Power is one of the biggest expenses for families in New Zealand. Average electricity bills can top $200 as the winter months arrive and heating costs take their toll. Keep reading to learn how to save power at home and get your energy costs under control.

Utilize free methods of energy savings that simply require you to take personal steps to save energy in your home. Some examples of easy, no-cost ways to save energy are listed below.

  • Let the sun in during the day by opening drapes in your house. Sunlight not only brightens up your home and makes you feel refreshed, but it is a free source of heat during cold weather. However, be sure to close the drapes when the sun goes down to keep windows insulated.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Many people believe that turning off a television or shutting down a computer means that no energy will be used. However, a small amount of energy is wasted even when appliances are shut off if they are still plugged in. You can either take the time to unplug appliances when they are not in use, or you can plug electronics into a power strip and turn off the entire strip.
  • Consider turning the thermostat down a few degrees during the winter and up a few degrees during the summer. Even a small change can lead to significant energy savings. Many people are able to stand cooler temperatures by dressing more warmly and using blankets around the house.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home, make sure that there is no air getting into your house when your fireplace is not in use. An open fireplace can be an energy and money drain.
  • Use energy efficiently. If you are not using an appliance or lights, turn them off. Wait until you have a full load of laundry or dishes before running the washer or dishwasher. Cut the time you shower down to save on water and heating.
  • The examples listed above are techniques that require no investment. There are other ways to save power at home by spending a small amount of money. Recommendations for low-cost ways to save energy are listed below.
  • Leaks throughout your home are a common way for energy to be wasted. Take the time to search for leaks, or have a professional assess your home for energy leaks. Weather stripping and caulk can be used around doors and windows to keep air from coming in. You may be able to save as much as 10 percent on your energy costs by plugging up leaks.
  • Keep any filters used in your home clean. This can pertain to both heating and cooling filters. Dirty filters draw more energy because it is more difficult for them to work correctly. Depending on the type of filter you use in your home, you may need to replace the filter on a regular basis. Check the filter at the beginning of each season to see if a replacement or a cleaning is necessary.
  • If you are about to purchase a new appliance, choose one that has been tested and proven to be more energy efficient than other models. This also applies to new windows and doors. There are windows that are specifically designed to provide extra insulation.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat so you can turn your heating or cooling off when you are not home and adjust the temperature for times you are sleeping.

Saving power around the house is easier than you may think. Use the tips above to save on electricity and other energy bills.

If you are really serious about saving power you should also check out the government sponsored Energywise website as well as the Consumer Powerswitch website to see if you can save $$ by switching providers.

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