While you’re away this December, the last thing on your mind should be a hefty energy bill waiting for you when you get back home.
As electricity prices continue to soar and an increasing number of South Africans turn to solar power to resolve their woes, the solar specialists at Alumo Energy have identified some of the average homeowner’s biggest energy wasters.
“Holidays away are reserved for relaxing and forgetting about your worries back home. That’s hard to do when you suddenly remember that you’ve left your energy-hungry appliances on at home,” says Rein Snoeck Henkemans, CEO of Alumo Energy.
“But whether you’re going on vacation or resting up at home, there are a few simple steps you can take to cut back and save on energy this holiday season.”
Expert energy-saving tips
The first step is to consider the size and age of your appliances. For example, according to the Clean Energy Resources Teams organisation, a twenty-year-old refrigerator uses roughly four times more electricity than a modern, similarly sized energy-saving model.
“Likewise, oversized appliances such as family-sized washing machines or refrigerators in a one- or two-person household waste a lot of energy. Buying newer and right-sized appliances will result in a net-saving over the long-term,” says Snoeck Henkemans.
Next, at around R2.55 per kWh, a device without an informational display that is left on standby mode uses approximately R10 worth of wasted energy every day. Over a 10-day holiday period, that amounts to R100 in waste per appliance.
“A couple of rands here and there don’t seem like that much. But when you consider how many of these appliances you leave on, and multiply that by the days that you are away, you could be wasting thousands of rands. Making small, but smart changes now such as switching your devices off completely could save you a significant amount of money.”
Finally, installing solar is an enormous energy cost-saver in the long run, and will help you to be less reliant on an undependable national energy grid, he emphasises.
“Solar is a far more cost-effective option for keeping the lights on while you’re at home or away on a well-deserved vacation. As an added benefit, it can also considerably increase the value of your property at the same time.”
He notes that the upfront costs of installing solar remains a concern for many homeowners, but adds that Alumo Energy’s innovative financing options such as its rent-with-the-option-to-own system makes the switch very affordable.
The company is also an established solar provider accredited by First National Bank, enabling households to finance the cost of their solar installations through their mortgage.
Quick power-saving holiday checklist:
For convenience, Snoeck Henkemans offers a quick and easy checklist to save energy and money this festive season:
- Unplug non-essential appliances and gadgets – Known as a ‘phantom load’, devices that are switched off but not physically unplugged still draw some energy.
- Install timers and sensors– Certain devices cannot be left off, but should also not be left running all day. Installing day/night sensors or timers on important lights will ensure that your home is well lit at night while saving on electricity during the day.
- Turn off geysers– A 200 litre geyser consumes roughly 14kWh per day in an average household. Over a ten-day period, that amounts to 140kWh and roughly R357.
- Turn off pool pumps– At around 1 kWh per hour, forgetting to switch off the pool pump before a 10-day break could result in approximately R612 in electricity wastage.
- Replace lights left on for security purposes, to LED globes.
Switch to solar– Installing the right solar system in your home will considerably lower your energy bill every month and can support any appliances you might leave on at essentially no extra cost.