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Give your home an energy make over during lockdown

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Home energy makeover

If you’re one of the many New Zealanders catching up on home maintenance and safe DIY activities during lockdown, this is a great time to give your home an energy makeover. There are lots of things you could do to make your home more energy efficient. Here are some simple thing your can do at home to reduce power use, and save on your power bill:

1. Make sure you’re on the right power plan

If you haven’t checked your power plan in the last few months, this is a great time to compare your power plan to check that you’re still on the best plan for you. Switching to the best power deal is one of the easiest ways to reduce your power bill now. Take a few minutes to compare power plans with Power Compare or give our customer support team a call to chat through the options on 0508 2COMPARE (0508 226672).

2. Have a family plan for how you use power

It’s much easier to reduce the amount of electricity you use at home if you have a plan. Sit down with your family or flatmates to have a chat – try to think about which rooms you need to heat, which you don’t, and make sure everyone knows to keep internal doors shut. If you tend to do separate loads of laundry, think about combining washes so you’re doing a full load every time. A bit of planning and a few small changes can all add up to big savings on your electricity bill.

3. Research your heating options and choose the best option for you

The typical New Zealand home spends 14% of their power on heating. A key way to take control of your spending on power is to make a family plan, consider how you use each room, and compare the costs of different heaters to choose the most efficient type of heat.  

For larger rooms that you use regularly, it may be worth paying the upfront cost to install a fixed heater with lower running costs. Electric heaters will be better for smaller rooms or rooms you only want to heat occasionally.  Be strategic and only heat the rooms you are in.

4. Check whether you qualify for the Winter Energy Payment

If your employment situation has changed during the lockdown period, there may support available from the government. For example, the Winter Energy Payment was doubled this year to make sure New Zealand’s most vulnerable people can still heat their home this winter.

5. Seal Air leaks

A cold draught sneaking in under your door can create a real chill in winter. This can easily be fixed with a draught stopper, excluder or door snake. There are plenty of other ways a cold draught can get into your house. Check how well your windows and doors shut out the cold, and try to block any gaps. Also check out:

  • Chimneys and fireplaces
  • attic hatches
  • where dryer vents pass through walls
  • fans or vents
  • pipes (for example under the sink)
  • cable TV and phone lines
  • electrical and gas service entrances
  • electrical outlets and switch plates

6. Turn unused appliances off at the wall

Do you have any appliances sitting on standby around your house? These are appliances that are “off” but still plugged in and switched on at the wall, often with little red lights glowing somewhere. This passive power use is also known as vampire power – for example phone chargers, TVs or microwaves that are constantly on slowly sucking up small amounts of power.  Turning them off at the wall, or unplugging them can save you about $100 a year.  

7. Switch to a cold wash

Setting your washing machine to a cold wash cycle can help save around $80 a year. Save the hot wash for stubborn stains, a cold wash should do the trick for most loads of laundry

8. Dry your clothes outside (if it’s not raining!)

Every time you dry your laundry in the tumble dryer it costs around $1. This will quickly add up on your power bill over winter. The tumble dryer is definitely an important tool to keep your home warm and dry during winter, but try to be strategic about when you use it. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and try to do laundry on sunny days.

9. Give your appliances some love

Show appliances like your heat pump, tumble dryer, or kitchen extractor fans some love and make sure they’re running efficiently. Most filters can easily be removed and cleaned at home. A clean filter will make a big difference to the efficiency and running cost.  While you’re at it, when was the last time you cleaned your dishwasher or washing machine?

10. Have shorter showers

Shorter showers save a lot of energy, and showers use less hot water than baths. If you are trying to reduce your power bill, it may be worth limiting long hot baths to certain nights of the week. Having short showers can help save a family of four around $450 a year. Slowing the shower flow by not turning on the tap the whole way will also reduce the amount of water you use.

 

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