Energy saving tips

Information sourced from, an EECA initiative.

We are heading into winter but there are simple ways to avoid wasting energy when we are spending more time at home. It’s important to stay warm as the weather cools but it’s also important not to spend more money on energy bills than you need to.

Save on hot water

Heating water is expensive, so using less hot water has a big impact on your energy bills.

  • Reduce shower time- a 15 minute shower costs around $1, a 5 minute shower around 33c. A family of 4 could be saving around $18 a week just by taking shorter showers. That’s $900 a year.
  • Use cold washes- unless you have an especially dirty load. Modern washing machines and detergents clean well using cold water. A hot water wash can use 10 times more electricity than a cold wash.
  • If you own a dishwasher- run it when it is full and on ‘eco’ mode. Rinse dishes with cold water.
  • For more information, go here.

Windows and doors

  • Draw curtains at dusk- to keep the day's heat in. The best curtains have a separate lining and are fitted close to the window, wide enough to generously overlap the window frames at the sides and long enough to touch the floor. A pelmet at the top is even better.
  • Stop draughts- make sure your windows and doors fit their frames. Use draught stopping tape around windows and doors and draught excluders or door snakes along the bottom of doors.


  • Turn your heaters off when you don’t need them- rather than leaving them on when you’re not there, this includes your heat pump.
  • Set your heater thermostat- aim for 18 to 20˚C.
  • Many heaters are only big enough to heat one room- so close doors and in the evening pull curtains.
  • Use a heater directly in the room you want to heat- and keep the door shut (unless you have central heating).

Other top saving tips

  • If your circumstances or energy use has changed, check you are still on the best power deal to suit your needs.
  • Dry clothes outside or in a clothes dryer that is vented to the outside – avoid indoor airing racks or clothes dryers that vent into your house. The moisture in the clothes will end up in your home, making it damp.
  • Avoid unflued gas heaters which release toxic fumes and make your house damp. Cheap portable electric heaters are safer and cost less to run.
  • If you have a heated towel rail, only use it when needed. A heated towel rail left on 24/7 can cost you $170 per year to run. You can buy timers for towel rails that come on automatically at certain times of the day.
  • If you have a second fridge you aren’t using, it could cost you $200 a year to run if it’s an old, inefficient model.
  • If you are working from home, you may not have the luxury of choosing where to site your work space, but if you can, use a small space that’s easy to heat on its own. Move your desk to a position that gets good natural light. 
  • Switch to LED light bulbs.
  • Turn your computer, WiFi and other equipment off at the wall at night, or when not in use.

You can help make a difference!

Help to keep thousands of Kiwis experiencing hardship warm this winter by making a donation to Whānau Āwhina Plunket and Variety - the Children's Charity.