Whether your kids are toddlers, teens, or even if they’re home from university for the summer, holidays can send your power bill skyrocketing with more people around the house. So it’s key to kick some good habits into gear and get the kids to save power. Not only will it help you and your wallet, but it can teach them how to live a greener life. And, hopefully, instil in them habits they can pass on to the next generation.
1. Step away from the screen
It’s easy (and sometimes highly necessary) to unwind and chill out in front of screens over holidays. But avoid becoming too much of a couch potato. This applies to both parents and kids. Take a break from screens. This means laptops, the kids’ iPads, the PlayStation, computer games and TV. These all suck up energy, so limiting screen time to a few hours a day is not only great for you and your children’s health, it’s good for your wallet, too.
If you dread the constant whining for the iPad, try implementing a routine so your little one knows when to expect screen time. Children thrive when given their freedom, but it needs to be within a predictable structure.
Maybe you’ll decide that screen time is limited to movies together on a weekend, or for a half hour while you make dinner. Communicate the new rule. Although you might shoulder some complaints during the first few days, they’ll get used to the new normal soon enough.
2. Switch it off
When you do head outside for a day at the beach, a summer roadie or even just a visit to gran’s, make sure you house isn’t burning power, and increasing your electricity bill, while you’re away.
Turn off all your lights, outdoor ones, too, and check what appliances and technology you can turn off. Leaving things on standby will continue to use power, so make sure your turn off your TV, computer and microwave.
3. Stay cool outdoors
Avoid using the air con mode on your heat pump, or using indoor fans, by staying cool outdoors. Set up a blanket in the shade in your garden or a local park. Head for a bush walk, or make the most of the largest free swimming pool there is in NZ: the beach.
You could also head to a public pool, or peer over your neighbours’ fence to see who has one in their backyard… When you’re at home, make sure your windows are open to get air flow and a breeze coming in.
4. Do your laundry together
If you have teenagers or older kids home from university, get in the habit of washing your clothes together. Only use your washing machine to do a full load. Of course, use the power of the sun to dry!
5. Take cool showers
Hot showers aren’t as necessary in summer. Encourage your kids to take shorter, cooler showers and save on your power bill.
6. Cook together
Using power to cook adds up if everybody in the house is cooking at different times. Is Dad making one thing for dinner, while the 17-year-old is making something else an hour later? Commit to cooking meals together and save your oven from heating and cooling multiple times unnecessarily.
Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible, too. Avoiding repeatedly and unnecessarily opening refrigerators and freezers will save power. Or embrace the no-cook dinner. Make big fresh salads, use cold meats, veggie sticks, even have a cereal night… It’s the summer holidays and, sometimes, anything goes!
7. Air dry not hair dry
It’s warm in summer, so avoid using hair dryers on yourself or kids! Letting your hair air dry either at night or during the day is a good way to keep you cool. And, you aren’t heating up your house by blowing hot air into it.
8. Remind your kids to switch electronics off in their rooms
Gentle reminders to switch off electronics and gadgets will save power, as small amounts add up. Pop a small check list up in your child’s room of all the things they need to turn off before they head out.
9. Check you’re on the best value electricity plan
Realistically, with kids around and you wanting to focus on enjoying summer, too, upgrading your energy plan to a better option is probably your best bet to saving some serious coin on your electricity this summer.
If you’re after a better value energy plan, Canstar can help you compare retailers, to make sure you’re on the best rate and aren’t missing out on any benefits. Just hit the button below!
Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction and value for money. The table below is an abridged version of our full results. Click on the big button below for more details!
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2022, published in June 2022.
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