How Can You Keep A Home Warm Without Higher Electricity Bill?
Here's how to keep your home warm when the cold front hits - without increasing your electricity bill.
The first cold front is on the way for many regions in South Africa and that means temperatures will drop and we will all be trying to stay warm at home. But what is just as important in these times of load-shedding is how to stay warm without using too much electricity and having to pay a fortune every month for electricity costs.
The global pandemic has made many of us stay at home more than we used to and this is going to be even more relevant when we spend more time in our homes. If you battle to keep your home warm in winter or when a cold front hits, we have some tips to help you out.
Creator: Wako Megumi | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto;
Keep the power on
Load-shedding is a fact of life and it isn't going to go away soon and could get worse. If every home in South Africa switches on a heater or turns the air conditioner onto a warm setting when the temperature drops, you can guarantee that we will be facing regular load-shedding so that the national supplier can meet the load. That's not something we want to happen and we don't want to be without power during a cold front so it is important that everyone 'do their bit' to prevent overloading the national power grid.
Keep energy usage to a minimum
Did you know that heating and cooling a home can account for up to 40% of your monthly electricity bill? That not including household appliances and a hot water geyser. But there are a few simple changes you can make that will keep your monthly electricity bill down during the winter months.
Blocking out draughts from under a door is a great way to keep a home warm.
1. Keep cold draughts out
Cold draughts that enter the home under an exterior door or window frames can so easily be blocked off. For exterior doors, the simple solution is to fit a draught excluder to these doors, or you can make a simple draught excluder using a pool noodle or scraps of fabric wrapped in plain or patterned fabric. And not just from an exterior door, you can also make a draught excluder for any door that allows in draughts.
Draughts around window frames are another major culprit when struggling to keep a house warm. Use rubber insulation that you can buy at Builders or any hardware store and fit this around suspect frames. Once all draughts have been covered or blocked off your home will be able to keep heat in.
Another sneaky suspect for draughts in the home is a fireplace and you should look at blocking off an open fireplace with a heat shield as a temporary measure or have it permanently closed off if you never use the fireplace.
2. Is your ceiling insulation doing what it should?
Ceiling or attic insulation is one of the best ways to insulate a home during hot or cold weather, the problem is that many homeowners have installed do it yourself insulation and it might not be doing the job it is supposed to do. If you have ceiling insulation that doesn't seem to be making any difference, rather get a specialist supplier to come in and re-do the installation so that you know it works as it should.
If you don't already have ceiling or attic insulation, this should be something you give serious thought to. With summers getting hotter and cold fronts popping up in winter, proper insulation will ensure you don't need to switch on to maintain the temperature inside the home.
3. Set up for cosy and comfortable
Much as we would all like to heat the entire house, it makes more sense to keep to a room-by-room scenario. Dedicate one room where the family can gather during the colder months of the year and kit this room out with rugs on the floor, heavy curtains on windows, throws or blankets and a small energy-efficient heater that will keep the room warm. Make sure to keep the door closed to keep heat in.
4. Be energy smart
There are plenty of ways to be smart at home when it's cold outside and it includes things such as sharing coffee breaks. Did you know that the average kettle uses 1800 watts to boil water? Sharing coffee breaks means cutting down on using the kettle and ultimately saving money on your electricity bill.
Might seem silly, but it's simple things that we do every day that can make a difference:
- - Dress warmly
- - Wear slippers to keep your feet warm
- - Put down rugs if your home is tiled
- - Use a hot water bottle rather than an electric blanket
- - Cut down bathing time spent in the bathtub
- - Keep doors and windows closed**
- - Only use energy-efficient rated heaters
**If you use gas heaters to heat the home, you need to leave a window cracked open a little bit to allow air circulation to flow through the room.