Home appliances

Vampire Appliances Explained – How Do They Work?

Vampire appliances are called vampires as they still use power even when they are switched off at the wall socket. When some appliances are switched off and go into standby mode, they still can consume power and could contribute to quite a substantial portion of power bills. 

It is important to remove your appliances altogether once they have been switched off – in other words, pull the plug out of the wall when you switch off your television set, your computer and if you have a charger for your laptop or for your cell phone, remove these from the power as they still consume energy even when not plugged into the device. 

Did You Know… 

  • As much as 20% of your entire monthly electricity bill could account for vampire appliances 
  • Vampire power is also referred to as standby power 

This Is How Vampire Power Works 

  • Every electrical cord that is plugged into a plug socket consumes energy and pulls the electricity out 
  • Many modern electrical devices are equipped with sleep and standby modes – your computer is a good example 
  • When appliances are in sleep or standby mode, they are using power 
  • Power is used to connect remotely, record data and to update information One of the chief causes of energy leaking is as a direct result of advanced technology and modern technologically advanced devices 
  • Did you know that your device can still receive signals from remotes to power your device on at any given time even when your device is in sleep or standby mode? 
  • The power that is regularly available has been designed to respond instantly when needed 
  • Technology is great but it can cost you dearly  
  • Most offices and homes have devices that consume vampire power as they come equipped with standby options 

This List Will Tell You Which Appliances Are the Biggest Vampires 

  • Your computer equipment such as your charger, modem, router and all PC’s including your desktop and laptop 
  • Satellite and other TV-related boxes 
  • TV’s that are in “instant on” mode. The bigger the screen of your TV, the energy it will consume 
  • Sound systems  
  • Your microwave, clock, and other electrical household appliances 

It Is Easy to Spot an Energy Vampire 

  • When an electrical appliance has a continuous display such as a clock or it includes LED then this will be in all probability be a vampire appliance  
  • If an appliance has a remote control it will continue to consume energy even when it is unplugged from the wall 
  • When an appliance charges batteries, it will consume energy when it is switched off at the wall 

The best way to save power and avoid appliances and devices from consuming energy when you are not using them is to unplug them from the wall and remove the plug entirely. This is especially pertinent to chargers, video games, and cell phone chargers. A smart idea is to use power strips that will turn off numerous appliances including TVs, garage door openers, microwaves and computers as well as other electronics. Turn off printers, computer equipment, and routers in the home office or the office when not in use. Some electrical devices that have an on and off button are almost identical in the use of power. Printers are a very good example as they use almost the same amount of power when switched on or if in standby mode. 



Light bulbs

Save Energy as Load shedding Gains Momentum

The big question everyone is asking as more and more employees gravitate towards working from home and online is “How can we save energy as load shedding gains momentum? The reality is that load shedding is back and let’s be honest, it is disruptive and a downright nuisance on all fronts. Many small businesses and home offices simply don’t have the ready cash to invest in expensive equipment including solar and generators – but is losing power the only option? Many of us are now working from home, and in a world where much is driven by tech, one does not have to lose productivity when the lights go out. There are many smart ideas that you can put into place to lighten power consumption and avoid the loss of large chunks of productivity during load shedding. 

No Need to Fork Out a Fortune to Save Energy – Start with Baby Steps 

  • Seal air leaks and use insulation for your home office or business. When heat seeps out of a warm room you are simply wasting money through the cracks and gaps  
  • Develop a smart plan to save money on energy in the long and the short-term. Which appliances are consuming the most energy? Find out which are energy guzzlers and take action to reduce the power that these consume wherever possible 
  • Use the right water heater for your home and home office. It is a smart idea to insulate it and lower the temperature on the geyser 
  • Lighting could consume a substantial amount of energy. Change all your lighting with energy-efficient lights such as LED globes  
  • Natural lighting saves on energy. Cut back any foliage to let as much natural light in as possible. Enjoy light and views while saving money. Other ways to conserve energy can be done by insulating your windows correctly. Natural light will flood your home office or business with sunlight while saving on energy bills 
  • Wherever possible, invest in energyefficient appliances and office equipment to get the best performance while using lower amounts of energy 

