Note: The information contained in this section offers general advice about equipment that is sometimes used in an effort to reduce power usage. However this equipment does not guarantee power savings – always consult the manufacturer and product manual for individual products’ specific information. Powershop does not officially endorse products. Always be sure to do research on any product you’re considering buying for effectiveness and safety. A qualified electrician can also be consulted to ensure your home is not drawing excess power.
Getting into good behaviour around saving energy is one of the best ways to try to reduce a power bill. But there’s also some power saving equipment that can be purchased for the home or workplace designed to better manage consumption of electricity by your appliances, lights and other items requiring power. We’ll investigate some of these here.
In the following sections you'll learn things like:
- Cheap ways to reduce power use of certain items.
- Where to find these products.
- Broad price estimate of power saving equipment.
Equipment that reduces power consumption
Just look around the house or workplace – there are a lot of things plugged into the walls aren’t there? We’re sure there’s a good reason for (most of) it, but have you thought about whether your appliances or even lights are drawing more power than needed? Consider looking into some of these products that are widely available online and in stores designed to reduce power consumption.
Energy-saving LED lights
They might cost more than the standard incandescent bulb to buy at first, but these LED (Light-emitting diode) bulbs use up to 85% less energy according to Gen Less.
The savings to your power bills with all lights changed to LED will be noticeable over the year. And it’s not just the power use of LEDs that’s better than traditional bulbs. LED bulbs usually last much longer too, which can make the higher purchase price easier to justify!
Some LED bulbs are ‘smart’, meaning they can be dimmed and timed remotely with an app these cost more of course.
Price range: Typically between $15-35 NZD (standard bulb)
Read more about managing lights in our dedicated guide.
Any appliances that require a heavy load like heaters, ovens, and washing machines should be plugged directly into the wall socket. But for other smaller electrical equipment, you may wish to invest in a reputable high-quality multi-plug board. Only choose multi-plugs that offer safety features.
The power saving? Having chargers, TV and a console plugged into a multi-plug with an ‘off’ master switch can make the process of flicking all appliances off very easy.
Do not buy low cost, cheaply made multi-plug strips or adapters as these can be a serious fire hazard. Never overload the multi-plug beyond recommended level.
Price range: Only look at high quality multi-plug boards with safety features, starting from around $60 NZD.
These gadgets plug into your wall socket and then are plugged into by other appliances or multi-plug strips. They have timer functions on them to switch off (or on) at certain times of day. This acts as a way to make sure equipment is not drawing any power during times of inactivity. When some appliances are plugged in but switched off, they can still draw some power in standby mode.
Have a computer desk with monitor, chargers and lamp all on the same multi-plug strip? While still making sure your multi-plug unit is safe and not overloaded, plug it into a timer and set it to switch off a short time after you stop using the home office for the day.
Price range: Typically between $10-$40 NZD
Heaters on timer or thermostat-controlled plug-in
Heat pumps are usually one of the more energy efficient heating options – but not everyone has these in their home. If you’re looking at getting a plug-in heater, make sure it has a timer function so you can set it to switch off at certain times to save power.
You can also buy thermostat-controlled plug-in devices that switch the heater off at the wall when a set temperature is reached. These are sometimes opted for over a heater’s own thermostat as they are placed away from the heater itself, often giving a more accurate reading of room temperature.
These timers are useful in places like the child’s bedroom in winter, where parents wish to ensure a good night’s sleep and even temperature. Choosing a safe, reliable heater on a switch-off timer or thermostat function may help keep the room warm and heating costs down. Remember to keep the bedroom door open and room well ventilated!
Price range: Typically between $40-$60 NZD.
Towel rack timer
A towel rack is an excellent way to dry out your towels for the next shower. However, it really doesn’t need to be left on all day and night.
Adding a towel rack timer that switches the rack on and off automatically during the day, may save a noticeable amount of power over the course of a year.
These timers can be set and concealed behind walls for a clean look. They must be installed by a registered electrician – don’t install these yourself.
Price range: From $15 up to around $60 NZD for the timer unit only plus electrician installation cost.
Efficient shower head and tap fittings
While a lot of the efforts households make to reduce the demand daily showers and baths have on the power bill focus around behaviours and the hot water cylinder, there’s an even simpler way to bring usage down: the shower head. A lot of homes’ showers use more water than is needed.
Installing a modern showerhead designed to reduce water usage won’t cost much, but can save significant amounts in wasted hot water. One of the biggest concerns people have around interfering with the shower is a worry that pressure will be too low for a comfortable, effective bathing experience. But luckily bathroom equipment exists for a reasonable price that’s designed to regulate flow or even aerate water. By doing this, the feeling of a substantial shower or basin tap is still there, while the shower is only drawing enough water required to get the job done well.
By controlling the hot water cylinder’s maximum temperature to a safe, practical level, sensible water pressure and incorporating a shower head that manages the flow of water, the home’s hot water usage will decrease significantly, especially if you’ve managed to bring the average time down to 5 minutes per shower
Top 6 tips for buying power saving equipment:
Always choose a safe, tested product.
Do your research – and read reviews.
Don’t pick budget options – they can be dangerous.
A more expensive lighting product (like LED bulbs) can be cheaper in the long run.
Make sure your energy use behaviour is good first.
Take care of insulation and environmental factors in the home or workplace.