How to Load Shedding Proof your home

As a South African you can expect Load Shedding to be around for a long time. Load Shedding first started in 2007 - 2008. It was predicted that in 2012 South African would no longer have load shedding, if you're reading this article which was written in 2021, you probably know that this guess was a bit off. We are still having load shedding in 2021, which is why, as a South African you need to consider making your home load shedding resistant. In this article we are going to cover how to make living in your home during a power failure more pleasant.

This includes solutions with implementation costs ranging from R100 to R100 000+. Regardless of your budget, we think you'll be able to benefit from this article.

How do you make your home Load Shedding resistant?

There are several different ways to make your home load shedding resistant. Some of these methods are incredibly effective but not very friendly on the wallet, while the opposite is true in other cases. We're going to explore the cheaper ways of making your home load shedding resistant.

Get off the Grid

The best way to make your home Load Shedding proof is to get entirely off the grid and be independent of Eskom. The unfortunate thing about this is that getting off the grid is quite expensive. A solar system for your house can cost up to R200 000 to install. And some times more if you have a larger house. Not to mention that batteries have to be replaced every 9 - 15 years which will require that you part ways with your hard earned cash even more.

Contingency systems for every day applications

Our second option, which is the option that we are going to discuss extensively in this article is implementing contingency systems for every day applications. For example, instead of getting of the grid, we'll put in an emergency load shedding light bulb that can function during load shedding. These products are often much cheaper than getting off the grid and sometimes cheaper than buying a generator which makes it great for the budget conscious consumer.

The Load Shedding Master Guide


Mobile Torches

The first way we can load shedding proof our house it to invest in some mobile torches. While this is definitely not the best way of lighting your home during a power outage, it's definitely the most popular way in South African (excluding candles of course). LED Camping lanterns are great because you can use them to do some reading in your lounge and when it's time for bed you can move the lantern with you to the bedroom.

Mobile LED Camping Lanterns:
Pros:

  • Mobile
  • Versatile since they can be used for load shedding, braaiing and camping.
  • Cheap to run

Cons:

  • Not very bright
  • Medium price tag can be unattractive.

Schneider Electric Mobiya
The Schneider Electric Mobiya is an emergency/camping lantern created by Schneider Electric. The Mobiya was designed to be used in Townships and in Camping situations. This product is perfect for load shedding too because it can be hung, mounted on a pole or you can put it on a water bottle to use as a conventional camping lantern.


Shop all Camping Lanterns

Emergency Light Fittings

Emergency Light Fittings are light fittings that can be permanently installed that can be used during emergencies. While Load Shedding is not necessarily an emergency, emergency lights are fit for purpose since they are usually battery operated.
Emergency lights come in two primary categories: Maintained and non-maintained. Maintained fixtures automatically change over to battery during a power failure or emergency. Non-maintained fixtures requires manual change over to battery during load shedding or emergency. Maintained fixtures tend to be more common these days since they seamlessly change over to their battery operated mode, which is one less thing for you to think about during a power failure or emergency.

Advantages of emergency lights:
Pros:

  • Permanent fixture
  • Convenient
  • Easy/automatic change over to battery mode during a power failure

Cons: 

  • More expensive than a camping torch.
  • May require an electrician to install. 

Some examples of maintained emergency lights on Livecopper include:



Emergency Bulbs

Emergency Light Bulbs work similar to maintained emergency light fittings. They look identical to a typical light bulb that you would put in a light fitting. Emergency Light bulbs have a small battery inside of them which enables the bulb to work during a power failure. Typically, emergency bulbs will emit a warm white or day light colour. During a power failure the light bulb automatically changes over to a smaller LED configuration which emits less light. The emergency LED configuration is usually a cool white colour. Often the light that these bulbs emit during load shedding or a power failure is similar to that of a camping lantern. The advantage, however, is that the bulb is in the room's central light fixture so you'll immediately have light as soon as the power goes off.

Additionally, these bulbs can detect when the light switch has been switched off. This means that if you turn the light switch off, even during a power failure or load shedding - the light bulb will power off.

Emergency Light Bulbs typically come with a few options:

  • E27 or B22 lamp holder
  • 3 or 6 hour Battery (This is most common but not always the case)
  • Warm White or Cool White

Pros

  • Affordable (Most emergency bulbs are between R80 - R150)
  • Instantly turns on during a power failure
  • You can use your light switch to opperate the bulb, even during a power failure

Cons

  • Emergency light is not very bright (About the same as a camping lantern)
  • Sometimes you can't switch them off, if your light switch is old or poorly installed. 

Gas Geysers


In most cases the water in your geyser will still be hot near the end of load shedding. It is possible, however, that if you're on a geyser timer that you'll have load shedding right when the geyser is meant to be warming up your bath water.

I had a friend who paid his electricity bill diligently every month. The one month there was a mix up with the municipality which lead to the municipality disconnecting his power. To make things worse, his power was disconnected on a Friday and the problem could only be resolved by going into the municiple offices. Due to this unfortunate incident my friend was left without power for the entire weekend. This could happen to anyone. In some cases it could be longer than just a weekend.

To combat this something you can consider is installing a Gas Geyser. Gas Geysers are something that we have written about extensively on the Livecopper Knowledge Base Blog. Gas Geysers use gas to rapidly heat water on demand. This means that gas is only consumed when water is running through the pipe. You can find out more about everything you should consider before buying a gas geyser here.

Pros and Cons of a Gas Geyser
Pros:

  • Doesn't require electricity to operate, meaning you can still have a hot shower regardless of power failures.
  • Can sometimes be cheaper than using an electric geyser.
  • Heats water on demand

Cons:

  • Costly upfront cost, especially for installations that require a larger gas geyser or multiple gas geysers. Find out more here.
  • Need to buy new gas.
  • Require certified Gas Installer to install. 

Thank you for reading our load shedding master guide. If there is something we can add, be sure to let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear your tried and tested Load Shedding tricks. 

If you would like to find out more about any one of the techniques or products in this blog, or you are unsure about something, you can contact our team of experts here.

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