Winter in the south is never easy. Being prepared is, as always, the best way to avoid a winter budget blow-out. Below are some tips to help make your winter affordable.
Buy firewood in advance
- Wood is cheaper when you buy it in summer. Buy wet or partially dry wood as cheap as possible, and give it plenty of time to dry before you need to use it. How many meters of wood do you use a year?
Check you are on the best electricity plan
- Log on to www.powerswitch.org.nz and follow the simple checklist to see if your electricity provider is giving you the best deal. You will be given a list of providers and plans, along with how much you can save. Don’t pay more than you have to for your power.
Pay your power on time, every time
- Ensure your power is always paid on time, so you can take advantage of the discounts offered. If you can afford to pay the full amount monthly, set up a direct debit so you don’t miss the due date.
Set up Smoothpay
- Ask your electricity provider about Smoothpay or the equivalent which is where your electricity usage is averaged out and you pay a set amount every week or fortnight, all year round. You will build up a credit in summer, always get your discounts, and most importantly – no more surprises over winter!
Extra tips and food for thought
- Find out which appliances use the most electricity.
- Is your hot water cylinder set to between 55 – 60 degrees?
- Do you know how to use your heatpump efficiently?
- Do you switch off appliances when not in use?
- Have you got energy efficient lightbulbs installed?
- Is your home well insulated?
- Close your curtains at dusk, and open them during the day. Curtains keep the heat in at night, but daylight and sun needs to get in during the day. Good quality, thermal lined curtains are best.
- Check for draughts (a rolled up towel is a ready-to-use draught stop). Stuff old socks with whatever old clothing or material you can find, sew them together and you have a ready-made draught-stop snake.
- Bubble wrap fitted on the interior of windows is a cheap, effective “double-glazing” (if you don’t mind compromising the view for a few months).
- Remember to ventilate your home well. Dry air is quicker and easier to heat!
To find out the running costs of your household appliances and for information about insulation, and all things “energy” related go to: www.energywise.govt.nz
photo credit: Firewood via photopin (license)