How to save money this winter on your power bill

 

Winter is here and we thought we would try and help you save money on your power bill here at glimp!

We have been busy doing our homework to find you some handy tips to help you save money on your power bill this winter. 

During the coldest months of the year, households use the most energy which means these are the most expensive months in regards to your power bills. Companies like Contact Energy do have options like ‘SmoothPay’ which helps by keeping your bill’s around the same cost each month and we will cover this topic in more detail in our next blog release.

It’s important then to make sure that you use the power you do pay for as efficiently as possible to keep those pesky power bills as low as possible.

Right let’s get right in to it and start saving you some money ☺

Windows and doors

Windows and doors can be a magnet for letting heat escape and the cold in. Follow these tips below to keep the cold out!

Tips:

  • Draw curtains at night - to keep the day's heat in. The best curtains are thick and well-fitted, covering the whole window and preferably reaching the floor. A pelmet at the top is even better to keep those draughts out!
  • Consider DIY window-film kits - which can cut heat loss through windows by half and are a fraction of the cost of double-glazing. You can find more information here: What is Low-E window film? 
  • Stop draughts - make sure your windows and doors fit their frames. Use draught stopping tape around windows and doors and draught excluders or door snakes along the bottom of doors.

Stopping Draughts

Even well insulated homes can be hard to heat if draughts constantly replace hot air with cold air. Blocking up draughts is usually cheap and relatively easy to do. There are simple tricks for finding draughts - on a windy day look for curtain 

movement, or use a candle to trace the source of your draughts.

Common sources of draughts and simple solutions

Tips:

Doors and window

  • Check hinges and catches or latches - if they’re loose, tighten them up. If they don't fit in their frames snugly, find out how to repair them.
  • Add weather stripping - to seal gaps around most doors or windows. Check your hardware store for the right types to use.
  • Seal door or window trims - with clear or paintable sealant.
  • Replace damaged rubber seals - around aluminium joinery.

Chimneys and fireplaces

  • Block the chimney of unused fireplaces - a rubbish bag filled with shredded newspapers works well. Make sure the bag is very obvious so no one tries to light the fire with a blocked chimney.

Ceilings and floors

  • Make sure the ceiling hatch is correctly fitted - and use weather stripping to seal it.
  • Insulate to help seal gaps between floorboards - install bulk underfloor insulation hard up against the floorboards to help reduce draughts coming in through the gaps. It will also reduce heat loss through the floor in general.
  • Seal skirting boards and cornices - use flexible silicon-based or latex sealants to seal the top and bottom, or remove them and foam the gap where the floor and wall or the ceiling and wall meet.

Check recessed downlights for air leakage

This can be a real problem with older style downlights installed before mid-2012. We recommend replacing these older downlights with surface-mounted or suspended light fittings, or modern IC or IC-F rated LED downlights that are better sealed and can be covered with insulation.

Checking underfloor insulation

Check your underfloor insulation to make sure it hasn't shifted over time, and that there aren't any gaps.

DIY checklist

If you can access your underfloor area, have a look for insulation. There are 3 things you might find:

  • Bare floorboards and no insulation - in which case you need to get some fitted.
  • Foil-based product - if it's held in with metal staples, don't touch it. There's an electrocution risk if the staples have pierced electrical wires and the whole lot might be live. Get an electrician to check it first. 
    If your foil appears to be well fitted and in good condition, then it’s probably working well. You might find that the foil is ripped, parts of the foil are missing or there are gaps allowing airflow into the spaces above the foil. Depending on the extent of damage, you may need to be remove and replace it with modern bulk insulation, although minor damage can be fixed by an insulation professional.

Heating

Heating you house accounts for about 30% of your power bill so it is vital you don’t waste any of the heat you pay for.

Tips:

  • Try to use heat pumps, electric heaters and gas fires when you are at home and using the room they are in.
  • Turn your heaters off when you don’t need them, rather than leaving them on all day - this includes your heat pump.  
  • Many heaters are only big enough to heat one room. Close doors and in the evening draw your curtains closed.

Keep your home dry

It is paramount to minimize moisture in your house over winter. It increases the chances of mould taking its’ grip which has potential health risks and the chances are it will be relatively cheap and easy to fix or prevent.

Tips:

  • Cooking, showering and washing - all introduce moisture to your home. The best way to get rid of this moisture is with externally vented extraction fans and vents. If you don't have these, open windows during or after cooking, showering and washing up.
  • Dry clothes outside or in a vented clothes dryer - try not to use indoors airing racks. The moisture in the clothes will end up in your home and has the potential of aiding mould growth
  • You can also use a dehumidifier to extract moisture out of the air to prevent dampness in your house
  • Air your home - open windows and doors at the same time once or twice a day to air the house and let moisture escape, even in winter. Don’t forget to open wardrobe and cupboard doors to prevent mould
  • Ventilate your bedroom - sleeping with your bedroom windows open a crack lets out the moisture that naturally builds up over the night.
  • Air your bedding - especially in winter. Duvets, pillows, and other heavy bedding absorbs moisture over time, so air them outdoors when it’s sunny.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest places you can save energy around your house.

Coupled with smart use and good lighting design, energy efficient lighting can brighten your world and lighten your power bills. Energy efficient light bulbs use up to 80% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, so you start saving money the moment you make the switch

Tips:

  • Turn lights off when you're not using them.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient ones such as LEDs and save $100 or more a year on electricity in your house. LEDs are becoming cheaper to buy and are now a cost effective way to reduce your power bill

Save on hot water

Heating water is expensive, so using less hot water has a big impact on your energy bills. 

Tips:

  • Use an efficient showerhead - it still gives you a great shower, but uses much less water. To check the flow rate of your shower, put a 10 litre bucket under the shower - if it fills in less than a minute, your showerhead is wasting water. An efficient showerhead has a flow rate of 9 litres per minute, or less.
  • Reduce shower time - a 15 minute shower costs around $1, a 5 minute shower around 33c. A family of 4 could be saving around $18 a week just by taking shorter showers. That’s $900 a year.
  • Use cold washes - unless you have an especially dirty load. Modern washing machines and detergents clean well using cold water. A hot water wash uses 90% more electricity than a cold wash. 
  • Fill the sink - rather than leaving the hot water running when doing things like shaving.
  • Shower rather than bath - it typically uses only half as much water and energy.
  • Skip the hour long shower - in a household of three, each minute you add to your shower time is about $70 a year.
  • Rinse dishes with cold - rather than hot water.
  • Run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded - and on an ‘eco' wash setting if available.

So there it is! We hope we have help you save money on your power bills and if you would like to save even more then compare power prices at glimp.co.nz/power