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How to Tell If You’ve Had a Power Surge

We live our lives around the convenience of electricity. This includes everything from computers to household appliances. We need to take all the steps to protect our electric appliances and gadgets from harmful power surges. 

You will soon realise there has been a power surgeThere are a few signs that may show your appliance or device experienced a power surge: 

  • The lights of digital devices and clocks will flash 
  • Devices stop working or are switched off 
  • A burnt, acidic acrid smell will emanate from the device
  • Surge protectors need resetting 

What is a Power Surge? 

  • A power surge happens when power flowing through an outlet is not delivered at a constant. The power could fluctuate between120 volts and 169 volts.  
  • Power does not flow constantly or evenly 
  • Damaging power surges is greater than 169 volts.  

What Happens When the Power Surges? 

  • When the power utility switches grids, power surges originate from this source 
  • Power surges also happen when there are electrical malfunctions in transformers or transformer lines 
  • Other power surges occur from lighting strikes. Gauteng is especially privy to lightning strikes 
  • Power surges can occur within the home or office. When air-conditioning units and refrigerators turn on and off, small surges occur 
  • There are brief power surges. The lights might flicker because the motors require extra energy 

Why Do Power Surges Cause Damage? 

Voltage surges over and above the usual operating voltage can cause an arc of electrical current. This occurs within the electrical device. Lighting strikes cause extreme power surges.  These often cause permanent damage suddenly. Smaller surges accumulate over time, causing damage to your electrical appliances. They do not do immediate damage, but over time the damage becomes noticeable. 

Use Surge Protectors from PHD to Prevent Electrical Surge Damage 

Invest in a surge protector to protect your appliances inside your home or office. PHD offers a wide range of top-notch surge protectors for all appliancesA surge protector diverts voltage surges, directing them safely to the ground. 

 

 

 

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What Is Eco-Tourism? The Top Five Eco-Friendly Lodges in Africa

Eco-tourism is about leaving your footprints softly on the Earth. The elephants that live around these wild places should leave the only heavy footprints. Source lodges and safari camps when traversing the content of Africa that take eco-tourism seriously. 

Choose safari lodges serious about preserving wildlife. Also, those that support the communities that live in the surrounding areas. Many safari lodges are now raising the bar for responsible stays. 

Choose One of These Five Eco-Friendly Lodges for Your Travels 

  • Why You Should Try Gibbs Farms in Tanzania – A Rare Gem 

Gibbs farm reuses and recycles all waste material. Everyone refers to Gibbs Farm as “Funiland”. You must see the carpenters busy creating works of art from wood scraps. Tailors thread leftover materials into cushion covers. Papermakers mix wastepaper with elephant dung into memorable stationery items. The lodge is eco-friendly from start to finish. 

  • See Community Development at Its Finest at Campi ya Kanzi in Kenya 

Husband and wife team, Luca Belpietro and his wife are owners of the lodge. They have established the Maasai Community Wilderness Trust. This trust cares for thousands of Maasai landowners living around the lodge. The trust has a primary school, employing fifty teachers. There is also a dispensary and three clinics. The trust offers compensation to the locals experiencing livestock losses. This is then traded for predator protection. We can all take a leaf out of the book of these owners.  

  • We Take Being Environmentally Friendly Seriously at Garonga Safari Camp 

Garonga Safari Camp in South Africa was completely overhauled in 2009. Water and sewerage are refiltered for safe reuse. Even game drive vehicles use happy biofuel. 

  • Meno a Kwena, Botswana is Committed to the Environment 

Meno a Kwena has dedicated itself to resolving human-wildlife conflicts. Job creation through land leases and employment opportunities provide the lodge with personnel. For travellers looking for an eco-friendly, , Meno a Kwena is your place. 

  • Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe Sustains Indigenous Communities 

Discover Singita Pamushana Safari Lodge in the heart of the Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe. The lodge provides employment, education, health, and other opportunities to the community. They feed 23 000 school children daily through community service. 

PHD Powerhouse Sustains the EnvironmentMaking a Difference 

At PHD we are of the belief that we should use what is available to us. South Africa enjoys many days of sunshine throughout the yearWe install solar systems, and by doing so, we take full advantage of this renewable resource. Contact us today for all your Solar needs. 

