How to help save power

Water heating

If you have an electric hot water cylinder, water heating uses up a whopping 30 percent of your power bill. But there are simple things you can do to make your hot-water system more efficient and save you money.

  • Insulate the first metre of hot water pipe from your cylinder.
  • If your hot water cylinder doesn't have a 'Grade A' label, wrap it with a cylinder blanket.
  • Wash clothes in cold water.
  • Have a user-adjustable thermostat fitted and set it to 60°Celsius.
  • Fix dripping hot taps.
  • Use a low-flow shower head to supply water at 6 to 9 litres per minute.
  • Limit showering time – a short shower uses much less hot water than a bath.
  • Fill the kettle or jug from the cold tap and only heat the amount needed.

Space Heating

Heating your house accounts for about 29 percent of your bill.

  • Seal off open fireplaces when not in use.
  • Use curtains, preferably those that are lined and floor-to-pelmet (or touching the window sill), and close them at night.
  • Draught-proof doors and windows.
  • Insulate ceilings and, if possible, walls.
  • Maximise the sunshine into your home in winter by keeping curtains open during the day and cut back trees that shade north-facing windows.
  • Only heat rooms that are being used.
  • Because polished strip-timber floors leak air through the joints, reduce draughts and heat loss from these floors by insulating underneath them.
  • Use thermostats and timers on electric heaters. Lighting Lighting makes up about 8 percent of your power bill.
  • Turn lights off when leaving a room.
  • Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs in high-use areas.
  • Maximise the use of natural light.

Cooking and refrigeration

Cooking makes up about 7 percent of your bill and refrigeration makes up about 11 percent.

  • Use a steamer over a pot to cook more than one dish at a time.
  • Use a microwave or pressure cooker where possible.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances.

Other tips

Washing machines, dryers, televisions, power tools, computers, and other electrical appliances make up 15 percent of your bill.

  • Rather than use a dehumidifier, ventilate the house and extract moisture at its source using rangehoods and bathroom fans.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances.
  • Electric tumble dryers are commonly the second biggest energy user in the home, after your hot water cylinder. They are obviously used a lot less, but still use a huge amount of electricity when switched on. You can avoid using the dryer so often by line drying clothes whenever possible or using an indoor clothes dryer when the weather is bad. If you do need to use the dryer, ensure the clothes are as dry as possible after washing, eg, they have gone through a fast spin so that there is minimum excess water. This will reduce drying time considerably.