Power bills may be on your mind as it gets ever closer to winter.
If you are worried about how much you are going to have to shell out for electricity over the next few months, there are some ways to reduce your bill.
If you have not signed a fixed-term agreement with your current provider, changing to a new one is quick and easy.
Use a comparison site to check whether you are getting the best deal possible. If you are not, the site will handle the move to a new retailer for you. Or you may find your existing provider is willing to match what a competitor offers.
An Electricity Authority survey found just 17 per cent of people changed their power provider last year. Another 36 per cent had reviewed the offer they were on from their electricity retailer but decided not to switch.
Even if you do not want to switch retailer, it is worth checking that you are on the right type of plan. If you are a high user on a low-user plan, for example, you could be paying a lot more than you should.
Stop putting appliances on stand-by
If your house is flashing with the little red lights of devices left on stand-by, you are wasting money. Turn them off and you could cut your power bill by about 10 per cent.
Stop using your dryer so much
Could you set up a clothesline in the garage over winter? Every time you use your dryer, it adds about $1 to your bill, which can add up fast. While you’re at it, switch to washing in cold water if you are not already doing so – hot water makes up about a third of your power bill.
Not having adequate insulation
If your house is poorly insulated, your heaters have to work a lot harder to get it to the temperature you want – and lots of heat wafts away into the atmosphere. Putting insulation in won’t make your house warmer on its own this winter but it should save you money on your heating bill.
Turn down your hot-water cylinder
Set your hot water cylinder for 60C. Any hotter than that is a waste of money and potentially dangerous. Check your water pressure at the same time. Your shower should not fill a 10L bucket in less than a minute.
Check out your downlights
Running 20 100W old-fashioned downlights may cost you more than a heater or heat pump. If you can, replace them with a modern LED version. There’s an upfront cost to this but it will save you in the long-term, so it’s a good option if you’re staying put for a while, or don’t mind packing your lightbulbs if you move.
* This is the second in a four-part series looking at ways to save cash.