Weatherization (also commonly known as weatherproofing) can make your home more comfortable while lowering your electricity usage and costs this winter. Follow the eight easy steps below to prepare your home for the coming winter.
1. Perform an energy audit:
An energy audit will help you to find out where you’re wasting energy. It involves analyzing where you use energy and how efficiently you’re using it. Some findings common in energy audits are drafty windows or fireplaces, energy loss due to poor insulation and inefficient appliances. These guides: City of Cape Town, Energy Savers and Sustainable.gov are good starting points.
Keep the warm air in and the cold air out this winter with effective insulation. According to Eskom, “As much as 50% of heat losses in a house can be attributed to a lack of ceilings and ceiling insulation.” As an added bonus – insulation will also help to keep your home cooler in the summer.
3. Weather stripping:
Did you identify drafty windows or doors during your energy audit? Use weather stripping and draft stoppers to combat heat loss. Weather stripping can be done using specific weather stripping materials or with caulk or silicone.
Use the curtains in your home to make the most of the heating power of the sun. Open curtains to allow sun in and then close promptly after the sun has set or moved – trapping more of the most eco-friendly, (and free!) heat available. Upgrading to thick curtains (especially on large windows) will increase the efficiency of this tactic.
Space or zone heating is an effective and energy efficient way to make your home warmer and more comfortable during the winter. Infrared heaters are a highly efficient method of zone heating because they heat objects instead of the ambient air temperature. This provides a targeted, focused, near-instant heat that can be used as needed and prevents wasting electricity heating unused areas. Eskom calls infrared heating “…more electricity efficient than other space heating systems” .
6. Mind Your Geyser:
Water heating can account for 30 – 40% of your home’s total electricity cost . The three tactics below can help you to make a significant dent in your water heating electricity cost and usage.
A hot cup of tea, coffee or cocoa is always helpful for beating a winter chill. However, your kettle may be using more electricity that you think. Ensuring that you heat only the amount of water you need helps to save electricity.
To ensure that the above measures are decreasing your electricity use and to escape any surprises on your monthly electricity bill, consider investing in an energy monitor. If you use pre-paid electricity, you can skip the monitor altogether – simply record your electricity balance at the same time each day or week to monitor usage.
Source: The Eco Heat Blog
Energy saving is probably as important as water saving; the two are interlinked. If you save energy you’ll be saving water somewhere down the line and vice versa. Water usage should be monitored in a similar fashion to energy monitoring; saving water will save you money and will help you to live sustainably. Eskom has raised its tariffs drastically in recent years but that does not necessary guarantee a reliable electricity supply. Water boards across South Africa have raised or will be raising the price of water in the near future too. As this precious resource becomes scarcer and the demand increases, water shortages are inevitable. Towns such as White River in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, are growing beyond the available water supply. To prevent being caught in a helpless situation, Water Rhapsody recommends that greywater recycling systems and rainwater harvesting systems (with water storage tanks) should become a priority when money becomes available for home improvement (or when building a new house). If your budget is on the low side, consider installing a water saving toilet flushing system, such as the Multi-Flush.Multi-Flush systems retrofit into existing toilet cisterns and these alone can save you up to 20% of your water bills. See our product demo for more information. The investment on our water systems amortizes fairly quickly and the benefits speak for themselves.