Heating and cooling account for a staggering 33 per cent of the average household’s electricity bill here in New Zealand. The good news is, it only takes a few quick and easy adjustments to reduce heating costs.
Here are five simple ways you can reduce your energy use this winter.
1. Draw curtains and blinds at dusk
We all know that it’s significantly warmer during the day and colder after sundown. Drawing your curtains and shutting your blinds at dusk traps the day’s heat inside, so you won’t have to turn up the heater quite so high.
The best curtains for heat retention have a separate lining that falls as close as possible to the window, are wide enough to overlap, and reach all the way to the floor. If you can install a pelmet along the top, that’s even better.
2. Only heat the rooms you use
Avoid heating your entire home if you’re just sitting in the living room watching TV. Shut all the doors leading into the rooms you’re not using and keep them shut all day long. Not only will this drastically cut your energy bills, but it’s also a fantastic excuse to get the whole family together for a good old-fashioned movie night.
3. Keep hot showers short
In winter, it’s tempting to spend upwards of 15 minutes in a scorching hot shower. The thing is, a 15-minute shower costs about $1. For a family of four each showering once per day, that’s $28 a week or more than $330 over the winter months.
If you’re serious about reducing heating costs, aim for a five-minute shower. You can even purchase an in-shower timer to keep you on track. Incredibly, households of four or more can save around $20 a week by making this simple change – that’s more than $1,000 over one year.
4. Set the temperature to between 18°C and 20°C
Heat pumps are the most affordable way to heat your home, but be sure to set the temperature at a warm yet cost-effective level – between 18°C and 20°C should do it. High-temperature settings will not only cause your electricity bill to skyrocket but can also lead to dampness and mould growth.
5. Draft-proof your home
If you can feel cold air getting in, warm air is getting out. If you experience drafts, your heaters are going to have work much harder to keep your home at the right temperature.
One of the best ways to reduce a heating bill is to ensure your doors and windows fit their frames properly. Invest in draft-proofing strips, door snakes, and door seals to lock in warm air.
6. Turn off your heating when you’re not home
This one sounds too obvious, but, in fact, this tip could save you serious money. You see, many households forget to turn off their heating when they leave the house. Whether you’re off to work an eight-hour shift, or just dropping into your local supermarket to grab milk, make time to quickly switch off the heating. If you’re not already in the habit of doing this, it’s a seriously effective way to reduce heating costs.