Power saving tips for you and your staff

"Load shedding" has become one of South Africa’s most commonly used phrases. It wasn't that long ago that most people didn't even know what it meant.

Load shedding has a wide impact on the country’s economy and the ability for industry to produce at full capacity. On a smaller scale, it affects people at the very centre of their lives – at home, work and on the roads. All sectors of the economy are affected at times of load shedding, but the accommodation and hospitality industry is particularly hard hit – especially the small business owners who run guest houses, bed and breakfasts and the like.

The sheer unpredictability of the power outages frustrates establishment owners, and in particular when they strike around breakfast time, and many owners are resorting to buying generators and other alternative sources of heat and energy. Yet there is a flip side to this coin. Eskom has stated that if South Africans can lower their consumption of electricity, there will possibly be less power outages in the future. Let’s go out on a limb here and say that, in fact, accommodation establishments and the hospitality industry in general is a very power hungry one, and may be partly responsible for some of the demand placed on South Africa’s electricity grid.

The obvious step then is for establishments to try and lower their consumption of electricity. Establishment owners will be fully aware of the cost of their electricity usage as they have to pay the monthly utility bill, but it is often the staff that could be informed and educated about power saving and how it would not only help lower the bills, but also assist in dropping the peak off Eskom’s electrical supply.

Also, it would be a responsible move to inform your guests that they should use the facilities prudently and that air conditioners, televisions, radios and the like should be switched off when they leave their rooms. The following tips are sourced from Eskom’s web page and show how much electricity electrical appliances use and how it is possible, by readjusting your old habits, to save money and lessen the load on Eskom. It has become common lately for people to bash Eskom and the government, but maybe if we hold up our end of the bargain; they may just deliver on their promises!

Power Saving Tips for your staff


Your kitchen staff will usually spend the majority of their working day in the kitchen, and working mainly with electrical appliances. Here are few common kitchen appliances, and how using them correctly and sparingly could help lessen the load. All these helpful tips are sourced from Eskom’s website.


  • Dishwasher energy consumption can be reduced by turning off the dishwasher after the final rinse and before the drying cycle. The clean dishes can then be wiped with a dry cloth.
  • Fill the dishwasher completely before operating. Partial loads waste electricity and water.
  • Short wash cycles, rinse-only cycles, mid-cycle turn-off, and other features are designed for energy conservation as well as convenience.
  • Connect your dishwasher to a cold water supply unless otherwise directed. Normally only one wash and one final rinse cycle requires hot water which is heated by an element in the dishwasher.
  • The dishwasher filters must be kept clear of debris. A blocked filter reduces efficiency and wastes energy.
  • Proper loading is important for the dishwasher to work efficiently. Refrigerator:
  • Choose a refrigerator of a size based on the needs of your establishment – a refrigerator operates at peak efficiency when filled.
  • Do not overload your fridge, excessive products in your fridge will lower the quality of the food and use more electricity – as much as 10-20% more for each extra product.
  • Do not set freezing temperatures lower than necessary, it wastes as much electricity as excessive heat.
  • Thick frost on chilling panels reduces cooling ability. If you do not have a frost-free model, defrost your refrigerator when frost is between 0.6 to 1.3 cm thick.
  • Do not open your refrigerator door needlessly. By getting into the habit of removing and replacing several articles at once, you will reduce the loss of cold air.
  • Let hot foods cool down before placing them in the refrigerator. (To prevent bacterial growth allow about 20 minutes standing time).
  • Be sure the seal around your refrigerator door is intact. (Close the door on a piece of paper: if you can pull the paper out easily, the seal should be replaced).
  • Remove all heavy wrapping from food before storing it in the refrigerator.
  • Cover all liquids stored in the refrigerator (especially frost-free models).
  • Foods should be placed slightly apart on refrigerator shelves to allow the cooling air to circulate.
  • Exposed condenser coils/panels (usually at the back of the unit) MUST be kept clean and dust free. When cleaning you must be careful not to damage the panels.
  • Do not place the refrigerator near the stove or against an uninsulated wall that faces the sun.
  • Allow adequate space around the refrigerator for free air circulation. The air carries heat away from the fridge – if air can not circulate, the fridge can not work properly.
  • Switch on the energy saving switch, if one is fitted to the refrigerator.


