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Seven surprising ways to reduce bills this summer

December 14, 2017

Seven surprising ways to reduce bills this summer

We all breathe a sigh of relief when warmer months are here, and not just because it’s ice cream and deck season.

Many people struggle with high and expensive home energy bills, that peak in winter and drop in summer.

But could your bills be even less? Imagine how you could use some extra cash... Less energy use means less environmental impact too, so it’s a win both for your pocket and our planet.

We dare you to go through this checklist of seven easy ways to reduce your bills this summer. Start at the top for the biggest impacts. You may be pleasantly surprised:

  1. Enjoy the great outdoors! Make the most of nature's freebies - light and warmth from the sun, drying and cooling from the wind, and electric-free entertainment in outside spaces. Whether it's your deck, the beach or the park, there are plenty of outside spaces to enjoy that also give your energy use and bills a break. Make a plan with friends and whānau, and check online event listings for free outdoor activities.
  1. Preserve your hot water - Around 35 percent of your home's energy goes to heating water. Oftentimes we pay to heat more than we need because we waste water or energy escapes through uninsulated pipes and tanks.
  • If you have an electric cylinder, insulate it with a hot water cylinder wrap and thermal pipe lagging
  • Reduce the temperature - it should be 60°C at the cylinder (to prevent the growth of legionella bacteria) and no more than 55°C at the tap so you don't get burnt (children are particularly vulnerable). Don’t forget to flip the hot water off whilst adjusting the thermostats.
  • Check the flow rate of your shower - see how much of a 10ltr bucket it fills in 1 minute. If it fills nine ltrs or more then switch to a low-flow shower head to reduce water use by up to 50%. We recommend Methven Kiri Satinjet low-flow shower heads which have great pressure and an in-built flow restrictor.
  1. Check your insulation (and refresh if needed) - Missing, damaged or old insulation can make homes expensive, requiring extra heating in winter and cooling in summer. Once it is compressed it can’t perform properly, so watch out for tradesmen or family members in the attic this season!
  • Ideally, ceiling insulation should be 200mm thick and in all accessible areas
  • Underfloor insulation should be at least R1.3 and  in all accessible areas
  • As standards and building codes improve, insulation more than 10 years old may not meet the latest recommendations for thermal performance
  • Insulation can keep heat out in summer, creating a cooler home

Book us in for a home assessment to find out what's best for your property.

  1. Open the windows - create a fresh air channel by opening windows and doors at opposite ends of the house. The fresh, cool air will circulate around your home, drying it out and cooling it down. This is a great alternative to mechanical ventilation or cooling systems, and it’s 100% free! 
  1. Give your home the green light - LED lights use around 90% less energy than traditional lights, and last at least 15 years. You'll see big savings from energy bills (not just in summer but winter too). Did you know that most downlights come with large insulation gaps? This causes a colander effect as energy escapes through all gaps in insulation. We recommend LED downlights that are safe to cover with insulation so you can create a complete, energy-efficient layer and long-life low-cost lighting.
  1. Clean and re-set your heat pump - When filters are clogged they stop working. A little mistake on thermostats and timers can result in excessive and inefficient power use. Did you know that the auto settings can cause a heatpump to continuously flip between heating and cooling mode? To avoid these pitfalls:
  • Clean the filters monthly (pull them out and vacuum them)
  • Ensure that the condenser unit is free from plants and other obstructions to allow it as much fresh air as possible
  • Keep the fan set to auto and set the thermostat 16C - 20C
  • Consider switching off the heat pump at the fuse board to save on standby power. (Switch it back on four hours before next use).
  1. Appliance attack - how much are your electricals draining your bills? You can finally find out the true cost with an Efergy Eco Socket. Simply connect your electrical appliance for historical and real-time energy usage. You can also use it to control your gadgets with timers, on/off functions and more ways to reduce energy use.

Last but not least – leave the car at home. Gas is one of our highest costs for both pocket and planet. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, so check out these bright ideas for alternative ways to travel.

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