Throughout the winter our lighting and heating needs often lead to high power bills. I have put together a list of things you can check yourself to help bring your power accounts down and leave a few more dollars in your pocket.
1. Insulation: The obvious reason for expensive power bills over winter is the additional heating requirements to keep your home warm but heating a poorly insulated house is just throwing money away. A massive part of your heat loss is through the roof and floor.
The first step to improve your efficiency of your home is to install quality in ceiling and underfloor insulation. The government is offering grants to help insulate your home, find out more at http://smartenergysolutions.co.nz/page/eeca-energywise-grants or consider DIY and selecting some good quality insulation from your local Bunnings or Mitre 10.
2. Water Heating: a) Check your water heater thermostat is working and not set to high, if you have a low pressure system and the thermostat is faulty you may (but not always) hear the cylinder boiling. This will dramatically increase your power usage. If you suspect it is faulty get your electrician to have a look at it. The thermostat should be set at 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).
3. Lighting: Through the winter our lights are running for longer periods, consider CFL lamps (energy efficient lamps) as these will dramatically reduce your energy used to light your home or if the budget is there you can upgrade to LED fittings for even more energy savings. (up to 80% savings in comparison to a standard incandescent lamp)
4. Ventilation & Extract: Good ventilation is essential to maintain air quality and remove excess moisture in your home. Having a draughty house is not the same as good ventilation. As houses get more airtight, they become easier to heat. However this improved air tightness means it's even more important to make sure you have good ventilation to stop the air in your home getting stale and damp. a) Consider a good ventilation system; We install Smart Vent systems which are an excellent product with very positive feed back. You can find out more about these systems at: http://smartvent-px.rtrk.com.au/ Give us a call or use our contact page to discuss options or a quote for a fully installed system. b) Extract: Make sure you have good extraction systems in your bathrooms and laundry areas. The fans need to be sized correctly for the room size. In my opinion heat light fan units don’t cut the mustard for extract but are fantastic for a heat source. I like to install fan heat lights for the heat lamps and an additional fan over the showers for extraction. Leaving the bathroom window open slightly allows air flow into the bathroom and will improve the extractor fan's effectiveness. After a shower, let the fan run for a few more minutes. Timers can be installed behind the switch to automatically keep the fan running once the switch is turned off for a delayed p
5. Gas Heaters: If using a unflued gas heater these can create a fair amount of moisture in your home. They also emit nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These are all released directly into the room and this can make your house damp and harm your health if there isn't enough fresh air ventilation. Portable LPG heaters can also be a fire risk. If you do use one, keep at least one window open to allow fresh air to enter the room and waste gases to escape. Do not use these typed heaters in bed rooms.
6. Spa Baths: If you own a Spa they can be a massive contribution to high power accounts, if you’re not using it switch it off they can easily add $100.00 + per month to your bill. If you are using it make sure you have a good cover and use it when spas not in use.
7. Towel Rails: You may want to add timers to electric towel rails. Although this does not offer much of a saving every bit counts right.
8. Cooking: When cooking in ovens avoid opening the oven door to take a peek at your delicious creations. Every time the door is opened you loose 20-30 degrees of heat.
9. Computers and TVS; Set up your PCs to go into sleep mode when in-active. This will generally turn off the computer’s hard drives and cpu and will only be using a small amount of energy to keep the system in standby. TVs should be powered off completely if turned off for a long period as they still use a small amount of energy when in standby.
10. Solar: If you are lucky enough to have a solar system installed, try where possible to do the bulk of your cooking, showering, and high electrical demand activities during the day where the sun is out and your solar system is providing your energy, and warm up meals at night when you are back on the electrical grid.