As Covid-19 continues to change people’s daily schedules, many employers are enforcing working remotely meaning many people will find themselves working from home for the foreseeable future.
Staying home is critical to flattening the Covid-19 curve, but it doesn’t have to result in a huge increase to your energy bill, notes Eskom.
The power utility has been forced to implement load-shedding for the past week as the country’s power system comes under increased strain due to failing generation units, and cold weather.
Eskom has provided four tips to help consumers to keep their energy costs down whilst working from home:
- Take advantage of natural light
Set up for the day in a spot with plenty of natural light. Not only will this save you from having to turn on additional lights, but it can also help your productivity.
Natural light is a proven mood-booster. If you do need more light, try to use a small energy efficient, task lamp to illuminate a smaller area rather than broad overhead lighting, which will use more energy. In the winter time, open the curtains to let the warm sunlight in.
- Use smart power strips to reduce standby electricity usage
Appliances or electronics that you keep plugged in all the time, still use a small amount of electricity. Your home office, with all its devices, can be a big culprit – think your computer, your monitor, your printer. When these appliances and electronics draw a small amount of energy all the time, they can add up on your electricity bill.
The simple solution? Remember to unplug all those vampire power sources when you finish work for the day or plug them into a smart power strip. Smart power strips turn off energy flow to devices on standby mode so that those devices don’t keep draining electricity.
Research into the impact of standby power on the residential sector energy use has highlighted the mounting magnitude of ‘power leaking’ in the South African environment.
To contain these losses, Regulations introduced in 2014 (SANS 941, VC 9008) require electrical and electronic apparatus in passive standby mode to have power consumption not exceeding 1 Watt.
- Make your electricity bill more predictable
Working remotely can have a big impact on your electricity bill. When working from home you will be using more electricity than normal and at times that you wouldn’t usually be plugged in.
You are also probably running your heater or air-conditioning system during the winter days to stay comfortable, cooking more meals at home, and using electronic devices more to stay in touch with friends, family, and co-workers.
Keeping warm in winter
A factor to consider when heating your home is insulation, how insulated is your home? An insulated room requires 51% less energy than an uninsulated room. Insulating your home’s ceiling is the simplest and most effective way to prevent the warm air generated by the heaters from escaping. It’s important to consider your needs, your room, your budget and your energy costs when deciding how to heat up your home.
For example an air conditioner with a heating cycle can be very effective and cost efficient. Typically, an air conditioner would use about half the power of an electric heater. However as the ambient temperature drops below 5ºC the efficiency of the air conditioner would drop as there is not enough heat to be absorbed from the ambient air.
A warm cuppa
Warm your insides with a cup of delicious hot chocolate or a steaming cup of coffee. When preparing your cup of warm happiness, boil only enough water for the number of cups of hot drinks you are making and use only the electricity you need.
Try using energy-efficient appliances when cooking. Microwaves are best for preparing your favourite small-volume winter meals, while slow cookers and electrical pressure cookers are the best option for stews or oxtail. Alternatively, you can install an induction stove which is compatible with stainless steel, cast iron and enamel cookware.
With the current COVID-19 requirement to wash hands more frequently, try to avoid using hot water. Each time you turn on a hot water tap, the geyser has to heat up the water that rushes in to replace what has been used. There is usually quite some distance between the geyser and hot water taps in homes. So, by the time you have finished washing your hands, the hot water hasn’t even reached the tap. This water is left cooling in the pipes!
- Reduce consumption during evening peak period (5pm to 9pm)
Please assist to effectively manage the national electricity system by switching off all unnecessary lighting and your geyser during evening peak period.
Operate you pool pump and other major white appliances before or after evening peak period. Remember to wait until you have full load when using the dish washer, washing machine and tumble dryer.