It Is Time to Make the Most of Downtime During Load Shedding 

  • Investing in the correct equipment to do the job when the power goes out is a smart move in the right direction.  
  • Choose surge protectors for when the power returns. These surge protectors will plug right into the wall socket and are not expensive. The great thing is that surge protectors will ensure your expensive electronic equipment won’t get damaged during dips and surges 
  • Invest in a UPS or generator for emergency back-up. Generators run by using fuel – take this into account when investing in one 
  • Solar-powered lights are perfect for when the lights go out. You need not be left in the dark. Simply invest in a couple of LED lights with USB ports to recharge your phone 
  • Gas is great for cooking and making tea – invest in a small gas table-top stove if you don’t have a gas stove or oven 
  • Keep a flask of boiled water handy for tea and coffee for when the power goes out 

Load shedding is back, and we need to make certain that we are prepared. Save power wherever possible and think out of the box to minimise the frustration of living through a time where we face many challenges on numerous levels. With so many of us working from home now, more than ever, we need to be forearmed. 

Hand holding a touch

Don’t Get Bogged Down with Tech When the Lights Go Out

Many of us are working from home due to the lockdown situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it seems as though many of us will continue to do. Even when the lockdown is a distant memory when life eases back to being as normal as possible, the lure of experiencing no traffic and hours spent commuting, plus no expensive rentalwill keep many businesses working remotely. 

The problem with working online is that many of us tend to open numerous files, documents, save things that we don’t need or use plus we tend to download apps that seem exciting at the time but soon become redundant. 

Do you receive so many emails every day that you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? You are not alone if this is the case. 

When the lights go out… 

The reality is that the lights, too, will go off as soon as we go back to work and begin with the running of our businesses. Once the lockdown eases off the utility will start to feel the strain as Eskom has not resolved the issues and challenges that they experienced before lockdown. 

Clean out your phone and your PC at the end of each day to ensure your tech does not bog you down when the lights go out. This way you won’t lose valuable information or work that you need to access at a later stage. Save everything you can on the cloud to make your life easier when we once again experience unpleasant loadshedding. 

For those of you who work in a chaotic environment, it is high time to take the initiative to clean out your tech and declutter your office space. It’s not only your environment that could do with a thorough cleaning out of unused items – your tech is just as guilty! Furthermore, cleaning out your cache regularly will speed up your systems. 

Cleantech, tidy office and an organised space result in a clear mind which will lead to being more productive. Make clutter and chaos a thing of the past regardless of where you set up office and ensure you are armed and ready for the first loadshedding rollouts. 

PHD Powerhouse supplies generators, power supplies, voltage stabilisers and more that will ensure you continue working.


Solar panels

The Positive Effects of Installing Solar

Installing solar onto the roof of your small business or home office is essentially turning your home or business into your own mini power plant. Once installed you will be able to generate renewable energy thus reducing your power bills or eliminating your electricity costs entirely. 

Many businesses are experiencing difficulties as the lockdown starts easing off, as so many have not been able to trade or carry on with their normal daily activities. Depending on what industry you are in you could be experiencing a tightening of your budget and having to find smart ways of saving money wherever possible. 

Whether it is subletting office space and downsizing or working from home office, there has been a definite shift in the way we are all looking at running our businesses regardless of size or what we do to put the proverbial crust on the table. 

One of the biggest money guzzlers is power when running an office whether it is a home office, factory, retail outlet, office, restaurant, hairdressing or beauty salon or other; suffice to say, we are all feeling the pinch and need to resume business and cut out expenses wherever possible 

Did you know that you can get a tax rebate from the government if you install solar? This might be the way moving forward. Being independent of the grid is smart thinking as the power grid continues to hike prices and as we continuously experience outages. 

