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15 Tips how to make your house more energy efficient and to save money

  • Latest News
  • February 28, 2020
15 Tips how to make your house more energy efficient and to save money

The house is a system. You save money and improve performance when you take cost-effective measures that reduce building loads, and then install systems and appliances that are the right size to meet the reduced loads. In general, oversizing worsens performance and increases costs.

The most effective strategy for improving household energy efficiency is to first target your home’s envelope—walls, windows and doors. Then, improve the energy efficiency of systems, such as heating, cooling, lighting and appliances. Finally, consider clean energy generation such as solar or geothermal.

1. Run the numbers

The first step to reducing your energy use is finding out … how you’re using your energy. If you need help, you can hire a local energy auditor or consult online tools that will walk through your home, take note of your lifestyle, and give you a list of personalized recommendations.

 

An energy audit works by connecting extremely accurate electrical test equipment (a data logger) to each circuit in your distribution board for a two-week period, which enables a qualified team to track and capture an accurate profile of your energy usage levels and patterns. After this, an analysis report is compiled that not only gives you the exact profile of your energy consumption, but also identifies and suggests energy and cost saving steps – a win-win for all.

2. Make sure your home is well insulated

Insulation
Effective insulation slows the rate that heat flows out of the house in winter or into the house in summer, so less energy is required to heat or cool the house. Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks, and adding insulation can save up to 10% on home heating and cooling costs.

3. Install Solar Panels

Solar Panels
Although solar panels aren’t exactly cheap, they’re becoming a popular way to heat hot water and generate electricity for homes. Solar panels have many benefits! They help you save money on energy bills in the long run and promote lower fossil fuel usage. Typically, they are installed on your roof and cut your electricity costs by generating energy independently of your utility company.

4. Change your lightbulbs to LEDs

Energy efficient products have become trendier over the past decade.
According to Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, the incandescent light bulb levy will be increased by R2 from R8 to R10 to encourage the uptake of more energy-efficient light bulbs. This levy will be raised on 1 April 2020. It is clear that Government would like to encourage consumers to reduce their environmental footprint and effectively save money through energy saving.

5. Unplug your cell phone

Don’t leave your mobile phone plugged in overnight. It only takes a couple of hours to charge. Cell phone and battery chargers that are plugged in but not in use are often referred to as energy vampires. The average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use and 2.24 watts when connected to your phone. Alone, one charger won’t make much impact, but collectively energy vampires can be responsible for 10% of your energy bill. So, unplug your chargers when not in use.

6. Install Low-Flow Showerheads

Water saving shower heads are not only a great way of conserving water and reducing your carbon footprint but are also a great way of saving money. Research has shown that a water saving shower head uses up to 50% less water than a regular free flow shower head.

Standard shower heads will use as much as 9.5 litres per minute (lpm), though there are still some being sold that use as much as 14 litres per minute.

7. Don’t wash with hot water

Avoid running your washer with hot water and opt for cold or warm water when possible. According to Treehugger.com, 90% of the energy used by your washer is used to heat the water, and the other 10% is used to run the machine. This means using cooler water for every load can potentially save a significant amount of energy.

8. Turn off unnecessary water

brushing teeth
Be conscious of running water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Also, bathing typically uses 284 litres of water compared to a shower that uses about 65 litres on average. You also should avoid running half-loads of laundry in your washer. A full load means more clothes get washed at once, which in turn conserves water (and money).

9. Replace your desktop computer

Most tech experts estimate that you should replace your computer every four years. When the time comes for your desktop computer, consider replacing it with a laptop. Laptops use up to 80% less electricity and run on less energy. Laptop computers typically peak at a maximum energy draw of only 60 watts, whereas most desktops peak around 175 watts.

10. Close your blinds and curtains

During warmer months, close blinds, shades and drapes on the sunny side of your home to help keep your home’s temperature cooler and reduce the work for an air conditioner. Open shades during cooler months to let the sun warm your home.

11. Turn off the oven on time

Baking cookies
Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking time runs out. Your food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity. Don’t peek in the oven while baking! Every time you peek, the temperature can drop 3.8 degrees Celsius, making your oven use more energy to bring the temperature back up.

12. Turn off the lights

Turn off the lights when they’re not in use. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential utility bill.

13. Switch off your ventilation fans

Don’t leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary. They replace inside air with outside.

14. Turn off heated dry on your dishwasher and air dry instead

Dishwasher
instead of the heat dry cycle for drying the dishes after the load is complete. If you don’t have this option on your dishwasher, when the load has finished washing, turn the dishwasher off and open the door a crack to let the dishes dry. This keeps available heat inside, but allows the dishes to air-dry. This saves about 15 percent of your total dishwasher’s energy use.

15. Set your refrigerator temperature to the manufacturer’s recommendation

Refridgerator
To avoid excessive cooling and wasting energy read the user manual for your fridge and ensure that the temperature is set to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Refrigerators and freezers operate most efficiently when full, so keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible (using water bottles if nothing else). Be careful about overfilling them as this will reduce airflow and cause the appliance to work harder.

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