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Hints & Tips

Beware of Turning Your Geyser Off

While electricity provider Eskom has encouraged people to switch off their electric Geysers overnight in order to save electricity, Plumbers warn that leaving them off could damage the hot water pipes and even cause the Geyser to burst.

Turning off a Geyser at night to save electricity could result in burst water pipes and damage to the welding in these pipes say Plumbing groups.

Kwikhot’s General Manager of the service department, Wietz van Lelyveld, warns that the pipes inside the Geyser expand when they are filled with hot water but after five hours or longer without electricity, cold water enters the pipe and the metal contracts.

This, he says, can lead to welding damage over time and may result in a Geyser bursting.

Ryan Moore, Managing Director of Roto Rooter, says that while a Geyser can be switched off during the peak demand period, it should be switched on before 10h00 to prevent damage to the Geyser.

He says that Eskom used to insist that Geysers were fitted with Ripple Relays so that these could be remotely controlled during peak demand, but the utility had phased these out about ten years ago.

Moore confirmed that the company installs more replacement Geysers over the winter period, when customers are told to save energy by turning off their Geysers, without realizing that they can be causing the damage.

Van Lelyveld and Moore both say that the best way of saving money on electricity, is to install a Solar Water Heater and, while the initial investment is relatively high, the savings are significant and the maintenance costs are minimal.

Courtesy: Property24

Ways to Save Electricity Usage and Expenses

The municipality has increased their municipal tariffs on all their services i.e. Rates, Refuse, Sewerage, Water etc. with effect from.
With this increase, you will notice over the next few months (in accordance with your meter reading dates) that your consumption charges will increase significantly. We therefore urge you to be extra cautious on the amount of electricity and water you consume. Below we have included a few energy saving tips.

1. Reduce the temperature of your Geyser to ± 55 degrees Celsius, so that the water is not scalding hot when it comes out of the tap. Then you don’t need to add so much cold water when you shower or do the dishes.
2. Remember to keep the lid on all pots when you cook, to conserve heat and energy. The size of the pot should always match the size of the stove plate. This can save you up to 25% on the electricity you use while cooking.
3. Close the windows and doors when the heater is on, to contain and conserve heat and energy.
4. Close the door – immediately – every time you take things out of the Fridge and also check that it seals properly.
5. Soak beans, samp and other related dry food over night. This will save time, money and several hours of cooking.
6. Try to boil only the water you need instead of boiling a full pot or kettle every time.
7. Insulate your Geyser by wrapping newspapers, old blankets or other insulating materials around it and the water pipes.
8. Switch off lights, fans, computers and other energy-consuming appliances when you leave the room.
9. Always try to use appropriate cooking utensils when cooking; for example, use pots and pans with a flat and thick bottom. These consume up to 50% less energy. Note that electric stoves consume a lot of electricity. so use the plates and oven as little as possible. Also consider investing in a gas stove.
10. Use the right energy for the right purposes; for example, use heaters for space heating rather than hotplates, and use an electrical kettle for water heating rather than an ordinary pot on the stove. You will use about 50% less electricity.
Note: Electricity is good for electronic devices, but gas is more efficient for heating and cooking.
11. Enjoy a comfortable indoor climate both summer and winder by ventilating your room properly on a daily basis. Remember to switch off your heater, fan or air conditioner while ventilating the room.
12. Reduce your electricity account by skipping the washing machine’s pre-wash cycle, if your clothes are not particularly dirty. This will use up to 20% less electricity. Save water and electricity by washing your bed linen at 60 degrees Celsius instead of 90 degrees. It will still come out clean!
13. Reduce the temperature on the heater from full heat to a comfortable level.
14. Turn off all stand-by modes every time you leave the house and before going to bed.
15. Use energy-saving light bulbs. They last much longer and use less electricity, saving you money in the long run.
16. Reduce your electricity bill by doing all your ironing at the same time.
17. Check your electricity or gas meter at regular intervals and take a keen interest in your energy consumption level.
It’s the right thing to do !!!

WATER WASTERS – Hints on how to avoid unnecessary high water bills.

If you live in a sectional title scheme, you can give yourself a pat on the back. By choosing to live at a higher density, nine times out of ten you waste far less water per person than you average home in the suburbs. Why? Because suburban gardens consume as much as 40% to 60% of all the water used in a home. This is treated, drinkable water that costs ratepayers money to purify. We need to think carefully about using it to water the garden.
Owners with gardens (or the scheme’s communal maintenance staff) can be more efficient by watering during the coolest part of the day, using a drip irrigation system, composting regularly and adding mulch to the garden beds. Where a hosepipe is used to water a garden, a controlling device, such as a sprayer, should be attached to the hose end.

Some indigenous plants do not require watering at all, except during the plant’s establishment. The more “water wise” owners make their gardens from the start, the easier and cheaper it will be to keep them beautiful in the long run. Chat to your local nursery salesperson to find out which plants in your area are the most water wise.

If your scheme has a lawn, it is advisable to replace the more common Kikuyu grass with the drought-resistant Buffalo grass. This grass requires half the amount of water and is very low maintenance. The lawns at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town (which consist of indigenous grass species) are only watered once a week at night for three months of the year, in summer. Otherwise these lawns rely on rain to survive and they manage exceptionally well.

The Other Big Water Wasters– TOILETS

The amount of water used by your toilet can easily be reduced with good maintenance and simple water-saving initiatives. Older toilet cisterns with a siphon flushing system hold between 9 litres and 12 litres of water. Modern toilet cisterns hold about 6 litres of water. Converting your toilet to a multi-flush (which flushes for as long as the handle is held down) or dual-flush system (long and short flush) can result in savings of up to 20% on you water bill. You can also reduce your cistern volume by placing a bottle or bag that displaces water into your cistern.
Dual Flush: to install a dual-flush system, a new dual-flush toilet cistern must be installed. This costs about R1500 for the entire system. Dual flush systems require higher levels of maintenance than the multi-flush system.

Multi Flush (interruptible flush): This is a simple system that lets you control the flush volume. As soon as you let go of the toilet handle, it will stop flushing. This can save you more than 50% of your flushing volume. An existing toilet can be retrofitted with a multi-flush system. The approximate cost is between R60 and R450.

Testing for Toilet Leaks

A leaking toilet can waste up to 100 000 litres of water in one year. These leaks raise your water consumption, waste a huge amount of water and end up pushing you into a higher water tariff bracket.
Here are three simple tests to help you find out if your toilet is leaking. Be sure to wait 20 minutes before you do these tests if you have just flushed the toilet.

Listen for water trickling into the toilet bowl.

Press a piece of toilet paper against back surface of the bowl. If it gets wet, you probably have a leak.

Put 15 drops of food colouring into the toilet cistern. If the water in the bowl colours after 15 minutes, there is a leak.

If any of these three tests are positive, it is advisable to contact a qualified plumber to inspect your cistern further and take the appropriate steps to fix the leak.

*See “Other Services” on our web page for Maintenance and Plumbing assistance.

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