How to be prepared for winter

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Want a warm house in winter without the huge power bills? Here are some tips.

It seems like we’re in for a short winter this year – which is great news for our energy bills! But warming the house in winter can be a real hit to the budget for many people. Canstar Blue’s most recent consumer survey found that many of us opt for blankets over heaters; close to half of the women surveyed relied on blankets and extra clothes to keep warm in their homes in winter compared to 38% of men. Overall, more than 60% of New Zealanders have altered their electricity habits, and of those 57% have done so in order to reduce the cost of their bill.

If you’re keen to minimise the amount of heating energy you need to use – or simply to make it more effective, here are a few tips to get you started, courtesy of www.energywise.govt.nz.

Get a pet snake

No, not a real one – but a door snake can be a great way to block draughty gaps under your doors that can otherwise be an easy source of escape ofr warm air. You can also fit draught excluders, either brush strip types or for external doors, spring loaded automatic seals.

Down the lights

Something that many people may not consider is the draughts that can be caused older style recessed downlights. The best solution is to replace these old style downlights with modern IC or IC-F rated LED downlights that can be insulated over.

Unused fire places
Having a cosy fire in the grate is a terrific winter comfort – but if you have a fireplace that you’re not using, that chimney can be a prime source of draughts. You can easily block an unused chimney with a rubbish bag filled with shredded newspapers – but do make sure no one tries to light the fire with a blocked chimney.

Insulation
Canstar’ Blue’s survey found that close to a quarter (22%) believe that their homes are not insulated properly, with 26% of Generation Ys unhappy with the state of their homes’ ability to hold heat, compared to 15% of Baby Boomers.

If your house isn’t insulated, check whether you may be eligible to add the cost of insulation to your rates from $9.00 a week – talk to your council. Or you may be eligible for free insulation under Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes if you are on a low income and have children or older people in the household. Go to www.energywise.govt.nz to find out if there is a project in your area.

Switch off other stuff

If you want to spend more money in heating, ewhy not switch off other appliances that are using energy? Canstar Blue’s survey found that more than a third (35%) of Kiwis remember to always switch appliances off at the wall when they leave home.

While this is pleasing to see, nearly two thirds of New Zealanders are not switching appliances off at the wall, meaning that their electricity bills, and their fire risk, could be rising

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