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What every consumer ought to know about home geysers
According to the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern (SESSA), your geyser is responsible for 39 percent of your monthly electric bill. The exact proportion differs from household to household, but there are few items that use more power in a home. The average geyser is a power hungry beast.

It's also a non-negotiable. It fulfils one of the most important functions, keeping you in hot water. And there aren't many of us that are haven't experienced a cold shower or a geyser malfunction. Nothing makes you appreciate all the hard work your geyser does more than when it stops working!

Every consumer needs to know about the wide range of options available to them, as well as how to get the best performance from your geyser. And, who doesn't enjoy saving money?

If you're in the market for a new geyser, or simply want to learn a few tricks for keeping that electric bill low without sacrificing those essential hot showers, you've come to the right place. Let's look at the different types of geysers and how you can save money on your electricity bill.
The basic geyser types: your options summarized
- Conventional electric geysers: Classic geysers work by heating a portion of water inside a pressurised tank, using electricity. These come in a variety of designs and can be made from a number of materials. Stainless steel and copper are the most common.
- Gas geysers: Gas geysers use a burner to heat the water in the tank. The main advantage is that the geyser turns itself off, meaning you only use gas when you are using hot water.
- Solar geysers: Solar geysers use the power of our abundant sunshine to heat water. Cold water enters the tank, a transfer fluid is pumped to the solar panels and once heated, flows back to the storage tank and eventually out your tap when needed. Many combine with an electric backup to ensure uninterrupted hot water.
- Other types: Tankless geysers, heat pumps, mini-geysers and hybrid geysers that combine these options are all widely available in the South African market. The combinations are near endless.
Your choice will depend on the size of your family, your location and your budget.
Money saving tips:
Aside from switching your geyser off when not in use, there are a number of other ways that you can slash the cost of water heating. Let's look at some:
- Turn down the heat: It's a common misconception that turning the heat up on your geyser will mean you can use less hot water. In reality, you're having to cool that heated water down enough to wash your hands or shower without getting scalded. Turn your geyser down to 60 degrees or even less if you can.
- Keep your geyser well serviced: You can increase the efficiency of your geyser significantly, as well as increasing the lifespan by maintaining the parts. Experts recommend a service every 5 years. The most crucial regular maintenance? Replacing the anode regularly.
- Geyser blankets are reportedly effective: A once off investment that you can use and reuse for decades, consumers do report savings. Insulating pipes is another often mentioned tip for saving money on water heating.
- Geyser timers: a simple device that controls your geyser and switches it on and off for you. Don't be tricked into spending a fortune - a few hundred Rand is reasonable.
- If you're keen to switch to solar: Check with your home insurance if they offer rebates for making the switch. Some home insurers, like Santam, will only expect you to pay the difference. The Eskom rebate program has been discontinued at this time, but may be re-instituted in the future.
Saving money on water heating might involve some trial and error. It's easy enough to test the effectiveness of these energy saving measures. Simply try one out for a fixed period and compare your consumption. You can weigh up whether it's worth it or not.
By keeping your geyser serviced and operating efficiently, you're not only doing your bit for your budget, but also for the country and the planet.