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Tips to cut down your power usage

Here's how to save money and be more sustainable

Saving power can also save you money and contributes to a more sustainable environment.

Here are some top tips to help cut down your power usage.

Home heating

Makes up around 30-35% of an average power bill

  • choose a heater that suits the room and your needs. Portable electric heaters are 100% efficient, but heat pumps can be more than 300% efficient. Heat only the room you are in rather than the whole house
  • set your heat pump to 20°C or if using a heater, make sure it has a thermostat. Clean your heat pump filters regularly and use “Heat” mode, as this uses less power than the “Auto” mode setting
  • limit the use of heated towel rails and electric blankets and use timers on heaters so they turn off when you don’t need them

Hot water

Makes up around 30% of an average power bill

  • check your hot water temperature and turn down to 60°C at the cylinder (you should be able to put your hand under the hot water at the tap)
  • showers use less water than a bath, especially when using an energy efficient showerhead
  • make sure to fix dripping taps. A hot water tap dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste 28 litres of hot water per day, costing you money to heat the lost water
  • insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes


Additional ways to reduce your hot water use:

  • use a large bowl for small amounts of dishwashing rather than filling the whole sink
  • use cold water to fill your electric jug (unless the hot tap is already running hot)
  • use a plug – hand and dishwashing under a running tap uses more water
  • use the cold wash cycle in your washing machine

Refrigerators and freezers

Makes up around 12% of an average power bill

  • look for the energy rating label when purchasing new appliances and choose those with more stars indicating better energy efficiency. Take note of the annual energy consumption in units and compare the same sizes when considering different brands
  • keep a constant temperature of around 4°C for the fridge and -18°C for the freezer. If lettuce leaves freeze in the fridge and ice-cream becomes too icy, it’s running too cold
  • defrost freezers regularly and ensure there’s adequate ventilation around the top, back and sides of the fridge
  • check door seals are secure and clean them regularly. Avoid leaving the door open
  • if you think your fridge or freezer isnt operating properly, you can borrow a checkmeter from us to see what energy the unit is using
  • try to defrost food in the fridge rather than the microwave – this helps cool the fridge also. Cool and cover hot foods and liquids before storing in the fridge or freezer
  • avoid running multiple refrigerators and freezers where possible

Cooktops and stoves

Makes up around 10-15% of an average power bill

  • microwaves, air-fryers, pressure cookers, crock-pots and electric fry pans all use less power than the oven
  • only use as much water as you need in the kettle or when cooking and keep lids on as much as possible
  • match the pan size to the element size and use flat bottom pans for maximum impact with the elements
  • when using the oven, try and cook more than one thing at a time, e.g. while a casserole is cooking bake a cake or dessert at the same time
  • check your oven seals regularly. Don’t use the oven as a heater but do leave the (turned off) door open after cooking to make the most of the hot air


Makes up around 8% of an average power bill

  • turn lights off out of the room and consider lighting zones with individual switches within a room, so all lights aren’t on
  • install energy efficient lightbulbs. LED bulbs use 85% less power and can last up to 15 times longer than old style incandescent bulbs
  • clean your light bulbs and fittings regularly to avoid dust build up, which lowers the lighting output

Standby power

Stand-by power is the energy used by an electronic appliance when it is plugged in but not being used. Even though the appliance is turned off, it is still drawing a small amount of power.

EECA (Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority) estimates that in Aotearoa New Zealand, stand-by power accounts for around 5-10% of total household energy use.

  • appliances you could turn off at the wall while not in use include computer, TV, gaming console, alarm clock, microwave, phone and laptop chargers, printers, jugs, toasters and lamps
  • the ‘smarter’ appliances (think devices or appliances that can install updates while on standby) are usually the most power hungry on standby
  • please note that the life of some appliances may be compromised if turned off at the wall regularly so please check manufacturer instructions


Here’s what you could save by turning it off!

  • computer – 50 cents per day / $15 per month or $180 per year
  • TV – $1 a month or $12 a year
  • gaming console – $4 a month or $48 per year
  • alarm clock – up to $24 a year (consider turning them off in guest rooms)


That’s savings of over $250 a year.

Note: these estimates are based on a 24 hour average rate of 35 cents per kilowatt hour.

Washing machines and dryers

  • unless you have especially dirty clothes, use the cold wash cycle for the laundry. A hot water wash can use 10 times more electricity than a cold wash
  • according to EECA, four loads of laundry washed in a cold cycle a week will save you about $60-$80 a year
  • dry your clothes outside as much as possible rather than using the dryer. If you need to use the dryer, try drying your clothes outside first so they take less time in the dryer

Curtains, window seals, draft stoppers and ventilation

  • draw curtains before sundown to keep heat in. Make sure curtains have a snug fit around the window frame
  • open curtains on sunny days to take advantage of natural heating from the sun. Cut back trees or shrubs blocking windows on the sunny side of your home
  • seal windows and doors to reduce heat loss and drafts. Use draft stoppers (or a rolled-up towel) around windows and doors to keep the cool air out
  • a drier house is easier to heat. Open doors and windows during fine days to air out your home. Wipe away any condensation that forms on your windows or walls. Leave wardrobes slightly open to allow air circulation and discourage mould. Use the extractor fan in your kitchen and bathroom until moisture clears

Insulation and double glazing

  • ceiling and floor insulation can reduce heat loss by 50%. Double-glazing can often be retrofitted to existing windows. If you don’t have double-glazing, window film can help to reduce heat loss

For further information

If you want to see how much power an appliance uses, contact us to borrow a check meter.

For any other questions, speak to our friendly team.