It might cost you a nominal amount upfront to install solar, but before you know it you would have recouped all your monies in saving electricity in a relatively short space of time. 

Going solar will save you far more than installing solar and saving on electricity bills. There are numerous other financial benefits that will determine how solar can save your business money on power bills. 

  • Your business will be spared the astronomical hikes that we are subjected to every year 
  • Solar will increase the value of your home if you are installing solar for a home office,or anywhere else where solar is installed 
  • Take full advantage of the tax rebates you get when installing solar 

If there is one thing you should do, it is to save on power once your business is up and running and we can function and trade once again, even though the world will be forever changed. One thing that would never change is saving on costs wherever we can. At PHD Powerhouse we can advise you on the most befitting solar systems to suit your needs best. 


Energy Efficient Home office

10 Smart Tips to Make Your Home Office More Energy Efficient

Many of us have been forced to work remotely from home as the lockdown continues, and even as the lockdown starts easing off, businesses from many sectors are continuing in this vein. Working remotely although challenging at first, is great for saving time, money and encourages staff members to be self-disciplined. 

It does, however, cost money to run a home office and could make an impact on utility bills if you continue to do so. There are, however, numerous ways to ensure you save money on your power bills and living a green lifestyle at the same time. 

Here Are Ten Smart Things to Do When Working from Your Home Office 

  • Use a power strip. Some devices continue to consume energy even when they are switched off – switch off the power strip and everything will switch off automatically 
  • A laptop uses far less energy than desktop computers plus they are portable which is convenient 
  • Replacing your standard lightbulbs will improve your energy efficiency and they will last up to 25 times longer. Energyefficient light bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than ordinary bulbs 
  • Use as much natural light as possible as this will cut your lighting in half 
  • Task lighting is a great idea should you need more than natural light. Desktop lamps and track lights are a great idea 
  • Only use energy-efficient heating during the winter months or find a sunny spot to work from 
  • When leaving the home office always put your computer on sleep mode as this will conserve energy, and if you are leaving for longer, switch your modem and computer off entirely 
  • Boil the kettle once a day and use a flask for your tea and coffee – it works wonders and saves a fortune on your energy bill 
  • If you are in the process of upgrading any electrical devices, now is the best time to invest in Energy Star Devices as they use less energy than your standard models and will increase the productivity and efficiency of your home office 
  • Printing should only be done when it is essential. Wherever you can, use paperless and file all your files in the cloud. It is efficient, neat and will save the environment on many levels 

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference in the office when it comes to saving energy. Grow shrubs around the windows of your home office to shield your windows from the harsh summer sun and invest in awnings or window treatments that will cut back on air conditioning systems, fans, and other heating and cooling devices wherever needed. 

It is not difficult to improve efficiency in the home office. If you follow the above tips you will be able to maximise the energy efficiency when working remotely from home. PHD supplies generators, power supplies, voltage stabilisers and more that will ensure your home Office is more energy efficient


Black surge protectors

Protect Your Electronics as Lockdown Eases Off

Now more than ever before we need to protect our electronic systems as the economy plays catch-up. It is a hard fact that many companies will decide to let their employees work remotely from their home offices, as this will save money and time, although many businesses as they open their doors are trickling back to their formal work environments, offices, shops, factories and warehouses. 

In all probability, parents will also be homeschooling their children as this has become a more affordable and convenient method of education. It might work for many families that find the effort worthwhile educating their kids online. This does, however, mean that whether you are working from home or are home schooling the kids, or simply streaming Netflix for fun,  or working from an office, shop or factory, it is important to keep your systems on and functioning well at all times. 

Protect all those electronic gadgets from surges and dips, spikes and blackouts. The instability of the power grid can shorten the life span of sensitive PCs and other electronic equipment, plus we cannot afford any downtime especially now. Many of us experience severe thunderstorms during the summer months, too, making the protection of your sensitive electronic equipment from lighting strikes a huge priority. 

