How to avoid bigger bills during lockdown.
There are ways to avoid extra energy usage and thus higher bills during the lockdown, according to EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).
EECA spokesperson Dr Marcos Pelenur says it’s important to stay warm as the weather cools but it’s also important not to spend more money on energy bills than you need to.
Dr Pelenur says reducing unnecessary use of hot water will save you money and free up more cash for heating over the winter. “For example use the cold water wash cycle when you wash clothes, unless you have an especially dirty load. Modern washing machines and detergents clean well using cold water. A hot water wash can use 10 times more electricity than a cold wash.”
Cutting down the long showers will also save money, Dr Pelenur says. “Reducing your shower time just a bit could save up to $900 a year for a family of four. A 15 minute shower costs about $1 - a 5 minute shower costs about 33c.”
If you own a dishwasher, wait until it’s full loaded to run it – and put it on ‘eco’ wash setting if available, Mr Pelenur says. “And if you rinse dishes before loading the dishwater, use cold water,” Dr Pelenur says.
Other top saving tips
- If your circumstances or energy use has changed, check you are still on the best power deal to suit your needs
- Dry clothes outside or in a clothes dryer that is vented to the outside – avoid indoor airing racks or clothes dryers that vent into your house. The moisture in the clothes will end up in your home, making it damp.
- Avoid unflued gas heaters which release toxic fumes and make your house damp. Cheap portable electric heaters are safer and cost less to run.
- If you have a heated towel rail, only use it when needed. A heated towel rail left on 24/7 can cost you $170 per year to run. You can buy timers for towel rails that come on automatically at certain times of the day.
- If you have a second fridge you aren’t using, it could cost you $200 a year to run if it’s an old, inefficient model.
- If you are working from home, you may not have the luxury of choosing where to site your work space, but if you can, use a small space that’s easy to heat on its own. Move your desk to a position that gets good natural light.
- Switch to LED light bulbs.
- Turn your computer, WiFi and other equipment off at the wall at night, or when not in use.
You can also use our free online calculator at www.switchme.co.nz to compare the current offers available for your home.