  • Freezers and refrigerators operate most efficiently when filled to the capacity recommended by the manufacturers.
  • Never forget that only one-tenth of a freezer’s capacity should be used for freezing of fresh food at any one time. The freezer must work harder to remove heat, and uses more power. For example, a freezer with a capacity of 28 litres will store 12.5 to 15 kg of frozen food and will freeze about 1.5 kg of fresh food at a time.
  • Food to be frozen should be placed in contact with those parts of the freezer that contain the refrigerant tubes, usually the sides of chest models.
  • Defrosting of chest type freezers should be done once or twice a year. For upright models, defrosting should be done two or three times a year. NEVER allow frost build up to exceed 0.6 to 1.3 cm.
  • By keeping a list of the location of foods in the freezers, the freezer can be kept open for a minimum of time, preventing the loss of cold air.
  • The freezer should be kept as full as possible to prevent heavy icing.
  • On all models keep condenser panels at the rear of the freezer clean and dust free for maximum efficiency and conservation of energy.
  • A second freezer should only be operated when necessary.
  • In a single door unit, it is essential that the separate freezer compartment has its own door intact. Otherwise the unit will tend to operate the whole of the refrigerator as a freezer – this can be expensive. Electric stove:
  • Use cooking utensils with flat bottoms and tight-fitting covers.
  • Be sure pots and pans completely cover the stove plates.
  • Take advantage of the heat sensing control for stove plates. It allows the stove plate to cut off the electricity supply occasionally while still cooking. It does not affect the food, only your bill.
  • Use a pressure cooker to conserve energy when cooking foods that take a long time, such as pot roasts, stews and steamed puddings.
  • Do not overcook foods, especially vegetables. Overcooking destroys essential nutrients.
  • For full efficiency from radiant stove plates the stove plate reflectors (underneath the stove plates) should always be kept clean.
  • Bring foods to the boil quickly on the “high” setting, then turn the heat down to simmer to finish cooking.
  • Do not use the grilling compartment to make toast – it is very expensive.
  • Do not use the oven to heat the kitchen – it is very expensive and far less efficient than a heater.
  • Keep oven doors completely closed until food is cooked. Every time the door is opened, the oven temperature drops, and the heat must be replaced.
  • Use the oven to prepare an entire meal – main course, vegetables and dessert. Remember to plan meals that cook in the oven at the same temperature.
  • Allow free circulation of heat within the oven. Place pans and containers so that they do not touch each other, or the sides of the oven.
  • To keep food warm place in a 66°C to 82°C oven. Do not leave it too long or your meal will be very dry.
  • When buying a new stove, choose one with a convection oven. This type of oven uses less energy than conventional ovens and cooking time is substantially reduced.

Microwave ovens:

  • Defrost your food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave oven: it is more economical.
  • Use your microwave oven to cook small to medium quantities of food. To cook larger portions of meat, it is better to use a conventional oven.
  • Some microwaves do not heat up foods evenly. Wrap foods in plastic to hold in the steam, this will help to give even heating. Be very careful not to cover the foods too well, steam can burn you badly when you open the packet, so leave a flap open for the steam to escape.
  • Cooking time is an important factor when determining energy efficiency levels. Compare cooking times when you cook the same food in the microwave, in the standard oven, on stove top elements or in a pressure cooker. You will easily see which method of cooking is more efficient depending on quantity, volume and food types.
  • Follow the manufacturers instructions to ensure that food is cooked correctly. Keep in mind that microwave recipe books give the cooking times required by the appliance used by the authors. Adjust cooking times to suit your microwave rating.
  • Never turn your microwave on when it is empty, you could damage it.
  • Keep the edges of your microwave door and its hinges clean. To wash the inside of your oven, boil a cup of water in it and then wipe the sides with a damp cloth. Small appliances:
  • Using small kitchen appliances instead of the stove can save energy. Toasters, electric grills and skillets, slow cookers, electric coffee pots and bottle warmers usually require less energy than the stove when used correctly.
  • Use an electric kettle to boil water, not a sauce pan or a microwave.
  • When vacuuming, empty or replace the dust bag frequently.
  • A faulty appliance will not work efficiently and can waste energy. Repair or replace them promptly. Source: www.eskom.co.za COOKING Accommodation establishments will use a lot of the energy in the preparation and storage of food. Here are a few tips for your domestic and kitchen staff to remember when planning and cooking meals for guests.
  • Cook at a longer, lower temperature as opposed to a higher, shorter one. Slow cooking retains more of the nutrients in food and transfers less heat to the air around it – so you lose less heat energy and save more money in the long run.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s strict guidelines while heating and pre-heating your cooking equipment. • Heat your equipment only to the highest temperature needed – do not heat higher to pre-heat quicker or cook food faster, it will only waste energy.
  • Do not turn every appliance on in the morning out of habit. Turn them on only when they are needed and going to be used.
  • Draw up a cooking schedule. In knowing what foods need the same cooking temperature in advance, you can do them at the same time. Fill your oven to capacity and save on time and electricity.
  • Learn how to use your oven’s thermostat and timer. You can avoid continuous opening of your oven door while your food is cooking and thereby conserve the heat that is lost.
  • Warming drawers and plates are not cooking appliances. Excessive heat will dry out food so use them only as intended.
  • Keep your cooking equipment clean; it will last longer and use less electricity if well maintained.


