With a New Year comes a variety of New Year’s resolutions. From losing weight to finding a new job to giving up coffee; the majority of Kiwis have set a goal this year, hoping for a better 2019. A common resolution that often gets made at the beginning of a new year is to manage household finances and budgeting better.
When it comes to household and utility bills, it’s a fair assumption that electricity is one of the biggest expenses for New Zealand homes, especially for larger families.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can reduce your power usage and save on your electricity bill. Changing a few daily habits can really go a long way to lowering costs, especially if everyone in the household gets involved.
To help you towards a better 2019, we’ve compiled our top ten tips on how to save power and lower your electricity bill.
Tip 1: Check your lights
It seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised as to how many people constantly leave their lights on! It can be a bad habit to leave lights on in rooms when no one is in them, and this can add unnecessary costs to your power bill.
The cost of running a light bulb may seem marginal, but it can quickly add up depending on what type of light bulbs you’re using. Traditional light bulbs - while no longer manufactured - are still common in Kiwi homes. These light bulbs use a large amount of energy to produce light, and as much as 90% of the energy is given off as heat rather than light.
Try replacing your light bulbs with ones that have earned an Energy Star rating - as these have been tested for energy efficiency.
Tip 2: Consider a solar energy system
More and more people around the world are harnessing the power of solar energy to create their own free, clean, renewable energy source. Today, more than 20,000 New Zealand homes are powering their homes using solar energy systems.
While there is an initial investment required for setup and installation costs, a solar energy system will set you up to save money in the long run. If you end up producing more energy than you’re using, there is even an opportunity to sell your excess power back to your electricity provider!
Solar energy systems not only help you save money, they help save the environment too, as solar energy has the least negative impact on the environment (compared to other energy sources).
Tip 3: Limit shower time
Whether you’re wanting to warm up or cool down, there’s nothing quite like a long shower where you can completely relax and get lost in your thoughts. However, long showers - especially in households with large families - can really drive up your power bill.
Try limiting the shower times to ten minutes per person - having an egg timer in the bathroom will help to enforce this rule.
For those that enjoy a nice deep bath, try to limit these to once a week/fortnight. A full bathtub uses around 70 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower uses about half that amount.
Tip 4: Unplug unused appliances
Did you know that New Zealanders waste over $100,000,000 per year by leaving their appliances on standby mode? That’s a lot of money going towards down the drain!
Electronic appliances like televisions, digital clocks, microwaves and ovens are all still using power when not in use. Your charger will even continue to use power, even when it’s not charging anything.
Make sure that you unplug any appliances that aren’t being used. Don’t just turn the appliance off - they will still drain power! They need to be switched off or unplugged at the wall to ensure they don’t go into standby mode.
Tip 5: Use your washing machine wisely
Most people don’t realize that they are using more water and electricity than they need to when putting a load of washing on.
A cold water wash is not only the best energy saving option, but it’s also the most gentle on your clothes. By running washing loads with cold water, your washing machine doesn’t use any extra energy to heat the water. Save those hot water washes for clothes that need thorough sanitising (baby clothes, muddy clothes etc).
Whenever you do put a load of washing on, fill it to its full capacity. Washing two small loads actually use more energy than one full washing load!
Tip 6: Make good use of your curtains
You can help keep your home cool and breezy by making good use of your curtains. Close your blinds or curtains during the hottest parts of the day. When it’s cooled down at night time, open your windows - just be sure to close these in the morning to trap the cool morning air inside.
The best kind of curtains for trapping heat/cool air are ones that are fitted close to the window, that touch the floor and that have a separate lining. Also, be sure to check your windows and doors for any draughts that may be letting air in.
Tip 7: Turn off the water when not in use
It’s safe to say that many of us out there are guilty of leaving the tap running when we’re brushing our teeth, washing our hands or shaving. While it may not seem like a lot, this can actually contribute to an additional 5% on your electricity bill!
Habits can sometimes be hard to change, but turning off the water when we’re not actually using it will add up over time to great savings on your power bill.
Tip 8: Don’t leave the fridge open
It seems simple, but it’s a very effective rule for every household… don’t leave the fridge open! When you’re making food or cooking a meal, make sure the fridge is closed, instead of leaving it open for ease of access. Having the fridge open lets cold air out and increases the temperature, meaning it’ll have to work harder to get cool again.
Also, check whether your fridge doors have a good seal a good seal. If not, these should be replaced. A broken seal means it is no longer airtight between the fridge and the outside, allowing cold air out and warm air in.
Tip 9: Hand wash dishes
When you only need to clean a few dishes, don’t be lazy, wash them by hand instead! This will not only reduce water consumption but eliminate the need to use your dishwasher.
If you’re washing small things by hand, wash these in a bowl, instead of under the running tap or filling up an entire sink. A bowl will help to keep the water warm, meaning you don’t have to constantly waste hot water.
The same goes for rinsing - don’t do this under a running tap, use a second bowl for rinsing the dishes. These small adjustments to your dishwashing routine can really add up to your water and electricity bill savings.
Tip 10: Compare electricity providers and deals
When was the last time you checked to see if you’re getting the best deal on your electricity? It’s something that many people don’t put much thought to once they’ve signed up to a provider. But this small mistake can be costing you hundreds of dollars a year!
By regularly comparing electricity deals and providers, you can make sure you’re on the best plan for your household. It’s easy to compare power prices online with our free comparison tool, and only takes a few minutes. You get to see the latest promotions, deals and plans from New Zealand’s leading power companies, so you can find the right plan for needs.