What technology and energy-saving methods can I use to make life bearable at home during all these blackouts?
We have all experienced the stress of living with the recent energy crisis and load-shedding in South Africa. Try and make your home as energy-efficient as possible, thereby improving your quality of life as well as increasing the value of the property.
Solar heating is an attractive option for South Africans and it is gaining in popularity. For an additional R8 000 per geyser, purchase a solar-powered geyser. The initial outlay may seem expensive, but these geysers save approximately 40 percent on your electricity bill every month.
Another option to consider is tankless water heaters. Powered either electrically or by gas, they are becoming more readily available for domestic use. The advantage of these heaters is that they supply hot water only on demand and take up far less space. Conventional geysers constantly draw power to keep water in the tank hot – whether that hot water is being used or not.
Do your homework before installing a tankless water heater as the size of your home and the number of people requiring hot water, will determine the size of the heater to be installed.
If you are in the process of building, install solar-powered water underfloor heating. Solar panels are used to heat water that runs through pipes laid on the floor of your home. The initial outlay is expensive but you will constantly be saving on running costs. Lagging any hot water pipes also saves energy.
A generator costing R20 000 will run a couple of plugs in your home – your fridge and freezer for example. An R85 000 generator would service a medium-sized home, whilst one costing R140 000 would definitely provide all the electricity required in a large home.
Install an energy-efficient fireplace - there are units that burn wood, charcoal or gas or all three. Consider using gas in your home for heating and cooking purposes. Decrease your consumption by utilising energy-efficient globes. Make use of time switches on your geysers. If you have a swimming pool, check the length of time your filter runs.
Look at this crisis as an opportunity to make your home more eco-friendly and energy-efficient. You will be less dependent on an external energy supplier (Eskom) and less stressed out during blackouts. You will also be increasing the value of your home. I would call that a win-win situation!