Budget-friendly hacks to lower your energy consumption

Replace your incandescent lights with LEDs instead because they consume ten times less energy. Picture: Reuters

Replace your incandescent lights with LEDs instead because they consume ten times less energy. Picture: Reuters

Published Apr 20, 2023


It is safe to predict that load shedding will continue as winter approaches - that’s just an inconvenient truth at this point.

A solar energy system or, at the very least, an inverter looks like the best option for those that can afford it to keep the lights on.

However, using normal appliances can exhaust the electricity in less time than it takes to make toast, even if your roof is covered with solar panels that are stacked end to end.

A toaster, a hair dryer, and a tumble dryer are just a few examples of appliances that some solar systems can't even provide enough power to run.

So, what should you do to play your part? Regardless of whether they have a backup power system, Trevor Brewer, director of Solutions for Environmental Comfort (Solenco), advises consumers to consider energy-efficient appliances and alternatives.

Brewer adds, in a statement, that it is critical to know how much energy your appliances use, how much that energy costs, and where you can save because winter is coming, load shedding is still here, and living expenses are growing.

Brewer suggests cutting back on energy consumption in the following low-tech areas:


Replace your incandescent lights with LEDs instead, because they consume ten times less energy.

Rechargeable light bulbs are also available; they have been very popular since the start of almost perpetual load shedding.

Temperature regulation

In cooler months, if you still love using an air conditioner to regulate the temperature and airflow, keep in mind that it's nearly hard to operate these devices on backup power.

They consume on average 150 times more energy than fans, so if you want to maintain a healthy air flow, look for fans with a 10 to 15 Watt energy consumption range, such as a 1056 Pedestal Air Circulator, which uses only 9 Watts and is inverter-friendly for even the smallest 500kVa batteries.

Another excellent method for efficiently distributing and circulating warm air is to use an air circulator, explains Brewer.

In order to keep your home warm this winter, regardless of rolling blackouts, choose a gas heater and air circulator combo rather than using an air conditioner to keep your family cosy.


A tumble dryer consumes 3,150W of electricity on average per load, more than twice as much energy as a washing machine, which is enough to run a TV nonstop for 30 hours.

Additionally, it consumes 20 times as much energy as a dehumidifier, which can dry clothes even in cool, damp conditions by sucking up extra moisture from the air in your house or laundry room.

To remove extra odours, dust, pet dander, and even viruses from the air, Brewer suggests looking for a dehumidifier with a built-in high-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filter, especially during the winter when your windows and doors are kept closed.

A HEPA filter, sometimes known as high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter, is a standard for air filters' efficiency.

Filters that adhere to the HEPA standard have to perform at a specified level of efficiency. Brewer suggests doing your research so that your appliances are compliant.

On the national grid, drying a load of laundry in a tumble dryer will cost about R8.06 (R2.56 per kWh).

Additionally, operating a tumble dryer on a battery- or solar-powered inverter will probably consume the majority of the power, which might mean that your costly investment in alternative energy won't be enough to power your entire home when you need it most, explains Brewer.

Energy-efficient products are the best thing since sliced bread, but if you want to toast that slice of bread, they must be thought of in parallel with solar energy, Brewer assets.

Although alternative sources of power are becoming necessary rather than just nice to have, it is clear that they cannot be viewed in isolation.

The best 'power pair' is alternative energy and energy-efficient appliances because investing in a backup power supply is expensive and living costs are always rising.