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How to save electricity in your home

Published : 27/09/2012   |   Author: HOMEMAKERSonline

Save electricity

Saving electricity will not only save you money, but will also help with the rising power cuts, as the country needs to cut energy use by 10% for the current system to cope. Saving electricity will also give you a warm fuzzy feeling, as you will be doing your bit to conserve natural resources, i.e. coal, and reducing the impact energy consumption has on the environment, slowing down global warming.

What’s Watt?

  • Electricity is measured in units of power called watts (W)
  • 1 000 watts = 1 kilowatt (kW)
  • 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) = 1000W or 1kW working for one hour
  • Electricity is measured in kilowatt hours, and on your electricity bill each kilowatt hour is shown as one unit.

All household appliances are rated in watts or kilowatts. This will indicate how much electricity the appliance uses in a certain amount of time. For example, a 1kW kitchen appliance uses one unit of electricity an hour. A 100 watt light bulb uses one unit of electricity every 10 hours. Usually the rating is shown on the appliance, the higher the rating, the more electricity it will use.

Hungry Appliances

The first step in saving electricity is to understand how electricity is used in your home.  South African households, on average, use electricity in the following ways:

  • Space heating and cooling: 18%
  • Lighting: 17%
  • Fridges and freezers: 8%
  • Cooking: 11%
  • Consumer electronics: 5%
  • Consumer electronics on standby mode: 15%
  • Geysers: 24%
  • Miscellaneous: 2% 

Standby for more Savings

These days our homes are full of appliances that use electricity all the time, even when we aren’t there. We leave them on standby mode, waiting to be used again. You would think that an appliance on standby would only use a little electricity, but sadly we are mistaken.

In some households appliances of standby mode use the equivalent of leaving a 100W light bulb on all year

Some examples of appliances that use power, but can be switched off are; battery and phone charges, microwaves (do you really need that digital clock?), computers, TVs, DVD players, decoders, Hi-Fis, game consoles, rechargeable toothbrushes, the list can go on and on. There are some appliances that do however, need to be powered all the time such as; home security systems, remote controlled gates and garage doors, to name but a few. Make sure you select low consumption models to reduce your electricity usage.

Check the Label

Before you buy a new appliance, check the energy efficiency rating, which is rated on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). A-rated appliances are better for the environment and cost much less to run. For example, if you replace the fridge-freezer you bought in 1995 with an A-rated energy efficient one, you would save about R 680.00 a year on electricity. Some brands are A+ or A++ rated - the pinnacle of appliance energy efficiency.

Saving electricity

Here are some handy tips for reducing energy around the house

In the Kitchen:

  • Use a kettle to boil water for cooking as it is quicker and uses less energy than a pot on the hob.
  • Always match the size of the pan with the size of the stove plate.
  • Use a microwave to cook as it is quicker and cheaper, 1 oven uses the same power as 18 microwaves.
  • Only fill kettle with the amount of water that you need.
  • Cut food into smaller sections before cooking to help it cook quicker.
  • Make your toast in a toaster, not under the grill.
  • Don’t keep opening the oven door while you are cooking.
  • Always put a full load of washing in the washing machine and if the weather is good dry the clothes on the line outside. 
  • If you have a stove with heavy solid plates that retain heat, switch off the plate a few minutes before removing the pot.
  • When you open your fridge door for more than a moment, it loses cold air. Cooling it down again will take a lot of electricity. So be quick and don’t let all that cold air out.
  • Do not place hot food in the refrigerator or the deep freeze, rather allow it to cool outside first.
  • Ensure that the door seals are in good condition and don’t put the refrigerator near the oven.
  • Every time you switch on your dishwasher, it’s the same as switching on 120 CFL energy-saving light bulbs. Wait until the dishwasher is full before you switch it on. Use the economy programme wherever possible.
  • Clothes should never be placed in the tumble dryer while they are still dripping with water, so be sure to remove excess water.


  • In most homes, lighting accounts for around 17% - 20% of the electricity bill. A considerable amount of electricity can be saved by replacing your conventional tungsten bulbs with compact-florescent lamps (CFLs). They are more expensive, but CFLs last 8 times longer.
  • Turn off the lights that you don’t need on and use lighter lampshades as they wil make the most of the energy.
  • Fit lower wattage bulbs wherever possible and avoid leaving spot lights on for too long, as they use more electricity.

