How to save money on your power bills
Power Company Price Comparison Site
Always check out the Powerswitch Website
where you can compare the price of all the different electricity companies in New Zealand. (Brought to you by Consumer Magazine)
This useful site helps you work out the cheapest power provider for your area.
Remember to have your current power bill handy.
Free Saving ideas
Don't obstruct the sun. Keep curtains open during day in summer and close just before sunset. In summer keep curtains closed if house too warm as this will reflect sun coming through windows
Stop draughts as outlined below
Reducing room temp on a thermostat by 1C could cut your heating bills by 10%!
Have blanket on sofa to wrap over you when gets cold
- Put heaters away from windows so they heat the room more effectively.
- Turn off heaters in rooms you're not using.
- Use the thermostat and timer on your heaters so they only come on when you need them and automatically switch off when they reach a certain temperature.
- Block off your fireplace when you're not using it.
- Turn off your heated towel rail in summer months and when you're not using it.
- Shower with the windows open to avoid moisture forming - dry air is easier to heat and better for your health.
- Put an extra blanket on the bed instead of using your electric blanket.
You can get energy saving grants if you are low income homeowner or landlord with low income tenants (low income tenants can ask their landlord to get help with this). Landlords with LITs receive a subsidy of up to 60% on insulation
Funding is limited but worth finding out if you're entitled to this.
Check out our grants available
page to find out moreSave Money on your power bills by Insulating your house
First of all there are Free Goverment Grants
are available to improve insulation in your home!
How best to insulate your home?
35% of energy lost through ceiling
Can save up to $400/yr in colder areas of New Zealand If you already have some insulation may be worth you adding more.
Recent survey suggests up to 1 million NZ homes have insufficient underfloor insulation
Some floors such as poorly fitting tongue & groove planking have particularly high heat loss
What can be done?
Use reflective foil which is stapled along the floor joists
They work by:
- trapping air between the floor and the foil which serves as insulation
- escaping heat is reflected back into the house
- it helps reduce the amount of moisture entering the house through the floor.
The other type of insulation material is polystyrene or polyester type products
These products fit between the floor joists and either go hard against the underside of the floor or have a small gap between the bottom of the floor and the top of the product. In some cases the product are held in place by being slightly squashed between the floor joists and in other cases clips of other fixings are required.
Underfloor insulation can also reduce dampness which can again help make it easier to heat your home.
Windows can be responsible for up to 30% of heat loss in uninsulated houses.
So what can be done?
Hang good thermally backed & lined curtains. These can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 25% They should be bigger than the window frame & close fitting with no gaps.
Consider installing new windows if they need to be replaced but this adds significant cost but can be worth it over the long term.
Draught proof windows
Draughts & air leakage can increase heating costs by 20%
- placing stuffed 'snakes' under doors
- blocking off open fire places when you're not using them
- fitting shields for draughts and rain on external doors
- blocking draughty air gaps around plumbing pipes and electrical cables, windows and doors with caulking and weather-strips
- fitting thermal curtain generously over windows and install a pelmet to contain draughts
- filling gaps in ceiling insulation
- insulating under wooden floors
This can be difficult to install once a house has been built so it is often easier to make sure you have your ceiling & underfloor insulated before considering this more expensive & complicated energy saving idea.
How to Save Energy on Heating
30% of energy used
Measures to save energy
- Adjust thermostat to 55C for hot water
- Use cold water to wash clothes ($50/yr saving), rinse dishes
- Wrap hot water cylinder & pipes with insulation
- Low flow shower heads (up to $500/yr- cost $40)
- Take short showers (minute less family 4 saves $63) rather than baths
- Stop dripping taps
- Switch off your hot water if you're away for more than two weeks.
Approx 30% of energy used for keeping you warm
Better insulation keeps you more comfortable and save you energy in power bills
So how can you cut down on heat loss
You can call the Home energy Advice Centre on 0800 388 588
Different ways to heat your house
Heat pumps. They pump out 3 dollars worth of heat for every dollar spent on electricity.
Save on Lighting
There have been government schemes to save on lighting costs by providing energy efficient lighting. This involves subsidised or free energy efficient compact fluorescent lights.
These typically use 80% less power but same illumination & last up to 8 times longer than normal bulbs. Unfortunately they cost more than normal bulbs (usually around $10 for pack of 3 but ask your power provider if they offer subsidised bulbs)
Old standard type bulbs lose most of their energy by form of heat lost from bulb. That's why they're so hot after they have been on for some time!
