Energy efficient upgrades for home solar
Article by: Karabo Motsoai
Improve your home 4 Sep 2023

Energy efficiency upgrades to make before going solar

Investing in solar power is a great move for any household looking to reduce their electricity usage. However, it is important to look closely at your home’s electricity usage for improvements, because this directly affects the size of solar system your household will need. Lowering your electricity demand will also ensure your solar system’s battery lasts you through loadshedding.

The first step is to identify appliances that take up a lot of electricity in your home. This will help you understand which appliances need to be changed before you go solar. It will also help you to address wastage and any areas with issues that need fixing before you purchase your solar system.

Identifying all the high demand appliances in your home will help you to be more careful on how often to use them or change them for more efficient ones. Our article on how much electricity your appliances use   is a great resource to understand the electrical consumption of these appliances and even goes further to point how much they cost you per hour.

There are certain appliances within the home such as the geyser, kettle, hair dryer and stove, to name a few, which are known to draw a lot of electricity. Your average entry-level kettle, as an example, uses 3 kilowatts per hour to run. So, if you want to run multiple kettles and use other high electricity consuming appliances at the same time, you’ll need to get a much bigger solar system which will come with a higher price tag.

Identifying these high-demand appliances and upgrading them to more energy-efficient options will save you money, give your solar system room to grow as your demand increases, and ensure your batteries aren’t emptied 5 minutes into loadshedding.

How to improve your home's energy efficiency 

Here are some high priority areas to address to make your home more energy efficient.

  • Change your stove and geyser to gas: Using gas will lighten the load on your solar system and is surprisingly affordable for direct heating. Gas products are also known to have a longer lifespan than conventional electric appliances.
  • Upgrade your fridge, kettle and iron: These essential appliances consume a lot of power. Choosing to invest in more energy-efficient models will make a huge difference to your electricity usage.
  • Use energy efficient bulbs: The old-style bulbs are less efficient and don’t last as long as the new LED light bulbs which are designed to save you electricity.
  • Install ceiling fans: Even though they use electricity, they are far more economical on your electricity bill than air conditioners and can be a great addition to the home.
  • Change your pool pump: Often forgotten, these usually use large electric motors and are amongst the top electricity consumers in the home. A high efficiency pump will help you keep your swimming pool in good condition without driving up your electricity bill.
  • Invest in programmable timers: It is easy to forget to switch off things like the air conditioner, lights in unoccupied rooms or the geyser. This small device can help you stay organised and avoid running your electricity bill too high.

Going solar is not just about installing the solar system and filling your roof with solar panels, it is also about using the stored energy form your solar system wisely by reducing your home’s electricity demand. By implementing these changes, you can minimise the size and the costs of your solar system. This will benefit you and your family greatly and will guarantee uninterrupted access to electricity for many years to come.

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