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.

Turn off the lights when the sun comes up

In the rush to get out the door in the morning it’s easy to leave the odd bedside lamp or bathroom light brightly blazing in an empty house. One light in isolation left on all day doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But multiply that out to 24/7 and several burning bulbs can be stealthy power freeloaders cumulatively adding dollars to your annual electricity bill. No question those dollars and cents are better left in your own pocket. It’s definitely worth building a final lights-off check around the house before you leave in the morning. Whether it’s educating lethargic teenagers or nocturnal flat mates to make them aware of the consequences, the cost benefits of flipping the switch cannot be underestimated. Take a mindful approach to any lights needlessly left to burn, switch them off and save money 

Normal TV transmission will resume 

New Zealanders spend an average 23 hours per week watching television and time spent listening to radio is up in 2022. Most homes only had one TV 25 years ago and everyone gathered in the lounge to watch and fight over the remote. With the arrival of space-saving flat screen TVs, many homes now have multiples, maybe with one in every bedroom and a couple more in living areas. The power required to have your TV on permanent standby or flickering away on mute to an absent audience is another drain over time on your power costs. The ECCA states that appliances are becoming more energy efficient and televisions are no exception. However, adopting the habit of switching off household TVs and radios will certainly contribute to additional savings on your annual bill.


Seal the deal on fridges and freezers

 Your fridge and freezer are on permanent duty 24 hours a day, and therefore considered the single biggest power consumer for the household. Some stats put the running costs at 13% of your total household energy bill. Just because it’s running constantly doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to ensure it is conserving energy. Any insomniac sleeping near the kitchen will tell you the buzz of a poorly maintained and badly sealed fridge is torture! To assess whether your fridge is operating at optimum efficiency, look out for these signs: 

  • Condensation on the outside of the doors
  • Water leaking into a puddle on the floor
  • Slack seals not gripping tightly when shutting the door
  • Frost build up more than 2 cm thick in the freezer compartment
  • Noisy buzzing for long periods as the fridge struggles to cool items
  • Food spoiling well ahead of the use by date
  • Products freezing in the fridge compartment or softening in the freezer

 Modern fridges are designed to be more efficient than their older counterparts but attention to the maintenance of a well-ventilated fridge and freezer can only be advantageous. Expect to enjoy longer-lasting high-quality food and a slimmer monthly power bill.


Curtains – an open and shut case

The discussions around keeping our New Zealand homes warm has been highlighted in recent years with the introduction of changes to the Healthy Homes Standards for rental properties. The need to keep a warm ambient room temperature on cold dark days can be enhanced by having the drapes and curtains closed to prevent heat loss via uncovered glazing. Running a heater in a room with the curtains drawn will be a cosier and more energy efficient strategy that will subsequently show up as lower power bills. Conversely, the need to open up the room for fresh air and natural sunlight will reduce the need to run a heater or dehumidifier more than necessary, again positively affecting your power costs.

The gift of a wrapped hot water cylinder

Wasted energy lost through the walls of an uninsulated water cylinder (known as standing losses) – even with the more modern energy efficient electric ones – can be alleviated by the extra insulation of a wrap. A cylinder wrap can save you up to $100 per annum in power costs. The smaller low-pressure cylinders and unlagged pipes in older New Zealand homes are still common. Maintaining plentiful hot water for a home is especially critical in winter when household demand can be higher. Investing in a cylinder wrap and pipe lagging at a relatively low price point can see it pay for itself in power bill savings in 12 months. This straightforward DIY modification is a game-changer for the household budget – not to mention family harmony! 

Charge then switch off computers and devices

The escalation of our dependence on home technology has changed the face of our habits and how we live our daily lives. Many of us rely on having every bar topped up to 100% and many get the jitters if they’re threatened with dropping off the grid for any length of time. Most New Zealand homes are littered with charging cables and portable power banks to ensure we’re fully connected to our world at all times. The perpetual need to recharge PCs, laptops, iPads, iPhones, eBooks and other smart devices can turn a device from a sipper into a power vampire if we don’t unplug on achieving a full charge. WIRED magazine also claims that you’ll squeeze more life out of your lithium polymer battery if you unplug when you hit the ton. The incremental savings made, and better device maintenance will be worth the extra step in your daily recharging routine. 

 Key moves for fresh air and ventilation

New Zealand’s diverse climate is a game of two halves with the North Island generally having warm subtropical summertime weather and the South Island’s West Coast the highest rainfall in the country. Factor in the inland alpine areas where temperatures can plummet as low as -10 Celsius in winter and the common denominator is damp air. This will push power bills up as homeowners struggle to control ambient air quality and adequate ventilation to ensure good health and prevent mould and condensation. Moist air ingress can adversely impact your household power budget. Drafts and cold air seeping in may have you racing to switch on the dehumidifier or prolonging heat pump times but by simply addressing the way your home is ventilated in all four seasons will pay dividends in a multitude of ways. Ensuring adequate flow, good ventilation and well-sealed, reliable joinery will contribute not just to comfortable indoor temperatures and fewer visits to the doctor, but also improved home security.

 A plug for modern power outlets and surge protectors

With all the labour-saving devices and small appliances in the 21st century, recently built New Zealand homes are now built with far more power outlets than ever before. As a result, appliances kept plugged in constantly must have a consistent and safe draw and the outlets must be modern and reliable. Establishing that your appliances are sipping power for optimum savings and safety is pre-empted by checking the specifications on an appliance when you buy it. Surge protectors will help to safeguard your precious assets in the event of a damaging power surge and a multiplug box allows you the freedom to safely plug in multiple appliances at one hub.

Are your daily power charges the most economical available?  

It’s a good idea to regularly assess whether your daily and per kWh charges are delivering the most cost-effective power supply to suit your needs. The size of a household can expand and contract over time and this will always have an impact on the amount of power used and overall consumption habits.  A couple who work away from home Monday to Friday is a completely different dynamic from the family of five who have one parent working from home and a teenager who can’t live without hair straighteners! Checking in with your current retailer or shopping around with other companies to make comparisons for better options is time well spent. The resulting savings can become disposable income in your wallet - or better used on other household expenses.

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