Solar Panels

Get Solar For Your Business and Save Money

Installing Solar in your Small to Medium-Sized Business Can Save You Money

Large blue-chip companies are benefiting from the installation of solar, but the big question is whether solar will benefit your small to medium-sized enterprise. One would presume this is about costs and expenses with many big businesses having access to unlimited budgets for solar installation. 

Truth be told is that solar installation for businesses holds the promise of saving money in the long-term and before long the money spent on the installation costs will pay for itself time and again. In other words. Solar is an investment that you simply cannot overlook when finding ways of saving money in your business. 

Look for Ways to Reduce Solar Installation Costs 

Claim back from the Tax Man for the installation of your solar system if you are a small to medium-sized enterprise. The government encourages businesses to install solar by offering a rebate at the end of the financial year. Find a solar company that specialises in the installation of solar in small businesses and take it from there. Large companies often use subcontractors to carry out the installation of solar – find a company willing to install your solar at a decent price if they specialise in small to medium-sized enterprises. By using a company that does not subcontract you can save as much as 30%. 

What Kind of Solar Are You Installing? 

There are three main types of solar when installing solar for businesses. One of these is solar on the rooftop which is great for retail configurations. The next two types of solar installations include ground mounts and carport installations. The kind of solar installed for your business will depend largely on what kind of business you run. Solar technologies are improving daily and therefore are lighter and cheaper to make and install. This will make a difference to business owners installing solar. Solar companies take shorter periods to install solar panels and systems, therefore the cost of labour is vastly reduced which minimises installation costs. 

PHD Making a Difference in Businesses Both Large and Small 

Find out how best to cut back on electricity costs by installing solar in your small to medium-sized business. PHD Powerhouse will offer you pertinent advice and assist with installing the right size solar for your specific needs and your niche business. 

 

Home appliances

5 Tips to Protect Your Electronics

With load shedding rearing its ugly head once again, it is obvious that this is something that will be staying with us for many months and years to come. Power cuts can play havoc on your electrical appliances and can have a devastating impact on electrical appliances. 

There are many ways you can protect your appliances against these powerful surges. It is no secret that load shedding has had a devastating impact on numerous electronics and electrical appliances. 

Five Smart Tips to Protect Your Appliances 

  • Try Disconnecting Whatever You Can  

Unplugging your fridge, TV, computer and any other electrical appliances from the wall to avoid damages. Bear in mind that if something is not plugged into a wall socket it simply cannot be damaged. This will save energy, protect your appliance and ensure you and your family are safe. There are many ways to protect your appliances, but the very best one would be unplugging your electric appliances. The moment load shedding starts, pull your plugs out – prevention is better than cure. 

  • Surge Protectors Play a Major Role 

Surge protectors will assist with protecting your electronic equipment. Get a surge protector for your electrical mains board and adaptor protectors. These are readily available from PHD Powerhouse where you can get all your power protection devices. Power protection is great in that excess power is diverted into a grounding wire. Only ever use a professional electrician to install power protectors on your DB board. Call PHD Powerhouse for further information regarding surge protectors. 

  • UPS Systems Are A Must When Protecting Against Load Shedding 

Many of us are now working from home especially after lockdown as a result of COVID19. The way many businesses have changed, and the added pressure of load shedding will add to our woes. A UPS system is a good solution for your electronic equipment when there are dips and surges – this is a great way to protect your modem and router especially as we are so reliant on these.  

  • How Does Your Insurance Pay Out When Electronic Equipment Is Damaged 

Some insurance houses cover your electrical appliances and sensitive electronics as a result of power surges, yet again some don’t. Read the fine print and ask your insurance service provider whether you are covered for these claims. Revisiting your insurance policy is a smart move although it does not fall under the prevention of damages occurring to your appliances. 

  • Surge Protection Power Strips Are Practical and Inexpensive 

Surge protection power strips are a great way to protect your appliances and it does not cost a lot either! The power strips come equipped with a fuse that will fail should there be a surge in the power utility, thus cutting out appliances that are plugged in. This is a cheap and easy way to protect your appliances. 