UPS, UPS SystemsStabilisers, Inverters, Surge and Lightning Protection; we offer technologically advanced power protection devices that will protect sensitive equipment and data in several applications across a wide range of industries. 

Keeping the power on at home and at the office should be the least of your worries with the COVID-19 virus playing havoc on the world at large. Moving forward realistically, the grid will play havoc on our economy and our lives in general. 

In South Africa, we face numerous power-related anomalies. PHD Powerhouse plays a role in providing solutions for several applications with solutions for diverse disciplines. 

Some of these include basic designs of DB board layouts, to the implementation of power solutions. Furthermore, we offer excellent aftersales service on all products and services. We can offer solutions for small and large businesses, private residences (home offices), offices, manufacturers, mines and more. 

Our trained complement of staff ensures that we provide the assistance that South Africans need with our full range of conditioning products that we bring to the South African market. 

 Let us advise you on which applications are best for your business regardless of where you decide to operate. If getting your business up and running properly as lockdown eases off, make power the least of your problems. Get a quote to find the right protection for your systems today. 



Invest Smartly and Ensure the Lights Stay on in Your Business

Keeping your lights on is what matters exponentially. This is perhaps what will matter most once normality resumes after the lockdown period has ceased and life goes back to being normal in a sense. Although most of us realise that “normal” will not be quite what it used to be, especially for many small to mediumsized enterprises, it is still important to keep doors open and revenue flowing. 

Our power utility is not under pressure at present, but before we know it everyone will be back at work and power usage will go up, especially with the cold winter months staring us in the eye. And yes – the dreaded load shedding will be part of our lives once again. 

Get prepared and arm your business with smart devices that will keep the power on and protect all delicate equipment from brownouts, blackouts, surges and dips. These can all play havoc on data, delicate devices and other equipment or electrical machines that you have in the home office or the office, factory, retail outlet, restaurant or any other place you call your work environment. 

Additionally, summer will soon be left behind, but before long the summer storms will be back in full force and intense lightning strikes can be expected that will wreak havoc on your electrical equipmentranging from computers to land lines. 

You Have a Couple of Options to Keep those Lights Burning Regardless – Here’s How 

UPS Systems 

PHD offers the widest range of UPS Systems in South Africa which include Line UPS Systems, Online Double Conversion UPS Systems and Rack Mounted UPS Systems 

Surge and Lightning Protectors 

PHD offers a range of Surge and Lightning Protectors including Household Surge Protection (perfect for home offices and those working online), DB Board protection and Office Surge Protection 


Inverters from PHD include Pure Sine Wave Inverters and Modified Sine Wave Inverters 

Batteries and Battery Backup Systems 

PHD supplies UPS Battery Cabinets, Battery Backup Power and Battery Backup Systems 

Solar Panels 

These include Solar Panels, Solar Connection Boxes, Solar Regulators and Home Solar Systems that are perfect for the home office or for those that work remotely from home. 

Your small or medium enterprise needs to keep the doors open when the power goes out. PHD supplies generators, power supplies, voltage stabilisers and more that will ensure you continue operating no matter what the grid decides to do. The only challenge is choosing the right one for your business. 


lights at a restaurant

Debunk Myths That Energy Used By Your SME is Seasonal

Most small businesses claim that their number one unpredictable and highest costs are their energy bill. Most of the energy used in businesses is electricity – it is time to start choosing practices that are energy-efficient to reduce these costs. It is a myth that energy used by SMEs is a seasonal issue – it isin fact, an all-year-round challenge. 

Small to medium businesses have the potential to save energy – this is usually dependent on the type of business and building they operate from. By sourcing energy-saving practices, SMEs can save between 10 to 30% on their energy bill. Straightforward efficiency practices and adjustments on behaviour can be easily adjusted without compromising on employee comfort. 

By Implementing a Couple of Energy-Saving Practices You Can Cut Your Energy Consumption 

Get Your Employees Involved 

It takes a team effort to save energy – it is a combined effort that will reap the biggest rewards. Get everyone involved and encourage your team to share their ideas on how they can innovatively safe energy and find ways to save costs. Before long you will have an energy-efficient culture in the office. 

