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14 Ways to Beat Loadshedding in SA

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14 Ways to Beat Loadshedding in SA

 

What’s the one topic you can expect to pop up in most conversations with South Africans these days? Yes, loadshedding.

 

Luckily, this topic also results in some humorous advertisements and memes. #loadsheddingsurvivaltips. After all, South Africans are known for poking fun at situations that will probably have the rest of the world frowning.

 

Unfortunately, no number of smiles will take away the reality of being without power multiple times a day. But, from picking the right bath towels and linen bedding to revising your dinner plans, there’s a lot you can do to make the current situation much more bearable.

 

We list our top 14 tips below so you can discover nifty tricks to beat the system.

 

Keep Your Freezer Food Frozen

What’s your greatest fear when the loadshedding schedule reaches stage 4 or higher? For many households, the risk of expensive frozen food items starting to spoil is an all-too-probable scenario. But you’re not entirely ‘powerless’ in this situation.

 

The more you can do to help maintain low temperatures during loadshedding hours, the lower the risk of items defrosting. Easy solutions include:

  • Open the door of the freezer as little as possible and keep the freezer organised so you can quickly find what you’re looking for.
  • Add bottles of water to the freezer when there’s power. Once there’s loadshedding those big blocks of ice will help maintain the interior temperature.
  • A fuller freezer will maintain temperature longer. If you don’t want to risk keeping a stocked fridge, fill open spaces with the water bottles mentioned above.

 

Smart Laundry Solutions

Laundry day can be a real challenge, starting with checking the day’s loadshedding schedule for a time to run the washing machine. At least drying laundry can be much easier if you have the right linen, from bed pillows to duvets and duvet covers.

 

For example, a cotton duvet cover will dry fairly quickly, even if you have to airdry and the same goes for cotton bath towels. This makes it a smart investment for South Africans to change to having all cotton sheets for your household.

 

Even when it comes to items like duvets and pillow inners, a new set can make life much easier. Some dry faster than others and the more breathable it is—such as down pillows—the faster the interior will dry out.

 

Get a Rechargeable Fan

With various parts of the country being known for their high temperatures—sometimes even in winter—heat further amplifies the problems of loadshedding. Whether it’s for your own relief or to help the kids stay comfortable on a hot evening, you must miss fans and air conditioning.

 

However, it’s worth checking out the latest gadgets because modern technology makes it easy and affordable to handle certain loadshedding consequences. With a rechargeable fan—that’s much more affordable than you expect—you can enjoy as much as 6 hours of cooler air and there’s no need to spend a lot on batteries. You simply recharge when Eskom puts the power back on.

 

Sleep Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter

Using a fan is one way to manage temperatures, but when it comes to sleeping comfortably at night, once again your bedding could do with an upgrade. Investing in the right duvet covers or bed sheets can ensure you sleep cool in summer but you’ll also feel warm and cosy during winter months, even without a heater on. That’s the power of quality, natural fibres like cotton.

 

With cotton, soft fibres help you feel cosy on cold nights but thanks to their breathability you won’t sleep hot, even during warm South African summers.

 

Keep a Car Charger in Your Car

Keeping in contact with loved ones, clients and others is as important as keeping cool! Still, mobile phones usually warn of ‘low battery’ when you expect an important call or you need to keep the kids busy with YouTube, right?

 

A simple habit of charging mobile devices whenever you’re in the car can save you a lot of frustration. Allocate a charger to each vehicle in the household and implement a rule that no one is allowed to remove it. Then simply remind everyone to charge up whenever you’re running errands.

 

Convert to Gas

Getting dinner on the table is another #1 concern for families, especially if loadshedding happens late in the day. As a solution, add a small, mobile gas stove to the kitchen or replace your electric stove with a new gas one.

 

Since loadshedding is apparently here to stay, converting to a gas stove is a smart change. Yes, such a conversion is expensive, but you’re making a smart investment. If you should ever sell the house, any South African will find a gas stove valuable, so you’re increasing the value of the property.

 

Get the ESP App

Now, for some of the tips we mention you do need to do some planning beforehand. For example, check that the freezer is filled with enough frozen water bottles and make sure the fan is charged before the loadshedding starts.

 

User-friendly apps like ESP (EskomSePush) make it a little easier to manage the day-to-day thanks to schedules that are easy to understand. The data is up to date and accurate, so you can use this to plan your day, including laundry time and when to make dinner—or whether you’ll just have to braai (see more on this below).

 

Also, no need to set reminders after checking the day’s schedule, because with push notifications the app will remind you of upcoming loadshedding, usually 55 minutes before it starts. This gives you enough time to prepare for the next session.

 

Bonfire Time!

If loadshedding is getting you down, perhaps you need some inspiration from others on how to make the best of the situation. Many families are embracing the black-out sessions to spend more time with each other since they can’t watch TV or play PC games as they usually would.

 

No need to sit in the dark with a mobile phone flashlight either! Head outside, start a bonfire in the garden—safely please—and make some memories telling stories and roasting marshmallows.

 

Candlelit Dinners

Another take on ‘quality time’ is to have dinner by candlelight. Of course, this is the perfect opportunity for couples to get romantic. However, families can also make dinners interesting by eating with the candles lit. Some children will find it exciting for a change!

 

Get a Solar Water Heater

We understand that a candlelit dinner is much more acceptable than a cold bath, so let’s talk about technology to solve that problem for you. Simply go solar.

 

Once again, this solution is on the expensive side but if you install a permanent solar heater, you’re increasing your property value exponentially. Also, your utility costs will drop substantially.

 

The amount of hot water you’ll have depends on the size of your installation, but many households implement it successfully and heat water for all bathroom and kitchen needs.

 

Braai!

Braai is almost as synonymous with South Africans as our sense of humour. Why not use loadshedding as an excuse to braai your favourite cut of meat more often? No dirtying the kitchen and no electricity needed, because everything from your steak to a side dish like garlic bread can heat up on the coals.

 

Stock Up on Rechargeable Globes

Here’s another nifty gadget that’s worth a look: rechargeable globes.

 

These globes look and work similar to standard light bulbs, but they also store power while there’s electricity available and the light switch is on. When loadshedding hits, they’ll stay on and some of them can last as long as 8 hours.

 

This gadget makes loadshedding-living a little more effortless because you don’t have to remember to plug it in to recharge. It happens automatically when the power comes back on.

 

Kindle Story Time

With many parents’ concerns handled, what about the kids? One thing that doesn’t have to disappear along with the light, is bedtime story time. High-end Kindles, such as the Paperwhite model, have bright enough screens for you to read in the dark. And don’t worry, although it’s in black and white, some Kindle books still have stunning pictures for them to look at.

 

Solar is a Viable Option?

If you’re seriously considering solar as a solution to heat water, you may want to consider going off the power grid completely. You won’t be at the mercy of loadshedding at all. Also, recently Cape Town shared its plans of buying excess electricity from businesses and even homes with solar installed. This can in turn help the city supply power so loadshedding can end for its citizens.

 

One can only hope that other cities and provinces will follow their lead.

 

Since loadshedding is here to stay for the long term, perhaps it’s worth transforming our homes to help overcome the challenges.

 

[Conclusion]

Even in a bad situation, there’s often more we can do than we realise. Let’s not lose our humour and let’s keep on seeing the bright side of life. It’s what makes us South African. The key to making life a little easier for your household could be as simple as buying new bed sheets, home towels, innovative gadgets or another pack of candles.

 

You probably have your own secrets on how to beat loadshedding? Share with us below!

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