The PHD Powerhouse Difference 

Let us advise and assist with all your power queries and questions. We make a difference to all your power needs and protect appliances and equipment of all sizes. We are the PHD Powerhouse difference making a difference for peace of mind. 

hands typing on a laptop

6 Clever Ways to Save on Your Utility Bill

For many homes and businesses, the electricity bill is perhaps one account that seems to remain high no matter how hard you try. With so many individuals now working remotely from their home offices, this is perhaps the best time to cut back and find smart ways to put money back into your pocket. 

By running the usual electronics from your home or office, this could add on as much as 20% to your power bill. This does not include the heating of water and cooling your premises using air conditioning units. 

Here Are Six Clever Ways to Save Electricity 

  • Switch all your light bulbs to energysaving globes. This should be the very first step to take when embarking on an energy-saving exercise. Low energy light bulbs use as much as 70 to 90 % less energy than other bulbs. Low energy light bulbs also last a lot longer 
  • Programme your thermostat on your geyser – consider this as a huge saver of energy especially during the cold winter months. Set your thermostat according to your schedule which will mean you won’t have a cold shower if you forget to switch your geyser back on 
  • Make your windows work for you. Open the shades in the winter to let the warm sunshine in and in summer consider installing plastic window blinds that will filter the harsh sunlight to a large degree, cutting down on costs of air conditioning units and fans. The sun might not replace heating entirely, but it certainly will make a difference to your electricity bills during winter 
  • Invest in energy-saving appliances wherever possible. This could include washing machines, dishwashers, or combination fax, printer, and copier machines. Machines that perform duel functions that are light on energy bills, such as washer/dryer machines and multiple function office machines are great moneysavers, plus they save space. Many of us are working from home; therefore, it is important to make everything work as economically as possible 
  • Switch off your electrical devices wherever possible as many of these are in standby mode and gobble energy even when not switched on. They are referred to as being vampire appliances. 
  • Remove all chargers from plug outlets as these consume energy even when not being used 

 

These are a few ways to save on your power bills. Installing solar will also make a huge difference when looking at long-term ways to save power and becoming independent from the grid. PHD offers solar solutions – why not make the switch today? 

Hand holding a tablet

Three Tech Tips to Keep You Going When the Power Goes Out

Many businesses and individuals have put systems in place for when the power goes. As load shedding gains momentum and is here to stay it is important to keep going and to keep the doors of all businesses open especially after the aftermath of the COVID19 pandemic. 

Thinking smartly and creating ways to make your business tick over is easily achievable if you are a little creative. It is time to think out of the box, finding ways to keep everything happening during blackouts, surges, dips, and brownouts. 

Small to medium enterprises are easily disabled from running smoothly daily when the power goes down and the negative impact can soon tally up to thousands of rands. 

There is good news, though and by preparing for the inevitable your business need not suffer. 

Apply These Three Tech Tips to Keep Your Business Going No Matter What the Power Does 

  • If you have not already done so, there is little that can second a cloud backup and recovery system. There is no need to lose essential files and important documents ever again. Ensure you get a system going that will keep all your important information secure and up-to-speed – this can all be done in the cloud so that your entire team will be able to access files and information at any given time. This is the best way to share information, and now with many individuals working from home, what better way than storing and sharing information in the cloud? Teams are an excellent option for those working online and sharing everything from information to presentations and having meetings. 
  • Backup systems such as UPS, generators, and other protective equipment are essential to protect delicate electronics and to keep the power on long enough to switch machines off and to save any work required saving. 
  • Ensure you always have enough data on your cellphone so that when your internet is down you can simply switch over to your data. Buy LED battery lights with USB ports to keep your phone charged. Investing in MiFi is also useful for setting up a mobile hotspot. 

Businesses need to keep running regardless of what the power decides to do. At PHD we have come up with solutions to many SME power dilemmas. The powerful range of protection devices will assist in supporting and serving sensitive equipment and data in applications across the board with a focus on small to medium companies. 

