When Simon and Garfunkel wrote their now well-quoted songline, ‘Hello darkness, my old friend’, the last thing they would have understood was how loadshedding appliances would dominate our lives decades later.
Social media abounds with memes and Tik-Tok versions of their classic hit as power outages throw South Africans into darkness at a variety of awkward times.
Life, however, need not end when your home or office is plunged into an electricity-free period.
Dinner does not have to be sandwiches or salad or put on hold till the power is back. Food is a comfort and a reassurance that total deprivation has not yet hit.
The simple acquisition of gas stoves in homes or the office canteen means no one has to go without coffee when crucially needed and no one has to skip a hot meal.
Loadshedding Appliances that Defy the Dark
Unless you’re going the generator route, in which case, loadshedding isn’t really a thing, there is one loadshedding appliance that will serve you and your family in more ways than you know.
Enter the honourable gas stove.
No kidding. In fact, if you watch cooking shows you’ll notice they mostly use gas appliances for cooking. Ever wondered why that is? Yes, it will save electricity, but speed in competitions is of the essence. More often than not speed counts in today’s modern lifestyle too. (Who stands for hours over the pots and pans anymore?)
The truth is that once you have experienced the convenience and control you have cooking with gas stoves, you won’t be inclined to return to their electric equivalent anytime soon. The question is not ‘what can I make with a gas stove?’, it’s ‘what can’t I make?’
When you purchase your gas stove, you will have the option of an electric or gas oven. That is totally up to you. If you’re a person who loves roasting, then a gas oven makes sense. If however, you know how to deliver delicious food on a multifunction stove, then you may be fine with a gas stovetop and an electric oven. Speak to your dealer who will guide you through the product options available.
The Solar Hybrid Range Will Defy Loadshedding Damage
Companies running ahead of the pack have innovations for fridge/freezer appliances that won’t suffer power surge damage. The technology connects directly to solar panels. During daylight hours, the electrical grid runs off solar power, prioritising solar energy. The solar hybrid system switches over to the grid when there is no sunshine.
The beauty of this innovation is that there is no need for inverters or batteries. Running as it does off so much solar energy, you will most certainly spare your Eskom bill with a fridge that consumes around 44 % less than most.
The Solar Hybrid range is available in a 254lt Chest Freezer and in a 157lt Top Mounted Freezer Fridge. Fitted with Endura-Chill technology to keep our freezer compartments colder for up to 40 hours in the freezer and 21 hours in the fridge without electricity or sun.
Household Appliances Affected During Loadshedding
We have to face up to the fact that most of our electronic equipment wasn’t designed to withstand the power surges incurred by loadshedding operations.
- Household Appliances - Included here are your microwave, kettle, coffee machine, dishwasher, and sound system. Heating and cooling systems are the most demanding on your energy drainage but they are also vulnerable to power-spike damage. The quick fix for your major appliances is to purchase new ranges that will offset the worst of the negative effects. Surge protector plugs help too.
- Sensitive Equipment - Unstable power is known to damage your most sensitive and highly prized appliances, such as your phone, computer, Wi-Fi router, decoder, and LCD screens. Surge protectors are however geared to absorb energy spikes. Even so, it is recommended that unplugging these devices is the only sure way to spare them from the damage inflicted on them when the power comes back on.
- Electric Security Gates, Fencing & Lighting - The only way around this is to keep reserve batteries on standby. Where home or office security is paramount, the peace of mind from adequate preparedness in this area takes the headache out of loadshedding periods.
Facing The Truth About Loadshedding
For the next three to five years, loadshedding will be a part of our lives. The trouble is that even where modern protections are built into certain appliances, the idea was only to spare damage for occasional unstable energy spikes.
Today, we are looking at outages that are not just the opposite of rare, but occur more than once a day. Protections will ultimately fail over time and damage becomes a given.
Susan Walls is an Insurance Technical Advisor. She makes a lot of sense on the issue of insurance claims for damages to electronic appliances and devices;
‘You have your policy wording, which is the actual document with all the fine detail in it and you also have your schedule and your schedule specifically states that, your address, what type of goods are covered. It is very important to have a look at your schedule and the policy wording but one of the most important things is that you talk to your broker or insurer.’
Best practice is for each of us to take responsibility for our own equipment and unplug sensitive apparatus wherever possible.
In order to ensure that you, your family, and your colleagues are prepared to get through the day without irritation or frustration, there are some big and some small things you can do. Here are a few options.
Hybrid Solar Panel Systems
The managing director of Turner Morris, Alwyn Coetsee, is a power-supply specialist, whose comments on installing solar-powered hybrid systems are worth noting;
“A solar power hybrid system includes a battery power bank and works in conjunction with the Eskom grid. While the sun is shining it generates power – you use solar power mainly and less Eskom power. If you install a 4 000W (5kVA) solar power hybrid system, you’ll be able to run more or less everything in your house on it, apart from the geyser and the stove. With a 12 000W (15kVA) system, you should be able to run everything in the average household.”
There is a substantial initial cost outlay for solar heating systems. However, it more than pays for itself over time, certainly, in the +80% you’ll save on your electricity bill. Most importantly,l of course is, you have way less hassle when loadshedding occurs.
To cover most household requirements, including your geyser a 6,400-watt diesel or petrol generator will do. Should you wish to keep your sensitive electronic equipment running during loadshedding periods then a 2,000-watt generator is all you’d need
Power During Load Shedding
If you are not in the market for a big spend on loadshedding equipment, do not despair. There are many thrifty items you can obtain and have on hand to get you through the hours of your power outages.
- Solar lighting - there are any number of small portable solar lighting systems available that will keep you out of the dark.
- Battery power banks - charge tablets and phones, just remember to replenish what you use during outages.
- Thermo-coolers - ideal for camping but for prolonged power outages where food in the freezer threatens to spoil, a thermo-cooler can plug into your car or a simple USP system.
Whatever your individual circumstances are, let’s aim for a ‘No Power - No Problem’ Policy. It is possible. Loadshedding appliances will serve you well even when power outages lessen for a time.
Contact Defy for your loadshedding appliances today.