In the Lounge:

  • Switch the TV off when not in use, leaving it on standby mode uses up to 50% of the power the TV would use if it was actually on, the same goes for the Hi-Fi’s and computers.
  • Rather use a gas heater or a temperature-controlled oil heater for space heating and switch of the heater if you leave the room.
  • Curtains help to retain the heat, so draw them early in the evening.

In the Bathroom:

  • Shower instead of running a bath, as a shower uses much less water and therefore, less hot water and less electricity.
  • Fit low-flow shower heads, this will not only save water, but electricity too.
  • A geyser blanket will insulate your geyser not allowing the heat to escape. To save even further, insulate the water pipes and turn the geyser’s thermostat down to 60°C.
  • Fix any dripping taps, especially hot water taps.

The Swimming Pool:

  • The swimming pool filter pump is one of the largest consumers of electricity. So try to use the pump only when necessary. There are a number of timers available that can be fitted to the pump.
  • During winter you can use the pool filter even less, as algae growth is limited, so the cleaning filter can be reduced to once every few days.
  • Consider Solar Water Heating Panels and Heat pumps.


Click here
for eco-friendly products, recycling initiatives and environmentally safe services.

For intelligent heating and cooling solutions, click here.

Save electricity with Solar Energy Products.


post a comment

This post is what solves your problem. It has worked for thousands who have read it and implemented it. There’s your help. You came to the right place.

Byron Perry on 11/10/2012

send me this!
this is important informations.

tina on 14/11/2010

How to obtain geyser blanket ??

B Lee on 08/03/2011

I have not been able to find out when it is advisable to switch off the geyser. Going away for days is obvious. I have a flat attached to the house that is only occassionally used for showering. Is there any value in switching off geysers overnight - there is enough hot water for morning showers at both geysers.

graham scannell on 23/03/2011

I have not been able to find out when it is advisable to switch off the geyser. Going away for days is obvious. I have a flat attached to the house that is only occassionally used for showering. Is there any value in switching off geysers overnight - there is enough hot water for morning showers at both geysers.

graham scannell on 23/03/2011

Saving energy will save us all... Great advice, thanks

Steve on 28/04/2011

Saving energy will save us all... Great advice, thanks

Steve on 28/04/2011

Geyser blankets are available for about 125 at all builders warehouses. makro has a cheaper one but not very good.

Dominic on 30/04/2011

Please tell me if and when it is good to switch a geyser off.
My plumber tells me that geyser blankets do not conserve electricity!! Is he right??

Irene Steyn on 06/06/2011

Is it better to turn off a light each time you leave a room (e.g. bathroom, which is used often) and then turn it on again, or simply leave it on for the next person to use?

JOYCE SUTHERLAND on 08/06/2011

I installed a Geyserwise and saved 20%. ROI 9 months.

Corne on 09/06/2011

NEVER Switch your geyser off unless you are going to be away for more than just a few days, otherwise your geyser will have to preheat all the water again which uses more electricity then keeping it on permanently. The same goes for a bayonet bulb: If you switch it on, the charge up uses a lot more electricity than leaving it on.

Jared on 13/06/2011

I was in shock after reading In some households appliances of standby mode use the equivalent of leaving a 100W light bulb on all year. I decided to take a stroll through my home. I turned off everything then checked my meter anf found it still spinning out of control. Time to remove some items from this home. Thank you for this advice you just saved me a fortune.

Jay on 22/06/2011

When to switch geyser on/off. I saved R500 per month by switching geyser off during daytime, and on at night. The argument is that you heat the water up while everybody sleeps. Then during the day, you don't use any electricity for the geyser everytime someone opens a warm tap. Eventually installed Geyserwise, and saved even more.

Gert on 29/06/2011

Regarding geyser blankets - some modern (more expensive) geysers have a built-in insulation, so the external blanket will not make a huge difference.

Gert on 29/06/2011

Saving energy is very important !
In few years we will see how important is it

John Down on 13/07/2011

Visit for an affordable range of LED light bulbs. These bulbs can reduce your lighting costs up to 90%

Lightbulbmoment on 31/07/2011

Visit for affordable LED lights that can reduce electricity usage by up to 90%

lightbulbmoment on 04/08/2011

How is it possible that a account for 2 people is
R2 500-00 nobody is at
home during the day. At night only lights and the stove for cooking we dont watch TV. So its
ligths switch it of if we not there. Stove and geyser. I did went to municipality but they only tell me to go to the meter. It is more or less the same than meter. What can I do I know about 4 people in house using what ever they can. There account is half mine.