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Solar Energy Trends for 2020 in South Africa

“What’s Hot and What’s Not in the World of Solar Energy in South Africa” 

With so many areas across South Africa experiencing many days of sunshine – almost 2 500 hours of sunshine a year, and with the radiation levels on average between 4.5 and 6.5 kWh/m2 a day, it should be an obvious choice to go the solar energy route. 

Solar energy is cost-effective, there are no emissions (unlike non-renewable energy), and it is safe as well as being environmentally friendly. 

South Africa’s installed solar energy capacity is growing fast and this is expected to increase in the next couple of years. The solar industry in South Africa and the rest of the continent of Africa is part of a dynamic and burgeoning market. 

 Many factors need to be considered when it comes to the implementation of solar energy on a grand scale in South Africa. Some of these include the advancement of solar energy technology, the climate crisis, public awareness of climate changes, commodity prices, government policies, the cost of fossil fuels, and more. 

What’s Hot and What’s Not in 2020 

Solar Battery Prices are Becoming More Affordable in 2020 

As the demand for solar increases in 2020, the prices for solar batteries are becoming more affordable for the average business or individual.  

Solar power is intermittent as it relies on the rays of the sun. Solar panels produce power when the sun shines. On cloudy or overcast days and at night solar cannot be extracted from the sunrays. Energy is stored in batteries. This then enables the solar system to supply power when it is cloudy or when the sun sets. Batteries, therefore, assist in powering solar energy systems. 

There Are Two Main Types of Solar Batteries 

The two main types of solar batteries include lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries 

Lead-acid batteries are the same kind that power motor cars 

The second type of solar battery is a lithium-ion battery which is a more intricate battery, but it lasts longer, requires minimal maintenance, although they usually cost a lot more than lead-acid type batteries. The good news is that the cost of lithium-ion batteries has decreased over time and is now a lot more affordable than before. The downward trend of costs of lithium-ion batteries continues to drop as popularity for solar increases. 

The demand for solar is increasing and consumer interesting is growing and is viewed as being a necessity and not a luxury as thousands of utility consumers are left in the dark too often. 

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Tourism Is Back – How Sustainable Is Your Establishment

“As Tourism Opens Its Doors in South Africa, The Need for Sustainable Tourism is Essential” 

South Africa is one of the world’s most exquisite travel destinations with its teeming wildlife, pristine beaches, verdant forests, majestic mountain ranges and enviable climate. These are all perfect drawcards for millions of tourists that visit each year. Sadly, COVID19 has had an extremely devastating effect on the tourism industry. More so now than ever before every penny should be counted. Sustainable efforts are seriously in need of being ramped up. 

How Sustainable is Your Establishment? 

Sustainable tourism is a brilliant tool for developing the tourism industry as the general idea is to highlight how everyone in the industry can contribute to making tourism more eco-friendly and how they can preserve the environment. 

Operating sustainably, tourism businesses need to look at conserving water and to minimise the carbon footprint of the establishment on the environment. These should be the top priorities of tourism establishments in South Africa. The key is being adaptable and changing the way we do things. 

The world is changing – this is apparent after being faced with a pandemic that no-one saw coming. To operate in a sustainable manner, waste should be minimised and wherever possible, water should be conserved. This will result in a reduction of an establishment’s carbon footprint on the environment. 

Energy and water are high on the list of consumption for hotels. For establishments to adhere to sustainability rules and regulations, hotels, bed and breakfast establishments among others are encouraged to use solar panels for heating and to use globes that are energyefficient to cut back on electricity bills. 

How the Tourism Industry Has Put Pressure on SA’s Natural Resources  

Tourism puts immense pressure on the country’s natural resources. Tourism is responsible for generating 10% of the country’s GDP and responsible for employing one in every 10 people. According to World Tourism, the industry is responsible for almost 5% of global emissions, being responsible for around 4,6% of the global warming that takes place. 

Tourism puts huge pressure on the natural resources of a country and is especially the case in South Africa with the country experiencing severe droughts and challenges with the grid. 

The hospitality and tourism industries have a responsibility to practice sustainable tourism. Using solar power or even replacing all globes with energy-efficient globes is a small step in the right direction.  

A sustainability approach should, therefore, be instilled in all aspects of the tourism industry including the support of sustainable suppliers of foods and cleaning products. 

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.