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Simple ways to keep the winter power bills down

The cold snaps mean higher power bills as we snuggle up in front of heating to keep warm but there are easy ways to lower your power bill without compromising on comfort, according to EECA Energywise.

Technical expert Christian Hoerning says recent research* indicates there are still about 12 million incandescent light bulbs in New Zealand homes – which, if replaced with energy efficient bulbs would reduce household energy bills.

“You can run an energy efficient television for the same price as one incandescent bulb – these bulbs are outdated technology. LEDs use up to 85% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs for the same light output and each bulb you replace will cost you $20 a year.”

Mr Hoerning says the price of LED bulbs has dropped dramatically.

“Look out for specials as low as $4 a bulb.”

Hot water is another area where people can make serious savings, according to Mr Hoerning. He says the research, carried out by BRANZ, shows about 46% of houses surveyed had showers with high flow rates.

“This isn’t about having a lousy shower. You get a very comfortable shower with a flow rate of 9 litres a minute. A family of three with a 12 litre per minute shower could save over $200 a year by reducing that to 9 litres per minute.”

If your shower fills a 10 litre bucket in less than a minute, it’s wasting water, Mr Hoerning says. He advises inserting a low-cost shower flower restrictor or getting a new, efficient shower head.

Other top tips:

Use cold washes - 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.

• 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 only to chill a few drinks, it could cost you $200 a year to run if it’s an old, inefficient model. Consider turning it off or getting rid of it.


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