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Energy Saving Tips

It’s a classic case of little things adding up to fat savings. Just like you, we’re keen to see smart use of energy to keep costs down - so we’ve put together some tips on how to keep your home snuggly ‘n dry in winter, cooler in summer… and save money!

Heating

 No cost tips:

  • Grab as much sun as possible – keep those windows clean and don’t let trees shade the house
  • Close the doors and curtains in rooms you’re not heating
  • Close your curtains just before dark to keep in the heat
  • Move heaters away from windows so the heat doesn’t escape
  • Turn off heaters in rooms you’re not using
  • Thermostats are great. Use them to switch heating on when you need it and to switch off when they hit the right temperature
  • Block off your fireplace when you’re not using it (then don’t forget to unblock it later!)
  • Turn off your heated towel rail in summer or when you’re not using it
  • Open a window when you’re showering to avoid moisture forming. Dry air’s healthier and easier to heat
  • Put an extra blanket on the bed instead of turning on the electric blanket 

Some investment:

  • Replace worn seals on your oven, fridge or freezer so hot and cold air can’t escape
  • Weatherproof your house to minimise air leaks - especially around doors and windows. You can get weather seals from a hardware store
  • Fix any gaps in your ceiling insulation
  • Block chimneys and draughts around doors
  • Use a door ‘snake’ to keep draughts out of the rooms you're heating
  • Use a ceiling fan to distribute heat in winter and cool air in summer
  • Replace broken heating thermostats
  • Heat pumps are an efficient way of both heating and cooling your home
  • Install extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom to avoid moisture forming – dry air is healthier and easier to heat
  • A dehumidifier or domestic ventilation system can help keep your house dry

Gas Heating

Piped gas gives you instant warmth with no warm-up phase, so it’s more efficient than other heating methods. Gas heaters are also less expensive and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions than electric heaters.

A few things to remember when installing your gas heater:  

  • Make sure a Registered Gasfitter installs your flued gas heater
  • Choose the right sized flued gas heater for the area you’re heating
  • Flued gas heaters are more efficient if the recommended clearance spaces are always maintained
  • Make sure your gas heater is serviced regularly
  • If you have an LPG gas heater, make sure the area’s well ventilated

Water Heating

No cost tips:

  • Fix dripping taps
  • Have showers instead of baths – try to keep them shortish
  • Use cold water when filling your jug, rinsing dishes and washing clothes
  • Switch off your hot water if you’re away for more than two weeks

 

Insulation

Some investment:

  • Install ceiling insulation – a huge amount of heat is lost through ceilings with no insulation
  • Install under floor insulation
  • Insulate walls when you do renovations
  • Insulate all your hot water pipes
  • Fit thermal-lined curtains. For extra efficiency you can also install pelmets at the top of the curtains to help keep the heat in
  • Double-glaze your windows (do the rooms you use the most, first)

 

Hot Water

Some investment:

  • Install a hot water cylinder wrap
  • Insulate the hot water pipes that are right beside your hot water cylinder
  • Fit a water-saving low-flow shower-head
  • Replace broken hot water thermostats
  • Buy a ‘Grade A’ hot water cylinder

Lighting

No cost tips:

  • Switch off any lights you're not using and take advantage of natural light whenever you can
  • Choose the right strength of bulb for the area – for instance don't use a 100 watt bulb for a bedside lamp when a 40 watt bulb would be fine
  • Clean your lights and lampshades often to get maximum light

Some investment:

  • Use energy efficient lighting (compact fluorescent light bulbs) wherever you can – they use up to 75% less energy than normal light bulbs
  • Paint walls a light colour to reflect more light

Cooking

No cost tips:

  • Let food cool down before putting it in the fridge or freezer
  • Defrost food naturally instead of using the microwave
  • Use a microwave or toaster instead of the oven or stovetop whenever you can
  • Keep the door shut! Every time you open your oven, the temperature drops by up to 15°C
  • Cook several things in your oven at once
  • Keep lids on the pots when you’re cooking and make sure the lids fit
  • Put small pots on small elements and large pots on larger elements. Doh!
  • Make sure oven seals are kept clean and properly fitted

 

Fridge and Freezer

No cost tips:

  • Refrigeration accounts for 10% of energy use.
  • Don’t open the fridge doors more than you need to. Take all the food out for a meal at once and close the door straight away
  • Fridges and freezers operate best when they're full, but not overloaded
  • Defrost your freezer regularly to reduce ice build-up
  • Keep food covered to reduce moisture on the inside of the fridge. Wipe moisture from bottles and other containers before putting them back in the fridge
  • Set the most efficient temperature settings:  Fridge between 2°C and 5°C. Freezer at -18°C
  • Leave some space at the back of your fridge or freezer for air to circulate.
  • Try not to put your fridge or freezer next to your oven or stove, or in direct sunlight
  • If you have a second fridge, turn it off if you don't need it all the time

 

Other Appliances

No cost tips:

  • When you're not using appliances, unplug them or switch them off at the wall. Even standby mode wastes power
  • Turn off chargers at the wall when your batteries are fully charged (like cell phones and laptops)
  • Wait until the dishwasher is full before you use it - and use the economy cycle
  • Avoid overloading your washing machine (although it’s better to wash full loads than half loads) and don't forget to adjust your wash cycle to match the load
  • Use shorter wash cycles if possible
  • Dry washing on your clothesline as often as possible. Only use your clothes dryer when you have to
  • If you do use your clothes dryer make sure your clothes are well spun before putting them in
  • Use the low heat setting on your dryer whenever you can
  • Ventilate the clothes dryer to the outside
  • Clean your dryer's lint filter every time you use it. This is really important for safety

Some investment:

  • Replace old appliances with energy efficient models – and always choose one with a high-energy star rating

Had a high power bill?

If your bill is looking higher than you were expecting, just check if any of these things were going on: 

  • Has the weather changed? In cold weather heating costs might go up and in hot weather it will cost more if you use air conditioning or fans
  • Have you got more people staying? A new baby, live-in rellies, boarders or guests can mean you use more energy at home
  • Has your lifestyle changed? Your energy costs might go up if you're spending more time working from home for instance
  • Have you bought any new appliances? A new clothes dryer or a second tele might see your energy usage go up - or you might have been using appliances more often
  • Renovating or redecorating? You'll use more energy to heat your home during renovations, especially if you've added extra floor space or windows
  • Is your bill for a longer period? Check your energy bill to see how many days it covers
  • Is your bill an estimated reading rather than an actual reading? (Check out how to read your meter.)