You Can Pinpoint Your Biggest Energy Waste Through the Application of Data Analytics 

Use cutting-edge technology to pinpoint how and where energy is wasted in the office. Understanding how and where energy is wasted and where you can run a more efficient operation will put money back into the bank. 

How Much Energy Does Your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Consume? 

Your heating and aircon systems will perform less efficiently through wear and tear if they are not maintained properly from the get-go. Before every summer and winter season have these services, which will lead to longevity and save on repairs. 

Clean those filters  

Air particles need to be cleared from filters of heating and cooling systems during peak cooling and heating periods as this will result in more efficiently run systems, better quality air and ensure longevity. 

Filter Sunlight During Hot Summer Months to Save on Airconditioning Units 

Use solar film on your windows, awnings and plant trees and shrubs to filter the sun and direct it from the windows. Control direct sunlight with blinds. 

There is no Time Quite Like the Present to Install Solar Power 

Solar power will offer power security for your SME when the lights go out. Additionally, solar power will enable your business to be protected from rising energy costs and can be an all-round tool to implement energy strategic costs. 

Take A Tax Break by Installing Solar 

Take full advantage of any tax breaks or incentives when installing solar for your business. There are substantial tax breaks that have been placed by National Treasury to incentivise small to medium business to install their own generation of power by installing grid-tied ground-mounted or rooftop solar systems to generate power to warehouses, factories, farms, parking lots and buildings of every description. 

It is time to think out of the box when investigating ways to save power in your small to medium enterprise. Ask other small enterprises what systems they have implemented to make energy savings.

Grape vines at a wine farm

Wine Farms Taking Advantage of Solar Energy

Electricity prices are continuously going up. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that many wine farms of all sizes are turning to other ways of getting power for their farms, Renewable power generation, especially the power generated from solar photovoltaic is becoming increasingly popular. 

The whole of the continent of Africa enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year – this is according to the SA Department of Energy. Solar radiation globally is in the region of 220W/m2 for South Africa compared to other places that have only in the region of 150 W/m2 (the USA) and in the region of 100W/m2 for the UK and Europe. As the stats indicate – South Africa is one of the spots with the most sunshine in the world. 

The wine industry in South Africa boasts a long history of making as little impact as possible on the environment. 

It should come as no surprise that many wine farms throughout South Africa are installing Solar PV technology on their estates to create sustainable energy resources and to become less dependent on the power grid whilst reducing their carbon footprint.  

Many wine farms and wine farmers are keen on implementing conservation in their farming methods – solar power is one step further and makes sense. Winemaking consumes plenty of electricity and if this can be controlled with savings made in this area of wine production, then this money could be put to other, better use. 

As prices for electricity from the grid spiral out of control, it has become a matter of urgency for wine farms to turn to renewable power generation – particularly where solar photovoltaic is used to reduce the costs of power from the grid. 

Until quite recently, exorbitant costs of PV panels made it an expensive exercise to install solar PV – this was the case with most industries including the wine industry. Over the past couple of years, there has been a marked reduction in the cost of solar modules and are now more affordable to implement. 

The potential savings of solar plants will generate substantial amounts for wine farms – this applies to all winemakers, including the smaller farms.  

As with all businesses, wine farms need to save money, and with the right energy solutions for farms of all sizessolar will hedge the costs against any future electricity increases. 

H2 – Why should wine farms switch to and embrace solar? 