Phillips Tornado Warm White, Ecobulb Warm White, GE Entice & Osram Minitwist Daylight recently came out top on Consumer magazine test comparing bulbs for light output & switching life.
This could save you up to $1000 on electricity over the lifetime of the bulbs! (this is based on replacing 10 bulbs at home)
FREE Power Saving ideas
- When you're not using appliances, unplug them or switch them off at the wall. Even standby mode wastes power.
- Turn off your computer when you're not using it.
- Turn off chargers at the wall when batteries are fully charged e.g. cellphones and laptops.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room
- Wait until the dishwasher is full before you use it - and use the economy cycle.
- If your dishwasher can generate its own hot water then use this function as it's more efficient than using hot water from your cylinder.
- Don't overload 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. Try to use ECO or half load settings.
- Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the element on an electric kettle)
- Use shorter wash cycles if possible.
- Make sure your clothes are well spun before putting them in the dryer.
- Dry washing on your clothesline as often as possible. Try to only use your clothes dryer when you have to.
- If you're using the clothes dryer, fill it - it's more efficient to dry a full load.
- 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.
- Keep freezers as full as possible
- Leave space at the back of the fridge
- Keep lids on pots when cooking
Save on your Water Bills
Be careful with water as this will save you money if you have a water meter and also help the environment:
- Fix dripping taps.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
- take showers instead of baths
- Use a toilet brick to reduce the amount of water used in each flush
NO LONGER AVAILABLE:
Free Energywise Saving Grants to for insulation & heating-
Energywise funding has changed this year for energy saving grants and are available to anyone who has a house built before 2000! These can help you save money on your power bills & the environment too!
We list more details about the grants available and where you can find them, especially useful in the cold winters.
If you are successful with the grant, please mention our website to your supplier.
Energy Saving Grants from Energywise
There are 3 types of Government Energy Saving Grants available to help:
1. Up to 100% Grants to insulate your house and install clean heatingWho is eligible?
- Insulate your house and install clean heating.
- Install solar water heating.
- Install heat pump water heating.
Homeowners with houses built before 2000 are eligible.
If you are a tenant with a community service card, funding is available to your landlord. Ask them if they would like to receive the grant.Funding can be used to install:
- Ceiling and underfloor insulation, up to a required standard (please note, if you can access the space, you have to get both ceiling and underfloor insulation done to qualify for funding).
- A clean, efficient heating device in the primary living space, if it does not already have a heating device that meets current standards (please note - you are only eligible for funding towards a heater if you have proper insulation first - your service provider will be able to tell you if you qualify).
- The following energy efficiency measures where necessary: a hot water cylinder wrap, pipe lagging, draught-stopping, and a ground moisture barrier.
You can get up to 60% of the total cost provided by the government.
NOTE: In some areas of the country you can get more than 60% funding, which means you could end up getting your house insulated for free, or at least very little cost!
You can get energy saving grants if you are low income
homeowner or landlord with low income tenants
(low income tenants can ask their landlord to get help with this). Landlords with LITs receive a subsidy of up to 60% on insulation.
To find out what funding is available in your area click here
To find out more about the grant go to The Energywise Site
2. $1000 Grants to help Install Solar Water Heating
If you've decided to install a solar water heating system, you may be eligible for government financial assistance of $1000.
There are 2 options for funding:
- You can be entitled to $1000 grant towards the cost of a system, or
- A contribution of $1000 towards the cost of a loan to pay for a solar water heating system
Criteria for assistance
Only systems published by EECA are eligible for financial assistance. EECA publishes participating suppliers’ systems that have been tested to NZ Standards and performance modelled.
You can check out the systems listed on the energywise website to see which are eligible for this funding.
The cost of the system, including all installation costs and building consent cost, must not exceed the threshold for that system set by EECA. However, even if you purchase a system for higher than the threshold price, it may still be a good decision for your household and a cost effective purchase.
It can save between $350- 450 depending on cost of gas & electricity supply.
Check out this link
for more information about the step by step process to claim this grant.
There are some other groups that provide the grants also offer:
- moisture barriers under floors
- energy efficient compact fluorescent lights
- energy efficient low flow shower heads
- replacing inefficient open fires and solid fuel burners with clean, efficient heating appliances
Check out this Energywise website for more information or Call Energywise 0800 749 782 which is a government funded project to find out what grants are available in your area.