While we don’t get snow and blizzards in South Africa, we definitely do have a cold and freezing winter that requires us to set fires, use heaters and use a lot more electricity than in the heat of summer.
And so this is why winter is a month where our electricity bills increase and our wallet size decreases. According to Eskom, the average South African household’s electricity bill increases by an estimated 30% to 40% in the cold season, and considering that the price of electricity goes up a whopping 16% to 20% annually – this means that we are seriously spending more on our cost of living during winter.
But, the good news is, you can make simple decisions that can help you stay snug without breaking the bank.
1. Cut out droughts where you can
- Block gaps and air leaks in windows and doors to cut out droughts. Pop into your hardware store and buy a 10mm strip of foam and fit it to the top of windows, lining door and window frames.
- Seal up your fireplace when you’re not using it. A large amount of heat can escape through the chimney, so close it up with a chimney plate or protector. You could also just place a blanket or a piece of board in front of the fire pit.
2. Heat your house without electricity
- Hang thick curtains or roller blinds over windows to act as a “blanket” for your house. Alternatively, line your curtains with an extra padded layer or cut out a large square of foam or quilt backing fabric to place behind blinds.
- Throw down carpets or rugs on bare floors. If you already have flimsy, thin mats, bolster them up with some underfelt.
- Glaze your windows. This is costly, but it is an investment. If you want to simulate the effect, purchase thick plastic sheeting from a hardware store and stick it to the inside of your panes (not pretty, but effective).
- Insulate your ceiling if it hasn’t been done already. Again, this is costly, but it is a long-term investment.
- Insulate your wooden floors as well. These can be lined with plastic so that cold air doesn’t creep up from under the house.
3. Tips for the most energy-efficient heating options
- Close doors to any unoccupied rooms while you have a heater on.
- Hang your washing up inside - this picks up the humidity level in the house and raises the temperature significantly.
- Shower with the door open. Doing this serves the same purpose as hanging your washing inside – it acts as a natural humidifier.
- Stock up on warm beverages to heat yourself up from the inside.
- Invest in an eiderdown duvet and you will not need an all-night heater.
- Keep your curtains open wide and let the sunlight act as a natural heater.
What DIY ways do you use during winter? Let us know on Facebook!
Source: Hello House, Cape Town Magazine