Ways To Save Electricity
Microwave ovens are great electricity savers because they are better suited to cooking small to medium quantities of food. However large portions of meat should be cooked in a conventional oven. Compare cooking times on packaging and use the method that takes the least time and power.
Refrigeration and Freezing tips
The fridge is the most used appliance in any kitchen, along with the stove. When using the fridge remember to:
- Do not open the door unnecessarily and ensure that door seals are intact and seal the fridge tightly in order to keep the cold air in.
- Switch off the fridge when empty or when you go on holiday.
- Let hot food cool down before putting it in the refrigerator defrost the fridge regularly as the excess of frost and ice will inhibit the cooling process and use more energy.
- Leave spaces between items on the shelves as this allows cool air to circulate more easily, keeping a constant temperature and using less energy.
- Rather allow food to defrost in the refrigerator or on the sideboard instead of using the microwave- it is much more economical even though it takes a while.
- Freezers that are iced up use significantly more power, so keeping freezers frost- free will save power and money.
- By not overstocking your freezer means that cold air circulates easier and less power is required to keep the temperatures constant.
Staying Warm in Winter
Heaters are in demand when the temperatures drop. Unfortunately they burn a lot of energy at a steady rate. To keep tabs on your winter electricity bills there are several things to bear in mind about heating:
- Electric heaters that are controlled by thermostats are more efficient although oil-filled heaters are among the safest.
- Electric blankets are the cheapest way of staying warm in bed although don’t keep them on throughout the night. Turn them on for an hour or two just before bed to heat it up.
- When heating up your house only heat rooms that are occupied as opposed to empty rooms.
- Heaters also operate more efficiently in areas where ceilings are insulated and there are no gaps letting cold air into the house.
- Even with these energy saving tips about heating up your house in mind, rather dress warmly as an alternative to using a heater.
- Placing insulation in your ceiling helps to keep your house warm in winter and cool in summer.
Running your Dishwasher efficiently
Only run your dishwasher when it is full. It is more economical this way, saving on both water and electricity and turn it off before the drying cycle starts and dry dishes manually. Connect the machine to the cold water supply rather than the hot one and make sure that all the filters stay clean. These easy actions will save you money on your electricity bill and also prolong the life of your dishwasher.
Small appliances are more energy efficient and economical than the bigger items such as geysers, stoves and televisions.
Small appliances such as toasters, electric grills and skillets, slow cookers, electric pots and bottle warmers should be used whenever possible because they use less electricity than a stove.
Use an electric kettle to boil water rather than boiling water in a saucepan on the stove. When you are boiling the kettle for tea don’t fill the kettle to the brim when you only want enough water for a single cup – only boil the water you need.
Automatic washing machines and Tumble Dryers
Front-loading washing machines use less water and cost less to operate. Using the warm water setting reduces the energy needed to heat water; you can also save energy by only using the machine to do full loads of washing; do not wash one item at a time.
Tumble dryers are high on the list of appliances that consume the most amounts of energy. When shopping for a tumble dryer look for a machine that offers electronic humidity control, as these are the most efficient machines. They automatically shut off the drying cycle when clothes are dry, saving you time and energy and, in the long run, money. Using the correct temperature setting also minimises electricity use. Removing excess water before putting clothes into the tumble dryer saves time and power. But, best and easiest of all, rather use sunny days to dry clothes outdoors.
Iron low temperature fabrics first to reduce the warm-up time and use a thermostatically-controlled iron that switches itself off when the correct temperature is reached, or switch the iron off once it has reached the correct temperature and finish the ironing on stored energy. Use distilled water in steam irons because the distilled water is pure and has not got the minerals that everyday tap water contains. These minerals can cause build up in your steam iron and your iron won’t function as it should. It will become less efficient and take longer to heat up. The steam is prevented from fully escaping and will need more energy to emit the required amount of steam.
Energy and water savings
Water heating is the biggest electricity expense for the average household – the more hot water you use, the more money you pay. Not only is it important to save electricity and money – it’s also a very good idea to save water. South Africa is a semi-arid country with an average national rainfall of 450mm – well below the international average of 860mm. This makes water a scarce and precious resource, so we should all use water conservatively.
There is a lot you can do to save water. Here are some tips:
Instead of allowing the water to run when you wash your face or shave, fill the basin with the right amount of water you need and, when brushing your teeth, use a cup filled with water for rinsing your mouth. Reduce the amount of water your household consumes by simply switching from bathing to showering. Leaving taps to drip is also extremely wasteful. Remember to turn off your taps tightly after using them and to fix any leaky faucets.
Switch to energy and water efficient shower heads and save:
You can save significantly on energy and water by using an energy and water-saving showerhead. It’s a very effective way of cutting back on your hot water consumption and electricity usage in your home. An energy and water saving shower head typically has a flow rate of less than 10 litres per minute, compared with a conventional showerhead that has a flow rate of 15 litres per minute. A household that takes an average of 3 x 7-minute showers a day can save up to 38 000 litres of water a year. In money terms this means a saving of R 1 100 a year.
A few basic steps can significantly reduce the amount of electricity used by electric stoves:
- Use a pressure cooker to prepare foods that normally have a lengthy cooking time such as some vegetables, rice and certain cuts of meat.
- They work along the same lines as a crock pot but they speed up the cooking process and save electricity.
- When buying a stove, buy one with a convection oven as the small interior space heats up faster and stays warmer for longer.
- Make sure that the oven doors stay closed until food is fully cooked and bring food to the boil on the ”high” setting, then turn down to simmer until cooked.
- Keep stove plates and reflectors clean and only use pots and pans that completely cover stove plates.
For a more comprehensive look at how to save electricity click here