Save money by cutting your electricity bill: A 4-Week Challenge [Week 3]

South African consumers are in for a difficult winter. Not only are electricity prices going up but so also are fuel and food prices. In tough economic times you need to cut back where you can.

That’s why over the past few weeks we have been challenging you to cut back on your electricity bill by making some small changes in your everyday electricity-usage routine.

Seeing as the geyser uses up the most electricity in a home, we started by giving some helpful tips and tricks to master it. Then, in Week 2, we moved on to saying “No” to heaters and “Yes” to natural heating. This week, we are focusing on lighting.

WEEK 3’s CHALLENGE: Master your lighting

Did you know that lighting contributes to an average of 17% of your monthly electricity bill?

The kind of light bulb you use the problem.

  • Incandescent light bulbs are cost-effective and give a room that warm, orange-like glow instantly. However, they use up the most electricity, they don’t last very long and provide more heat (90%) than they do light (10%).
  • Fluorescent tubular lamps are a great way to give light in areas such as the kitchen and garage. These lamps use 25-35% less energy as incandescent lights, are more expensive but lasts up to 10 times as long.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are the best of both. They have the versatility of incandescent lights but the energy efficiency and powerful lighting capabilities of fluorescent lights. CFLs use 75% less electricity as incandescent bulbs, are more expensive but can last between 6-15% longer.
    Important: Fluorescent lamps contain mercury and need to be recycled with care.
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LED) bulbs last nearly 130 times longer than CFLs and are ideal for lights that need to be on for long periods of time. These bulbs are the most expensive choice but over the long run the most cost-effective.

Try the following:

1. Find out what light bulbs you have in each light: Do you know what type of bulb you have in every light inside and outside your home? If not, check it out and make a list of the lights using non-energy efficient bulbs.

2. Switch to energy saver bulbs over time: It is simply too costly to replace every bulb in your home with an energy saving one all at once. Instead, swap out an incandescent bulb in a light you frequently use with an energy saver bulb from a light you don’t use that often. Also, now that you know which lights use the most electricity, try and limit their use as much as possible and aim to replace them one at a time as part of your monthly grocery budget.

3. Be light conscious: Apart from changing your bulbs, just being aware of what lights are on unnecessarily, goes a long way in electricity preservation. Are you switching on the light in the bathroom every time even though you can see fine without it? Did you leave the lights in the garage burning the entire night again?

Once you’ve mastered your electricity bill move on to cutting back on other expenses too. You’ll be surprised how various small changes can affect your pocket positively.

If you have tried cutting back but your debt is just too much of a heavy load on your family’s living expenses, contact Debt Rescue. We are here to help South Africans cope with their debt and walk the road to becoming debt free.

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