Air conditioning:

Air conditioning is fast becoming a feature that guests expect when arriving at an establishment, particularly in the hotter regions. The devices circulate the air and make rooms and other areas more comfortable. They maintain the temperature at a suitable level, dehumidify, and remove dust and particles from the air.

Here are some ways to increase the efficiency of your air conditioning system:

  • Clean and inspect filter screens regularly. This will keep electricity consumption at its best and eliminate dust and pollen from conditioned air.
  • Use light-coloured curtains to reflect sun and heat outward.
  • Set the air conditioning unit to re-circulate cool air instead of drawing in warmer outside air.
  • Protect the outdoor cooling units from the sun. Place them on the south or shady side of your house.
  • Generally, you should turn your heating/cooling system off when the space in unoccupied. You can use a time-clock to turn them on prior to occupancy again if you like. Do not heat storage and unoccupied areas, like the basement or garage.


Laundering linen, towelling and other items is often the most labour-intensive and time consuming task for your cleaning staff. The electricity usage for these daily laundering routines is extremely high, and using more economical appliances and doing fuller loads may help ease the load. Needless to say, using an electrical washing machine is far more efficient than using hot water from the geyser to do hand washing.

Here are a few more tips that you can use:

Washing machine:

  • Buy a washing machine which offers a variety of water temperature settings.
  • A front-loading washing machine uses less water and costs less to operate even though the purchase price may be higher than a top loader.
  • Use warm and cold water settings as much as possible in order to cut down on energy needed to heat the water.
  • Take advantage of special features on your washer that can save money. For example, soak cycles remove stubborn stains in one wash cycle.
  • The automatic washing machine uses the same amount of electricity for a full load as it consumes for a single item. Save dirty clothes until a full load has accumulated.
  • Never overload your automatic washing machine. Overloading will reduce the cleaning action. (Varying the size of garments in a full load improves the cleaning action by allowing free circulation).

Tumble dryer:

We live in a country that has a very sunny and often dry climate, which is perfect for drying laundry on the line! If you have to use a tumble dryer, here are a few tips that can lessen the amount of electricity these power hungry appliances use.

  • Clean the lint filter on the dryer after each operation to maintain full air flow and to maximise the drying efficiency.
  • Dryers equipped with an electronic humidity control are the most efficient because they automatically shut off the drying cycle when the clothes are dry. Other models are equipped with electric timers which allow you to select the length of the drying cycle. Here it is important not to overestimate the length of the drying cycle.
  • A permanent press cycle with a “cooldown” period saves energy and dries efficiently.
  • Compact dryers are economical provided that you only have small amounts of clothes to dry. Never overload a tumble dryer but avoid under-loading as well.
  • Use correct temperature settings to minimise the amount of electricity consumed.
  • Over-dried clothes feel harsh and waste energy. Experiment to find the right setting. Some natural materials such as cotton and wool should retain some moisture to avoid wrinkling.
  • Clothes should never be placed in the tumble dryer dripping with water. They should have as much moisture removed beforehand and they should never be folded before being placed in the dryer.
  • Dry clothes in consecutive loads where possible. The dryer will be warm already and will save on initial energy consumption.
  • On sunny days take advantage of good weather and dry your clothes outside.


