount.
  • Lastly, drain a quarter of your tank every couple of months or so. This is to remove sediment that accumulates in your tank. The sediment effects heat transfers and lowers your geyser’s efficiency.  A word of warning, please follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent potential disasters.

Now that we have the big power munchers out the way, we can address the smaller electricity consumers in your house

  • Let’s start with lighting. If you ask the Just Property team, nine out of ten of us will tell you we love a light and airy house. So how do we keep our house bright without paying the price? Change to energy-saving bulbs, that’s how. Additionally, it’s just about keeping the good habit of switching off after yourself. And if you are feeling really fancy, install motion sensors in strategic places so the lights can automatically switch on and off as you move about the house.
  • Think about your biggest appliance at home. We would guess it’s the refrigerator. Our only suggestion here is just to buy an energy saving model. I mean, the fridge has to be on all the time. Not much you can do.
  • So then let’s talk about the next big item on our appliance list: the washing machine. Aside from the obvious tip of buying an energy-saving machine, the best way to save electricity (and water for that matter) is to run a short cycle. Usually the difference can be between a 30-minute quick wash and a 3-hour tub clean. We would obviously suggest the quick wash.
  • In the case of television, why have 3 TVs on in separate rooms when the family can gather together to watch the same show? This advice doesn’t only help you save money; it also helps your family build a stronger bond. When the advice is good, take it with both hands.
  • If you have a pool, for the love of all things mighty, please switch off the pump. You are not going to swim in winter and you don’t need a sparkling pool. We would suggest buying a quality pool covering to protect it from dirt and leaves.
  • In the case of a home office, try unplugging any electronics that you aren’t using. Printers and computers can still use a considerable amount of electricity even in standby mode.

Now that we’ve gone through some tips that can help you save electricity, let’s end with the big one: installing a device for renewable energy

  • The more popular option is the solar panel. In recent years they’ve become relatively cheap due to the fierce competition in the industry. A good solar panel can help you go completely off grid and not pay electricity at all. Now that’s a deal we like. You would also connect a battery to your panel to store the electricity just in case of a rainy day.
  • In south Africa, the less popular option is a small wind turbine. The electricity produced by these devices can partly power your house, but probably wouldn’t take the load in its entirety. Although Cape Town’s wind might just do it.