Saving energy at home, whether you own or rent, helps lift the load on our power supply - and saves your money. Just about everything we use daily is powered by energy in the form of electricity. Think chargers, laptops, kettles, fridges, stoves, washing machines, geysers – the list goes on. Electricity powers cooking, refrigerating, heating, drying, cleaning and binge-watching our favourite shows. That’s why every decision to use only what you need adds up.
Know how you’re using energy.
If you know how you’re using energy, whether at home or working from home, you can take change, cut your costs and help lift the load on the power supply.
Start by making a list of essential appliances like fridges which are simply always on. Then move on to what you can turn off or unplug like lights, stoves and kettles. Your first click-to-save action should be switching lights off when you leave an empty room.
Cut your load shedding, while you earn and save money.
Help lift the load on the power supply during evening peak hours, which cuts your energy costs so you save money too. Get started and saving as part of Eskom’s Residential Load Management (RLM) initiative. The goal is to minimise the amount of energy you use within evening peak hours. It’s double the upside – if you participate, you won't have load shedding during stages 1 and 2. And you’ll get back some of your energy spend too. Find out more about the RLM. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. An Eskom service agent will get in touch to answer your questions about how the initiative works.
Maximise your savings by switching to energy-efficient lighting and using energy-smart appliances.
Switch off your geyser over the evening peak, from 5 to 9pm.
Geysers are the biggest energy eaters in your home and can be responsible for up to 30% of overall demand during peak hours. If you don’t have a geyser timer, switch off your geyser during the evening peak between 5 and 9pm. It will lighten the load on the system, cut your energy costs and save you money.
To make it even easier, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to switch off.
Recharge your inverter during standard or off-peak hours.
If you have an inverter to help you through load shedding, please remember not to recharge during peak hours. If you’re in an Eskom area, you’ll need to delay recharging for at least an hour after load shedding.
You can also investigate changing the recharge setting so that it’s not on rapid or high mode. Most inverters should be set at medium if there are 2 to 3 hours of load shedding or power cuts a day.
Plug in appliances only when needed.
Unplug appliances and electronics when you're not using them. Even when they're turned off, they still draw power. Some may draw 50% of their usual pull even in standby mode. And it all adds up.
If you’re looking for less effort, you could use a smart power strip, especially for things you use regularly, which clicks off plugged devices at once. This way you can switch electronics on only when you need them.
Turn down the screen brightness on your cell – you’ll use less battery power and won’t need to charge it as often or as much. Once your cellphone battery is charged, unplug the charger until it’s time to recharge.
Set your geyser temperature to 60 °C.
The lower the setting, the less energy used to heat up the water. You’ll save up to 5% for every 10-degree reduction. Set the thermostat on your geyser to a comfortable 60 °C (any lower than 55 °C is not recommended as at this level, bacterial growth can occur).
Use cold water for quick tasks like washing your hands or brushing your teeth.
Layer, layer, layer.
Dress warmly and use hot water bottles instead of electric heaters during the day. If you need the electric blanket, switch it on for five or so minutes just before you’re ready to get some sleep. Unplug it once the bed’s warm enough, and you’ll definitely see the change to your energy bill.
Layer blankets and duvets to keep the heat in: blanket, you, blanket, duvet … and if you’re still cold, another blanket.
Use natural light where possible.
Let in the light first – open curtains and blinds during the day to let in sunlight. Use ‘task’ lighting when only a little light is needed, such as using a desk lamp for working and a standing lamp for areas like the lounge or TV space – with energy-efficient light bulbs for extra savings.
Click off lights when you leave a room (only when it’s empty, of course).
Focus on one area at a time.
Then prioritise it! Over time every action you take to reduce your energy use, however small, will make a positive impact on your pocket – and our power supply.
Consider installing smart monitoring sensors to track your spend – smart sensors can be linked to a smart app, turning your smartphone into master control.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
Aim to switch out inefficient lights with LEDs. They use less energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs. LEDs are also more efficient at converting electricity into light. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs will reduce electricity consumption by around 80% to 90%.
Budget for it so you can start replacing failed incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. Always click off the light when leaving a now- empty room.
Install a geyser timer and geyser blanket.
Make your geyser work for you. You can buy and install a good quality geyser blanket for less than R1 000, and it can cut heat loss by up to 50%.
A geyser timer will make sure you have hot water only when you need it. You can get a timer and installation for less than R2 000, which means money saved with every click. Geyser timers give you more control over how many times your geyser heats up its water. So instead of allowing it to be permanently on, you can plan ahead and schedule your geyser timer to bring down the bill.
The advice from experts is as follows: switch off just before you’re going to bath or shower, use up the warm water that’s already there, and leave the geyser off until you need it again. Switch it back on about three hours before your family’s peak demand, and then switch it off again about half an hour before everyone baths or showers.
Check out the market for apps and other smart devices that do all the work for you.
Use the best appliance for the task.
When cooking, use a pan or pot that matches the size of the plate. This saves energy because you’re not wasting energy to heat up the air around the pot. Save more by matching your pot size to what you’re cooking ¬– smaller meal, smaller pan. Cover pots and pans which will use less energy and help the food cook faster. Turn off heat a few minutes before the food is done cooking ¬– it will continue cooking as the stove/oven cools down.
Microwaves are perfect for smaller meals, and a better choice for reheating. Slow-cookers and pressure cookers are ideal for meals that need longer cooking times – such as stews and casseroles.
Cook a few meals at once to save energy on heating the oven. Rather keep an eye on your meal through the oven window than opening the oven door too often ¬– letting the heat out wastes energy.
Insulate both cold and hot water pipes.
Insulating your pipes can help to keep the hot water hot and the cold water cold, which means you won't have to use as much energy to heat or cool your water.
Sealing air leaks from windows, doors, ceilings, electrical outlets will also make your home more energy efficient. Remember you can do this bit by bit. Even something as simple as using rugs on bare floors can make a big difference.
Install solar water heaters and rooftop solar PV where possible.
For those who can afford it, solar water heaters and rooftop solar are smart investments. They help cut energy costs and reduce your reliance on the grid. They also add value to your property – and you don’t have to be a homeowner. If you’re renting, talk to your leaser about investing in a solar solution.
Solar water heaters use the sun's energy to heat water, and rooftop solar PV can generate your own electricity. For added value, you will soon be able to sell any extra power you generate. Cape Town, Tshwane and Jo’burg have shown the way and others will soon follow.
Look into how you can finance rooftop solar and how to make use of government incentives. This can make the upfront costs more affordable.
Switching to renewable power comes with tax breaks, as government offers taxpayers a rebate for new or unused solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. You claim a rebate of 25% of the cost of the panels, up to a maximum of R15 000. This can make the upfront costs more affordable. The idea is to get people to add more generation power, so the rebate is only for solar panels, not inverters or batteries.
Install smart pool controllers to cut energy use at peak.
Smart pool controllers can help you to save energy by automatically switching on your pool pump during low-peak. Set the controller/time switches on pool pumps to run for limited durations at the most appropriate times.
Use a variable-speed pool pump to save energy. It only runs as fast as it needs to, so you won't waste electricity on unnecessary circulation.
The Energy Action plan covers government’s take-charge actions to fix our energy problems and end load shedding as quickly as possible. Our Click-to-Save tips will help you take charge and kick off your business’s energy-savings journey, with free easy-to-do actions, smaller budget-for expenses and larger spending-to-save investments.