  • An iron consumes as much energy as ten 100 watt light bulbs. Several steps can be taken to increase ironing efficiency.
  • Iron low temperature fabrics first to reduce warm up time.
  • Iron large batches of clothing at one time to avoid wasting energy reheating the iron several times. • Switch your iron off before you are finished and complete the ironing on stored energy.
  • Prevent scorching and wasting energy by not over-heating the iron.
  • Use only distilled water in steam irons.
  • Be sure to turn your iron off if you are interrupted whilst ironing.
  • Use the permanent press feature on your washer and dryer if it is available.
  • By removing clothing promptly from the dryer and folding them carefully, many items will require no ironing, or just a quick press.


It is not only your domestic staff that could use less electricity. Your gardener or garden service should also keep electricity usage down on the appliances they use. One of the main drawers of power outside of the building is the swimming pool. Here are a few tips from Eskom regarding the amount of electricity it consumes.

Swimming pool

For establishments with swimming pools, the swimming pool filter pump may be one of the largest consumers of electricity.

  • Reduce the pool pump operating time. Reducing the swimming pool filter pump operating time can save significant amounts of electricity. The pool pump operating time can be reduced by resetting the pump control clock to activate the pump for only the time necessary for keeping the pool clean.
  • Covering your pool when it is not in use will reduce its water losses. A cover will also ensure that the pool need not be cleaned as frequently and the pool pump can be operated less often, for example 10% of the time.
  • The pool’s filter should be cleaned as recommended by the manufacturer to obtain maximum efficiency. This will enable you to operate the pump for shorter periods. Also use a wall brush and leaf skimmer regularly and remove foreign materials from the pool’s strainer baskets.
  • In general, your pool manufacturer should be in a good position to advise you on how to optimise your swimming pool’s electricity efficiency and should be consulted.
  • Check with the supplier of the swimming pool to establish the correct operation of the filter. Operating the filter longer than necessary can be very expensive, because it wastes electricity.


1 line = 100 watt. A frying pan therefore uses 1 500 watts (15 lines).
1 000 watt per hour = 1 kW.h = 1 unit of electricity. To find out how much the use of these appliances is costing you, find out from Eskom how much a kilowatt-hour (unit) of electricity costs in your area.

Hair drier (400 – 1 000 W) l l l l l 600 watt

l 100 watt

Electric Blanket
l 100 watt Lights (average 10x75 W) l l l l l l l l 800 watt

l 100 watt

Vacuum cleaner
l l l l l l 600 watt

(600 – 2 000 W) l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 1 500 watt

Television (66cm colour)
l l l 300 watt Television (48cm colour) l 80 watt

Television (66cm black and white)
l 70 watt

Floor polisher
l l l l 400 watt 


l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 2 800 watt

Stove (3 000 – 8 000 W) depending on use; 2 plates and oven together
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 3 000 watt

Frying pan
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 1 500 watt

Frier (rotating)
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 1 400 watt

l l l l l l l l l l l 1 100 watt

Coffee filter
l l l l l 600 watt

Kettle (1 500 – 3 000 W)
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 2 000 watt

Coffee grinder
l l l 300 watt

Microwave oven
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 1 500 watt

Juice extractor (large)
l l l 300 watt

Juice extractor (small)
l 100 watt

Food mixer
l l 200 watt

l l l l l l 600 watt

Waffle grill
l l l l l l l l 800 watt

Warming tray (Salton)
l l l l l l l l l 900 watt


l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 2 000 watt
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 2 000 watt

l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 1 500 watt

l l l l l l l l l l l 1 100 watt


Washing machine – not heated
l l l l l l l l 800 watt

Washing machine – automatic heated
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 2 000 watt

Washing machine – wash/dry motor
l l l l l l l l 800 watt

Tumble drier
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 3 000 watt

l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 3 000 watt


Battery charger
l l l l l l 600 watt

l l l l l 500 watt

l l l 300 watt

Soldering iron
l l l 300 watt

Welder (portable and single phase)
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 3 000 watt

On your appliance you will see the number of WATTS that the appliance uses. This number is usually stamped underneath or at the back of your appliance. An iron for example uses 1 500 WATTS. This is 1,5 KILOWATTS.

(To change WATTS to KILOWATTS move the comma three spaces to the left, i.e. 1,500 = 1,5 kilowatts). You then multiply the number of KILOWATTS by the price of one unit of electricity, for example 40 cents. (1,5 x 40 cents = 60 cents) This is the cost of using an iron for 1 hour.

Source: www.eskom.co.za