08/06/2014. Reseachers discovered that Tshwane has safe drinking water. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Durban - How can the man in the street save money?

Duncan Guy visited the East Coast Radio House and Garden Show in search of investments to cut costs in the home.

He found three items to help cut electricity, water and food bills.

The show, at the Durban Exhibition Centre, ends on Sunday.


Electricity: People wrap hot water bottles in woollen envelopes and teapots in tea cosies, so why not wrap a geyser up in a blanket?

A company called Global Specialised Systems is exhibiting its geyser package kit that contains three “blankets”, all packed in a large plastic bag.

Durban University of Technology photography student Sizwe Gumede, who was manning the stand at the show, assured me that when wrapped around a geyser and the pipes leading to it, these blankets could cut household electricity used on one’s geyser by half.

The main wrapping “keeps the heat in the geyser”, said Gumede and is made from polystyrene and glass. Another, made from polystyrene and fibreglass prevents pipes from freezing.

A third “blanket” is one made from foil to add an extra layer to the geyser wrapping, should the device be outdoors and exposed.

“You can switch off your geyser and in six hours it will still be warm, or hot,” promised Gumede.

The geyser package retails at the show for R495 on a special. In the big wide world it goes for between R550 and R600.


Water: In the bush of Zambia, life is all about making do with the few things that are available.

That’s when I learnt about “leg-ins”: strips of rubber tubing that are the universal problem solver.

One can hold the shattered casing of a torch together using “leg-ins”; attach the broken rails of the piping supporting a bakkie’s canvas canopy or seal a leak in a pipe.

Brigitte Bessinger, from Fox and Co demonstrated how a tape called “stretch and seal” performs the latter function but no doubt with more efficiency and easier to apply.

It works like a plaster and once stretched and rolled around a pipe, sets as a rubber seal.

“You can definitely save on your water bill by plugging up a leak,” she said.

Whether one calls a plumber to complete the job of fixing the leaking pipe, or leaves it fixed with stretch and seal, is “up to you”.

“It’s water resistant, acid resistant, ultraviolet resistant,” she added.

Five metres of “stretch and seal”, which can expand to 15m, sells for R100.


Food: If you buy two packets of fresh herbs a week at R10 each, every week, your annual herb budget will come to R1 040.

Gaby Gohring from Growing Stacks has been telling people at the House and Garden Show that establishing a herb garden in star-shaped pots that stack upon one another is a more economical option.


What’s clever about its design is that each pot has a little reservoir beneath it, separated from the soil to save the roots from rotting but close enough to keep the soil moist.

Water poured over the top, entering the top stack’s reservoir, also drains down to the reservoirs of the stacks below it.

“It doesn’t only have to be herbs,” said Gohring.

“You can grow beetroot, spinach and brinjals in these stacks, too.”

The basic set, with three stacks costs R675. Each stack thereafter costs R225.