Consumer NZ and Warmer Kiwi Homes have teamed up to bring you some simple tips and tricks to help make your home a warmer, healthier place for you and your whānau. Our advice won’t take much time or effort and importantly most won’t even cost you a thing.
The average household can save up to $500* a year simply by making some of these small changes.
*To learn more about how this figure is calculated, visit consumer.org.nz/save500.
Use the Powerswitch website to do a free and independent check of your power plan. It can help you easily compare thousands of power plans by answering a few simple questions.
Compare your results
Keep in mind that some plans require you:
- have a smart meter at your house
- commit to the plan for 12 to 24 months
- pay for your power in advance
- pay online only.
Already on the cheapest plan? That’s awesome! Power prices change all the time - check Powerswitch at least once a year to make sure you’re not paying too much.
Switch power plan
Switching power plans is easier than you might think, and it won't cost you a thing. Simply follow these steps:
- Choose the best plan for you from your results page.
- Select the “switch” button – don't worry, this does not mean you have automatically changed plan yet and your power will not be cut off during this process!
- The power company you have chosen will either contact you (by phone or email) to talk you through their offer or invite you to sign up online.
- The switch will only take place once you have agreed to your new plan.
We get it – power, and power bills, can sometimes be complicated. If you’re having trouble, help is at hand! Please email us at email@example.com or give us a call on 0800 266 786 weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm.Visit Powerswitch
Where does moisture come from?
- Clothes drying: 5.0L per load.
- Cooking: 3.0L per day.
- Showers and baths: 1.5L per day (per person).
- Dishes: 1.0L per day.
- Clothes washing: 0.5L per day.
- Breathing: 0.2L per hour (per person).
Keep the air dry
Dry clothes outside if possible.
- Open your windows for at least 10 minutes each day. Better yet, if you have secure window stays, leave the windows cracked during daylight hours when you’re not using any heating to ensure you have fresh air coming in.
- Avoid gas heaters. They make the air damp and also fill it with dangerous gasses. If you have to use one, make sure the windows are opened a crack – but your safest option is to use an electric heater instead.
Stop the heat from escaping
Draughts often come from around windows, doors and other gaps such as cat flaps. You can make your own “draught snake” with a rolled-up towel or blanket that’ll block the cold air.
Curtains and window coverings
A lot of the heat from your home will disappear out the windows on cold nights if you don’t have curtains or blinds. It’s best to close them as soon as the sun goes down to capture as much heat as possible.
If you don’t have window coverings, or if your curtains have seen better days, your local curtain bank might be able to sort you out with some new ones for free.
When you heat a room, the heat rises to the ceiling and eventually works its way out of the house. If you have a spare fan, plug it in and put it on a low setting. It’ll spread the heat evenly throughout the room, and your heater won’t have to work as hard. In fact, it’ll save you money!Read more tips
Setting the temperature
Heat pumps work best when set between 19 and 21 degrees.
Change the mode on the controller so it’s on heat – select “mode” until the little sun icon shows on the screen. From there, set the temperature. Doing this can save you $320 a year.
Use the fan setting
If it’s cold out, don’t put the temperature up – turn up the heat pump’s fan settings instead.
You don’t need to crank the heat pump to 30 degrees to make it work faster. High temperature settings use a lot of power and lead to expensive power bills.
Cleaning the filter
Heat pumps have removeable filters that get clogged up with dust which stops the air from flowing. The heat pump then has to work harder to make up for the loss in air flow and will use more and more power.
Take out the filters and give them a gentle vacuum. You’ll notice an immediate difference if they’re really dirty and the room will instantly feel warmer. Make sure you do this every couple of months.
For more information on efficient use of your heat pump: Heat Pumps - Benefits of Heat Pumps | Gen LessVisit Gen Less
Insulation and heating grants
Warmer Kiwi Homes is a programme offering insulation and heater grants to low-income homeowners.
You may be eligible for a subsidy for installing a heat pump, insulation, wood burner or pellet burner if you meet the following criteria:
- You own your home.
- Your home was built before 2008.
- You have a Community Services Card or live in a low-income area.
Visit Warmer Kiwi Homes or call 0800 749 782 and answer a few quick questions to check if you’re eligible. Conditions apply.
While a heat pump may make the lounge feel cosy, they will struggle to keep the whole house warm – and not all of us have them. To keep the chill at bay in bedrooms and other areas, most of us turn to plug-in heaters. However, they don’t all deliver heat in the same way and some are better suited to certain rooms over others.
Some houses are so hard to heat that you can struggle to make a room feel warm. In this case, your best bet is to have a small personal fan or radiant bar heater pointing directly at you. That will warm you up quickly but remember that others will still feel the chill.
Standard heaters will be either 2000W or 2400W. These are big enough to heat a small, closed off living area or large bedroom. Anything smaller is better suited to kids’ bedrooms – a heater that’s 1000W or below will probably just take the edge off the cold, rather than keep the room warm.
You can find the size next to where the power cord comes out of your heater.
Switch off at the wall
Most of the things that you have plugged in at home use power all the time, even when they’re not switched on. Switching off appliances at the wall when not in use can save up to $100 on your power bill over the course of a year.
Oven: Cooking a large meal in the oven for the whole whānau will cost about $1 each time. You can save more money by using a slow cooker - it’ll cost about 35¢ a meal instead.
Clothes dryer: A regular vented clothes dryer costs about $1 per load. It might be your only option during wet, cold weeks but take advantage of drying clothes outside as much as possible – it’s free after all.
Lights: Standard 100W lightbulbs cost about 20¢ each evening to run. This all adds up, so be sure to turn lights off when you’re not in the room. The 100W equivalent LED bulb costs about 3¢ each evening to run, which could save you $62 a year. If you can get your hands on them, opt for LED lightbulbs as they’ll pay for themselves in power savings very quickly!
Heated towel rail: A warm towel feels lovely after a shower. But did you know that leaving a heated towel rail on will cost you about $3 per week? Switch it off and save yourself around $140 on your yearly power bill.
Shorten your showers to 5 minutes
Each 15-minute shower will cost you about $1 – think about how many people you have in your house, and it’ll give you an idea of how much it costs you per day.
Shorten showers down to five minutes, and you’ll save 66¢ each time. That’s an average of $5 per person per week - or $260 per person per year!
Keep baths to a minimum
Baths cost about twice as much as a shower. Keep baths to a minimum and make sure the shower is the first option.
Check your water flow
Sometimes the shower pumps out more water than you need, and you end up wasting a lot of hot water down the drain. Check how much water is wasted with a bucket and timer. Put the bucket under the showerhead and turn on the taps – if it fills up in less than one minute, it’s wasting money. Efficient showerheads can be expensive, but you can also buy water flow restrictors that reduce the water flow and cost much less. Failing that, just don’t turn the taps all the way to full!
Stop the drips
A dripping hot tap can waste more than 70 litres of water a day. This can add over $200 a year to your power bill! If you are renting, notify your landlord as soon as you notice a drip – fixing a tap that’s dripping from normal wear-and-tear is usually their responsibility.
Use a cold laundry wash
A warm wash: costs about 30¢.
A cold wash: costs about 6c (and often performs just as well as a warm wash).
- Savings: approximately $50 per year if your family does about four laundry washes per week.
Visit Gen Less for more info on using hot water efficiently.Visit Gen Less