Weekly energy saving tips

We would all like to pay less for our energy, but the reality is that the cost of producing energy are increasing world wide and this is not going to change. So its left up to you and me to consume less and to understand where we consume energy and where we can save. The EECA website is a site worth visiting, it has pages and pages of information on how to save energy and bring down your electrical bills. Each week I will be adding to my helpful hints and tips page to help you understand and increase your knowledge on energy consumption at home and in the work place.

Things you can do to save money

Here are some cheap and quick things you can do.

Most of these are free.


Action Cost to do Estimated savings
Switch off your second or beer fridge Free $100 to $300 a year
Dry your clothes outside rather than using a dryer Free Around $200 a year
Only use your heated towel rails when needed Free Around $100 a year
Switch your appliances off at the wall when not in use Free Varies
Shut your curtains at dusk to keep the heat in Free Varies
Wash your clothes in cold rather than warm water Free $50 – $75 a year
Set your computer’s power-saving options Free Varies
Replace a 100W bulb with an energy saving bulb $5 $110 over life of the bulb
If your shower fills up a 10 litre bucket in less than a minute, install an efficient shower head Varies $150 or more a year
Wrap your electric hot water tank and the first few metres of hot water pipe $70 $80 a year for an older cylinder
Use a household energy meter to monitor power use Varies Varies

Others actions require some investment and a bit more time to sort out, like insulation and a clean, efficient heating system. However, the savings and other benefits, such as a more comfortable and healthier home, can be a lot larger. The amount of savings from these actions really varies depending on your particular house, the number of people in your home and the type of systems you run.


Appliances use about a third of the average home’s electricity bill. This amount is growing as we continue to buy more appliances, and use them for more hours every day.

Appliances in our homes include:

  • Fridges and freezers
  • Home entertainment – TVs, DVD players, stereo systems, gaming consoles
  • Home office equipment – computers, printers and faxes
  • Cooking equipment
  • Washing machines and tumble dryers.

When it’s time to replace your old appliances choosing more efficient models is a good way to save on your appliance electricity bill. You can also save money by using your appliances sensibly and switching them off when you aren’t using them.

Appliance running costs and smart use

Understanding how much it costs to run various appliances and using them smartly will save you money on your energy bill.

The key concept here is that any appliance that is using more electricity than it needs to, even what might seem a realtively small amount each hour, is going to add a sizable chunk to your electricity bill over a year.

There are three main ways that appliances could be helping you waste your money.

1. Appliances not working properly

A classic example would be a fridge that has bad door seals, has lost some gas or has a broken thermostat or controller. The fridge will still appear to be working, but will be running a lot more often, or even continuously, to maintain cold temperatures inside. This could double or triple the annual cost of using that fridge.

This sort of waste of energy can be difficult to track down in a house, but is often the culprit if your electricity bill has jumped suddenly without anything else like the number of people in living in your house or the hours they are at home changing.

2. Appliances being left on when not needed

The two biggest culprits here are heat pumps and heated towel rails. You wouldn’t dream of leaving an electric heater on in a room all the time so it was warm when you needed to use it, but that is just what people do with heat pumps and heated towel rails. In both cases, just using them when you need them can save you a decent amount of money every year.

Sometimes it is easy to forget to switch things off. Using timers and thermostats properly can help with this and can take the hassle out of using heaters.

3. Appliances that use electricity when you think they are off

This is called standby electricity. Most appliances that you can switch off with a remote keep using electricity, slowly but steadily, often without you realising.

The average household could be saving around 4% on their electricity bill if appliances on standby were switched off. Across New Zealand, this saving could add up to $130 million a year.

Did you know it takes more electricity to keep a DVD player in standby mode for a year than most use for playing DVDs during that year?

Overnight, microwaves, TVs and DVD players continuously consume electricity. If your appliances’ lights and clocks are on, they’re using electricity.

Turning off appliances at the wall when you’re not using them will make a noticeable saving to your energy bill over a year.

Your home entertainment products account for around half of standby electricity use in the home. These include your:

  • Televisions
  • Audio equipment
  • DVD players
  • Games consoles
  • Set-top boxes.

Other products that could be wasting electricity in standby mode could include:

  • Computers
  • Home office equipment
  • Microwaves
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers.


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