See how much you could save on power. Upload a recent bill and get a free estimate.

See how much you could save on power. Upload a recent bill and get a free estimate.

With the cost of living on the rise, our monthly expenses are typically the place we’ll look to cut back and save. It’s not until we take stock of these that we truly appreciate how much the little costs add up. The power bill is one expense that fluctuates across the year, with some spikes when the weather is colder. Spending more than is necessary on power is money you don’t get back and could’ve been better spent on other household expenses. But are there power habits that can easily be adjusted to make savings? Of course there is! We’ve collated some of them below.

1.  Curb the epic showers 

First things first, we reckon that households need to take a good hard look at their bathroom habits. We understand that everyone has their own bathroom routine but showering for long periods of time is simply going to cost the bill payer a lot more in energy costs than needed.

Most of the time showers run long because people aren’t conscious of the amount of time they’re spending. Fair enough too - it’s where many of us do our best thinking (or performing)! If you’re finding that multiple showers in the morning are more than five minutes per person, there’s going to be savings you can potentially unlock through encouraging everyone to be more aware of how long they’re spending under the hot water.

Wintertime is often where people use showers to warm themselves up - an easy but expensive choice. For anyone on a plan with a retailer that charges more in winter, you’ll be paying a double whammy - higher cost of power and more power consumed.

It’s hard to change habits quickly, so start by bringing the average time down by a few minutes. Then after a few weeks when everyone is used to cutting the time down, move this within around five minutes. The average 15-minute shower costs $1. Imagine bringing four people’s shower times down from 15 minutes to five. That would equate to approximately $960 of annual savings. Not an amount of money to be sneezed at when you consider what else that money could be spent on - holiday, Christmas presents, car servicing and the rest.

2.  Time your oven’s preheating

Now let’s move from the bathroom into the kitchen, where there’s loads of electrical appliances in daily use. The biggest energy sucker is the oven. While even modern ovens provide energy efficient options, they still demand plenty of electricity to make sure your kai is cooked properly.  

Where households go wrong with cooking in the oven though, is the preheating times. We’ve been conditioned to wait a long time for ovens to heat up and even with modern ovens, we have a tendency to turn them on to pre-heat long before they’re needed.  

But in actual fact, we don’t need to do this. Check the manual of your oven to see if there’s an option for the oven to beep when preheated. Otherwise, you should set your phone timer when you switch it on and stay nearby. Watch for how long it takes for the oven light to click off and you’ll know how long it takes for your oven to preheat. Once you’ve established how long it takes to heat up to certain temperatures, you’ll be able to coordinate your food prep so that the oven doesn’t spend lots of time at full temperature without actually cooking something.

By getting your preheat times under control, we think you’ll easily notice the saving of power in that busy 5-7pm period. 

3.  Do some maintenance around gaps in windows and doors

The reality is that many New Zealand homes are old and weren’t really built for the weather conditions that our country has to offer. This is changing with renovations and new builds, as standards around insulation and thermals are higher, bringing dwellings up to a sensible standard. However, if you’ve got a home that’s older, you may find you spend a lot trying to keep it heated on cold days.


If it’s an option, considering double glazing might be a good move long term. But if you’re looking for things to do today, we’d suggest checking all your windows and external doors. Are the entrances adequately insulated from the outside? Are there gaps in windows created by buckled framing or worn latches? These gaps are going to create ways for cold, damp air to get into the home and create real heating challenges, not to mention letting moisture in. A visit to your home DIY store may offer cheap options to address these issues in the short term. Ultimately, it may be worth considering replacement if you’re a homeowner. If you’re a renter, speak with your landlord about healthy homes standards and any concerns the home has around drafts or insulation issues.

4.  Lights on in the entire home

If a light is on in a room, and there’s no one around to see them, are they really on? Unfortunately, yes. And they’re draining power needlessly while they’re at it. Light switches should be placed within easy reach when entering a hallway or room, so there’s really no good reason for them to be left on. While LEDs may be designed to draw less power than incandescent bulbs, any energy demand at the scale of the whole home is going to become costly over the long term.  

This might be the quickest tip of them all to implement. So what are you waiting for? Take a tour around the home and switch off!

5.  Warm washing clothes

Running a warm wash demands more power over an extended period of time with many typical wash cycles often sitting around an hour. Not only does this warm water hit you in your pocket, but many clothes’ labels specifically state cold wash only. Warm washing clothes when they’re not meant to be can therefore cost you in more ways that one - the additional price attached to warm water and potential damage to garments needing replacement more often.  

We’re not saying never warm wash – sometimes necessity calls. But as default, wash your clothes with cold water.  

6.  Using the dryer by default regardless of weather

While we’re in the laundry - are you using your dryer daily as part of the typical washing routine? Dryers are excellent appliances during stretches of cold damp weather, but they do drain a lot of power to produce heat as part of their drying process. Many households use dryers every single day, regardless of the weather. Not only is this wasting money but you’re missing out on the benefits of drying clothes outside - natural sunlight kills bacteria in clothing and leaves it smelling fresh.  

Use the dryer sparingly on the days where it’s simply needed to get dry, clean washing ready in time. You might also want to try using it for smaller garments that can be dried quicker, meaning shorter drying times and less of a hit to your power bill.

7.  Having the heaters turned up too high

Did you know that for most homes with reasonable insulation, a heat pump or standalone heater should only really emit enough heat to maintain an 18-20 degree room temperature? These temps are generally considered to be comfortable for living and sleeping year-round. When it’s really cold, we’re often tempted to crank up the heat pump to 23, 24 degrees and beyond. Even the most efficient heat pumps (and they are usually more efficient than standalone options) will spike the power bill if the temp settings are too high.

Consider along with your temperature settings the timing of your heating. Many households would save on heating by timing their heaters to maintain a comfortable mild temperature, instead of using them at extreme settings to combat really cold temperatures. Make sure you consult the manual and power efficiency information of your heating appliance and be prepared to experiment a bit to get the right mix of heating operation and a cosy environment.


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