We might have passed the winter solstice, but some of our coldest days could still be to come. And, with Eskom’s tariff increase coming into play from July, consumers could be spending up to 14.6% more on the monthly electricity bill. With this in mind, we’re looking at affordable, energy-saving ways to keep warm this season. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Bring out the blankets
On a chilly winter evening, nothing beats cuddling up on the couch under a heap of cosy blankets. To really ramp up the heat, go for wool, fleece or down fabrics. These materials are said to provide the best insulation with fibres that effectively trap warmth. Hot water bottles are also an affordable, energy-saving option.
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Of course, there’s always the old faithful electric blanket for warming up your bed. If you opt for an electric blanket, switch it on for an hour or two before you get into bed. Then, when you actually go to sleep, turn it off. It will have done the job of warming the bed, and you’ll save on the electricity bill.
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Invest in winter curtains
To benefit from as much natural light and heat as possible in winter, leave the shades open during the day. Then, when dusk falls, draw the curtains to retain the heat. Heavy winter curtains will help insulate the house and prevent pesky draughts from getting through; they’ll also prevent rooms from losing heat through the windows. While proper winter curtains can be pricey, you could always line them yourself with a durable lining.
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Rather than spending money on energy-sapping infra-red or oil heaters (that will be relegated to a storeroom in a few months) invest in a year-round product that’s easy on the electricity bill, an energy-efficient air conditioner. The LG Artcool air conditioner, for example, uses Dual Inverter Compressor technology to heat or cool a room 40% faster, providing up to 70% energy savings. It’s an energy-efficient heating solution, perfect for a ‘greener’ home.
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If an air conditioner isn’t for you, then look out for an energy-efficient gas heater. If you’re concerned about conserving energy and keeping your electricity bill low then a gas heater may be a better choice for your home. Gas is a relatively inexpensive form of energy and is also kinder to the environment than electricity, generating around one-third of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Not sure which heater to buy? Check out our buyer’s guide to choosing a heater this winter.
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Cover the floors
A winter luxury is being able to kick off your shoes and walk barefoot on toasty floors. But, with a cost of around R135 a month for three hours of underfloor heating a day (minus the actual installation fee), it’s a luxury many of us will go without. To avoid walking on icy floors, simply cover them with rugs or mats. In the long run, these are much easier on the wallet, and they’ll help cut down on electricity. We lose as much as 10% of our home’s heat through the floors, so covering them is an easy way to boost insulation.
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Close off extra rooms
To prevent cold air from travelling through the house, close off any rooms you don’t often use. Any heat generated in the areas of the house where you do spend time will also be more contained.
We’re in for a few more icy months, so grit your teeth and consider these energy-saving alternatives to traditional heating. Combining these tips should help keep your home warm this winter, without breaking the bank.