Is switching your geyser on and off really contributing to saving energy?

Ever wondered if switching your geyser on and off at certain times will save you a few kWh? We did the homework so you don’t have to, but the answer is not a simple yes or no.  Even before the inception of load shedding in 2007, people have been debating whether switching your geyser on and off will save you money in the long run.  

There are many facts to consider before you choose to switch your geyser off and on.

What is the state of your geyser?

Geyser switches were never invented to be switched on and off on a regular basis. You might find that the switch in your distribution board might give in a lot sooner than expected. Older geysers are also not properly insulated, which means the water in it will cool very quickly and when you switch the geyser on it will heat the water from cold again.

How much water do you use? 

Ideally you don’t want the geyser to start heating from scratch. It is advisable to take quick showers to use as little water as possible. 

How often do you use hot water?

It is best to discuss shower time so all members of the household shower in quick succession of each other. Turn your geyser off just before the first person goes to shower. This will prevent the geyser from starting to heat the new/cool water as it enters the geyser.  

Is your geyser insulated?

Ideally you want to keep the hot water warm for as long as possible. Your geyser can be insulated with a geyser blanket where the hot water pipes can also be insulated to prevent as little loss of heat as possible. 

Geyser temperature 

Turn your geyser temperature down to 50°C in summer and 60°C in winter. You honestly don’t need water to be warmer than that. 

Heat management 

Switch your geyser on before you shower, allowing one hour of heating time in summer and two hours in winter. Then switch it off just before the first person goes for a shower.  

Geyser standards

All modern geysers must adhere to a certain SABS standard of which one is that a geyser must not lose more than 10°C in a 24 hour period without using any hot water.

Switching your geyser on and off – manual vs auto

If you are going to switch your geyser on and off manually it is best to set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to switch your geyser on and off. This constant flicking of the circuit breaker switch might wear out over time and might need to be replaced in the near future. 

By installing an auto geyser timer, you take the thinking work out of the equation. You will need a certified electrician to do the installation and give you a Certificate of Compliance afterwards. This is very important for insurance purposes. 

A geyser timer can be programmed to switch on and off according to a schedule. It can also manage water temperature to optimally manage the heating process. 

Test before you buy

Before buying and installing a geyser timer, test if switching your geyser on and off works for you and your family. Check your electricity usage on your prepaid/postpaid meter, either daily or weekly for a week or three before doing anything to your geyser. 

Once you are satisfied you have captured your electricity usage trends thoroughly, turn your geyser heat down to 50°C in summer and 60°C in winter. Switch the geyser off before asking everyone in the household to shower in quick succession of each other. From there, switch the geyser on and off one hour before shower time in summer and two hours in winter. Compare the data to see if you can determine any energy saving. If you did save, it is a good idea to invest in a geyser timer.

Other energy saving tips.

  • Upgrade your geyser to a quality, SABS approved geyser. 
  • Insulate the geyser and hot water pipe as much as possible. 
  • Install the geyser as close as possible to the hot water outlets to avoid unnecessary heat loss.
  • Install a water and energy saving shower head. 

See what Eskom has to say regarding the management of your geyser. For any utility management queries please visit