The easiest power saving you make is to use less power! This winter reduce your power bills by following these simple power hacks.
The days are now getting shorter, the nights are colder, and we are still in lockdown. If you are down to looking at your bills for entertainment or amazement and wondering how your power bill got so big ( 3.4 % increase year on year for the last 12 years according to MBIE) here are ways to reduce that bill without spending more money.
Energy bills tend to increase over winter as families across the country crank up their heaters and go into hibernation mode. However, with a bit of planning, it is possible to keep your power bill in check this winter. Here’s how.
1. Turn off your appliances when you’re not using them
Regardless of the season, one of the simplest ways to reduce power consumption is to turn your appliances off at the wall. (Appliances left on standby can cost you more than $100 a year on your power bills.)
Most devices – including your TV, gaming consoles, printer and just about every other gadget in your home – don’t switch off completely when you power them down. Instead, they enter standby mode, an operational mode that requires a small amount of electricity.
As a nation, New Zealand wastes about $100 million on standby power every single year. You can save about $100 annually by turning off your appliances at the wall when you’re not using them.
2. Keep your home dry
You might be surprised to learn that the average New Zealand household produces about eight litres of moisture every day from regular activities such as showering and cooking. This tends to be a bigger problem in winter, when the wet weather makes our homes even damper.
The more moisture that’s in the air, the more expensive it is to heat your home. This means that one of the best ways to heat your home more efficiently over winter is to keep your home dry.
Open your curtains during the day to let in some warmth, open doors and windows to air out your home and wipe away any condensation that forms on your windows or walls. Avoid drying clothes indoors as this creates more moisture in the air.
3. Wash your clothes in cold water and have shorter showers
- Reduce shower time – a 15 minute shower costs around $1, a 5 minute shower around 33c. A family of 4 could be saving around $18 a week just by taking shorter showers. That’s $900 a year.
- Use cold washes – unless you have an especially dirty load. Modern washing machines and detergents clean well using cold water. A hot water wash can use 10 times more electricity than a cold wash.
4. Be smart with your dryer
Gloomy weather can wreak havoc on your laundry schedule but remember that relying on your clothes dryer can be expensive. Clothes dryers are one of the most energy-hungry household appliances and typically use about $1 of electricity per load.
Reduce laundry costs by always air drying your clothes and avoiding the dryer unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you do have to use the dryer, try to remove as much moisture from your clothes as possible (either by air drying them first or using your washing machine’s spin cycle) before putting them in the dryer. Remember to regularly clean the lint filter, as this will allow your dryer to work more efficiently.
5. Use heaters sparingly
While it’s true that most types of household heaters are gradually becoming more energy efficient, heating still accounts for about 30 percent of the average Kiwi power bill. With this in mind, have a think about how you can use your heating appliances more efficiently over winter.
Turn down your heater a notch or two and put on some warmer clothes. In addition, limiting your use of electric blankets and heated towel rails ($170 per year install timers ) can also help you save on power without having a major impact on your day to day life.
- Turn your heaters off when you don’t need them – rather than leaving them on when you’re not there, this includes your heat pump.
- Set your heater thermostat – aim for 18 to 20˚C.
- Many heaters are only big enough to heat one room – so close doors and in the evening pull curtains.
- Use a heater directly in the room you want to heat – and keep the door shut (unless you have central heating)
6. Use your heat pumps efficiently
About 1 in 4 New Zealand homes now use heat pumps. While heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating, some models are notably more energy-intensive than others. The good news is there are a number of things you can do to help your heat pumps function more efficiently and keep your power bill down over winter.
- Only turn your heat pump on when you actually need it and never leave it switched on when you leave the house.
- Avoid using “Auto” mode. This setting requires more power than other heating modes as it makes the heat pump continuously switch between heating and cooling to maintain a steady temperature.
- Remember to regularly clean the filters of your heat pumps. Over time, dust, dirt and other pollutants can accumulate in your filters and affect the efficiency of your heat pumps.