  • With solar energy, you will be able to protect your wine farm from any increases in the foreseeable future when it comes to increases in utility prices 
  • Installing solar on your wine farm will allow you the opportunity to make a difference  
  • Installing solar means that you can reduce your energy costs for running your farm 
  • Solar enables you, the wine farmer, to reduce your carbon footprint 
  • Become independent and powerful by not relying on an unstable power grid 
  • Become a beacon of environmental responsibility by installing clean power to use on your farm 
  • By implementing an environmentally friendly brand consumers will have confidence in your brand 
  • There are definite tax benefits with installing solar 
  • Solar is used for borehole pumps 
  • Quality is maintained as power is not compromised 

Tax benefits for installing solar on your wine farm 

To qualify for tax benefits from installing solar – all machinery, implements and utensils need to be owned by the taxpayer claiming for deductions. These can also be under credit arrangements 

These machines or implements are brought to the taxpayer for the first time 

These machines or implements are being used by the taxpayer in the generation of electricity from renewable energy resources 

A taxpayer is permitted a deduction of costs of the asset producing electricity at 50% of deduction costs in the first year of use, 30% in the second year and the rest in the 3rd year of use. If the system produces less than a megawatt then the taxpayer will be permitted a 100% deduction in the first year of use. 

Renewable energy is the obvious way moving forward with consumers driving the market for sustainable wines. It is only a question of time before the wine industry is driven entirely by the sun. 






Shopping Centres and Solar Power

Owners of shopping malls and shopping centres, are now, more than ever, opting for solar power energy resources. It is time to take back the power and to become independent from the power grid. 

The past ten years have seen the price of electricity in South Africa increasing more than 300%! This is a huge amount of money and there is no end in sight for increases and demand. Load shedding has cost businesses both large and small billions, not to mention the debilitating effect power outages have had on the economy. 

Solar energy is becoming more affordable and the advancement in batteries and technology has resulted in many shopping centres and malls going off the grid. 

The investment of solar photovoltaic systems could be one of the wisest decisions owners of retail malls and centres can make. Installing solar power can provide a huge advantage over other centres that are using power from the grid. 

It is no secret that the power utility is becoming more and more expensive with bills mounting up just to keep the lights on and the doors open. The owners of malls and other commercial buildings will gain a competitive edge by installing solar power on their rooftops.  

One of the biggest advantages is that there will be no power hikes. Over a decade or more shopping centres and malls will be paying the same amount for their utility usage, whereas, other malls and centres using power from the grid will see their electricity bills double, triple or quadruple in the same period. Additionally, going green and promoting an eco-friendly business is great PR. 

Solar panels guarantee free electricity for many years by installing solar – often generating free electricity for 25 years, although many solar panels can last up to forty years. 

Going off the grid 

Going independent and off the grid will result in savings in the long-term. The savings will soon pay for the solar installations and will keep the lights on when the power from the grid dips, surges, experiences brownouts and blackouts. The never-ending price hikes in electricity from the grid will become something of the past. Shopping malls and shopping centres will no longer be the victim of mismanagement and monopolism of the utility once they are using solar power. It is a good time for businesses to take back their power. 

Off the grid solutions could also include power stored in batteries, large capacitors and flywheels for times when there is low sunlight. Saved power is used when necessary.  

There are optional grid connections that are useful for the power to stay on when there is insufficient storage in your batteries. These solutions are a brilliant option for remote areas where power is required. 

Reducing your carbon footprint 

The biggest advantage of installing solar power for shopping malls and shopping centres is that it has zero-air pollution. This is over and above the fact that solar saves money, creates jobs and boosts economic development. 

 While our world is faced with the growing problem of global warming, installing solar power is one of the best ways for retail shopping centre owners to reduce their carbon footprint and in the process save money on future retail shopping center electricity bills. 

South Africa is blanketed in solar resources availability that is one of the highest in the world and has sunshine almost all year round. 

The solar irradiance levels, particularly in the North Cape and North-West Province, means that the strength of the solar power received is very usable. South Africa is well-placed to make use of free, reliable energy from the sun throughout the year. 

Shopping Centres and Shopping Malls are increasingly using solar power to power a clean energy future. Solar energy is one of the best options from a cleanliness aspect with no emissions released when using PV panels. 

South Africa is currently faced with numerous challenges in providing affordable, reliable energy in today’s complex energy market due to the continued rising demand for electricity. Owners of shopping malls and centres make a difference when using solar.