Hanlie on 27/09/2011

saving electricity is very important because it will save not only our electricity.our bills in current will be small

novy gwynneth rapada on 04/10/2011

We have a useful little download on our website at
The energy calculator (excel spreadsheet) gives you a great idea of what appliances actually cost to run on a day to day basis. May be useful for some

Duncan on 24/10/2011

electrical appliances every day now multiply I think every day more I have the need for electricity savings.

timlemkesports on 23/10/2011

What is average amount of units for a 1 person cottage, no geyser no elect stove, just lights and a fridge? can anyone help?

Gillian on 10/12/2011

These are fantastic tips and can be implimented by yourself
Thanks very much
kind regards

Danny Marnewick on 18/05/2012

Use LED lights to save not just electricity but also money and the frustration of changing a lightbulb every month or three

Trudy on 05/06/2012

Does one seriously save if you switch off geyser during the night.
And what is "geyerwise"?
How much does one save having a geyser blanket fitted?

delaine on 24/08/2012

i wish to thank you for your tips of saving electricity keep it more efficiant

velani on 25/09/2012

Great To Read Thanks

Mark on 14/09/2012

We'll be posting weekly news on how to save electricity.
We sell prepaid electricity online, but we take it serious in educating the public that we need to use it smartly.

Domenico on 03/02/2012

what is better to cook with slowcooker or stove when cooking things like beans or tripe.

babsy on 25/10/2012

a good timer is on market to save geyser load. 20/40% OF YOUR electrical bill is what you can save. let your electrician install it and set for 1hour in morning and 1hour in afternoon. hellerman tyton geysor timer.

emric electrical on 29/10/2012

Saving electricity one of the smart ever plans to reduce the possibilities of power cuts, these concepts are definitely save money also.

I was just amazed to watch out the instruction mentioned above and follow to save more and more electricity.

Smith on 30/10/2012

Since this year 2012 our electricity bill is sky high. Over R2000 each month. I even started to limit myself by washing less with the washing machine. Switching off all plugs before going to bed @ night. We are 4 adults & 3 kids. Parents did some house sitting other people's house for 2 mths. That did not even make a difference in the bill. We were told to make an arrangement. Our account is R14 000 in arrears, in spite of paying each month. This is insane.Please help! We need to know what is eating our electricity? Mrs Marais

Liesl on 07/11/2012

great post some original ideas on energy saving.
as a community we need to share these between ourselves.

matt robet on 31/12/2012

Save up to 70% on electricity (or gas, paraffin, wood) used during cooking by continuing the cooking process in a heat retention cooking bag called The Wonderbag. For R150.00 you can save hundreds of rands each month.

Fiona on 07/03/2013

I do installation in factories and houses with led downlighters with battery backups that hold for 48 hours if the power is off. You can also use the system when the power is on.

danie on 03/08/2013

Thanks for such smart electricity saving tips. Switch off all lights when you leave the house. If you leave the lights on for security, connect them to timers. If you turn a light off for even a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes the light to start up again, no matter what sort of lights you have.
Use long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs in your house.
Those ceiling-based halogen bulbs look great but use an enormous amount of electricity. if you have an energy monitor just turn on a batch and watch the energy spend rocket.

austin on 18/11/2013

Please notify me on all follow up comments and additional tips. Pat

Pat Jarvie on 29/12/2013

does a plugged in appliance use electricity when switched off?

Martin Theron on 06/03/2014

Very interesting and would share the information.

Jennifer on 21/05/2014

Should a person switch off a plug for appliances in the kitchen, ie kettle, toaster etc?

m bfrugton on 20/06/2014

Advice is very helpful

J G De Klerk on 13/07/2014

wow, this is great info. i have a slot on my community radio station whereby the show focuses on engineering as a career and now also teaching the community on how to save on electricity. this will come in very handy. thank you!

thabo on 13/02/2015

thanks for the great tips and advice can you recommend a place where i can find a few reliable generators for sale


greg on 08/02/2016

Is it viable switching my geyser off when not in use? What temperature should my geyser be set at? I am 1 person in a small flat with a shower.

felicity on 28/02/2016

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