The Most Affordable Home-Heating Options

South Africans tend to prefer homes with large windows, open plan living areas and tiled floors because these help keep our homes cool in summer, especially with air-conditioning a luxury not everyone can afford. Unfortunately in the winter this poses a problem as the rooms are generally cooler and take longer to warm up. Heating your home this winter shouldn’t burn a deeper hole in your pocket, especially with a rise financial pressures leaving many South Africans with turned-out pockets.


An increase in living costs and growing electricity constraints has placed energy-conscious consumers in a position where they are seeking cost and energy-saving heating options. The most cost-effective and energy-efficient factor in heating your home is to have quality ceiling insulation installed. Because warm air rises, approximately 40% of heat is lost through the ceiling if it is not correctly insulated. Ceiling insulation will reduce energy expenditure, save on the monthly electricity bill, keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Insulation positively impacts a home’s resale value and has at least a 5% increase in heat retention. Wooden floors and tiles that aren’t insulated are responsible for up to a 10% loss of heat. Carpets and rugs are an inexpensive option to retain heat, save energy and keep your feet warm.


Ensure that air leaks, cracks and gaps in and around windows, doors and walls are adequately sealed with adhesive foam stripping or silicone. There are several inexpensive and simple solutions that will radically reduce cold seeping into your home and save on your heating bill. A relatively affordable option is to invest in blinds and thicker curtains or line your existing curtains to stop warm air escaping and improve thermal insulation. However, during the day keep your curtains open and take advantage of the natural warmth and sunlight streaming in.


Due to SA’s low electricity tariffs, Eskom retains that the most cost-effective, energy-efficient heating option is electricity. In a recent study, gas was reported as costing almost double what electricity costs to heat an average-sized room. When using a heater, close all doors and windows to keep the heat in. As heaters are generally taxing on an electricity bill, heat only the rooms you need to, keeping the doors to the rooms you aren’t occupying closed. Keep large pieces of furniture away from your heaters as these absorb heat. Thermostat-controlled fan heaters evenly and quickly warm an average-sized room and have the added benefit of direction-control.


They are considered one of the most reasonable choices when heating for only an hour or so. On the other hand, a 2KW oil heater with a thermostat control does a sufficient job, especially for a period of less than 3 hours,  as it steadily heats a room, keeping the rise in temperature (and your electricity bill) at a measured pace. If you would like to keep a room warm for several hours a low KW heater with a thermostat will gradually heat the room and keep your electricity usage low.


Eskom believes that both oil and fan heaters with a thermostat control are reasonably priced and effective choice for warming a room. Underfloor heating and wall-mounted heaters are unfortunately two of the most ineffective choices in affordably heating a room as the time it takes to sufficiently heat a room and the high cost and electricity usage involved in using them for such a long period of time outweighs the positives.   If you're looking for the simplest and cheapest ways to keep warm this winter, pile on the blankets, cuddle with a hot water bottle and drink plenty of hot tea!