Save money by cutting your electricity bill: A 4-Week Challenge [Week 1]

As we head into the coldest months of the year, there is a shadow overhead: electricity prices are going up. There are ways of being resourceful and cutting back on power usage and ultimately saving money. However, these require some extra planning, effort and determination in order for it to become second nature.

Are you up for the challenge? When it comes to your electricity bill, there are 5 types of elements that take up the highest percentage of energy on average, and they are:

1. Geysers (24%)
2. Heating/Cooling appliances (18%)
3. Lighting (17%)
4. Electronics on standby (15%)
5. Cooking (11%)

Let’s tackle these over a 4-week period and cultivate power- and money-saving habits before the winter starts.

WEEK 1 CHALLENGE: Master your geyser

The element inside your geyser switches itself on every time the thermostat drops 2-3 degrees in order to regulate it at a specific set temperature. This happens whenever you use hot water or whenever the geyser naturally loses heat due to poor insulation. According to the Saving Energy website, your element switches on and off 24 to 30 times a day, and every time this happens the electricity usage is equivalent to that of 50 light bulbs.

Try the following:

1. Reset your thermostat: Set your geyser thermostat between 55-60 degrees.
2. Be selfish with hot water: Use the hot water scarcely throughout the day by washing your face, brushing your teeth, cleaning your home and doing the laundry with cold water.
3. Quick showers: We all like that deep, relaxing bath but they are expensive! In addition to this, South Africa is a water scarce country so do your bit and save money in the process by taking quick (no more than 5min) showers, or bathe in as little as possible water.
4. Switch your geyser off: There is a debate about whether your geyser consumes more electricity if you switch it off for a period of the day and back on again, compared to keeping it on the entire day. In their fact sheet entitled Switching off your geyser helps everybody, Eskom tackles all the various questions, and in short, you should switch your geyser off. Saving Energy advises to keep the geyser on for 4 hours a day and off for 20, dependent on your family’s schedule.

This coming week, start implementing the habit of doing some or all of the above. Depending on your budget, you can look at investing in a geyser blanket, installing a geyser timer or going the solar route with a solar geyser.

Don’t let electricity increases place strain on your cash flow, or even worse, send you deeper into debt; take action!

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