Practical tips to help you save power around the house.
The most power hungry appliances in your home are those that either heat or cool – think your fridge, freezer, oven and hot water cylinder. We use them every day, but it’s easy to forget to do simple maintenance to keep them in peak condition and stop you using more power than you need to.
Fridge and freezer routine maintenance
Your fridge is probably one of the most expensive appliances you own and one of the most expensive to run. For example, the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reports that fridges and freezers use more power in a year than other appliances in Kiwi homes – about 10 percent of an average household's electricity bill.
Completing some routine maintenance (no handy man required) can help keep your fridge or freezer in top condition and help you save on energy costs.
Check your door seals
Check to see if your fridge/freezer door seals need replacing. Put a torch in the fridge, turn off all the lights and check for light seepage through the seal.
Clean the coils
If the condenser coils at the back of your fridge are covered in dust it can’t run efficiently. To clean the coils, pull the fridge away from the wall, unplug it and vacuum the coils using the brush attachment.
Set the right temperature
As a general rule of thumb, your fridge should be set between 3°C and 5°C (the freezer between -15°C and -18°C) for safe food storage.
Wrap your hot water cylinder
Gen Less estimates that 30 percent of power used by an average household is used for heating water.
If your electric hot water cylinder was installed before 2002, chances are it’s not well insulated. Wrapping your cylinder is an easy DIY job and helps your cylinder retain heat so it doesn’t have to work so hard, hence saving you money. You should also insulate the first metre of hot water pipe coming off your cylinder. Note that gas hot water cylinders should not be wrapped.
Keep your heat pump clean
Heat pumps are a great choice to efficiently heat or cool your home, but a lack of simple cleaning and maintenance can affect their energy efficiency. Consumer NZ suggests cleaning your heat pump at least four times a year if you use it regularly throughout the year. Don’t worry – it’s easy to do – they explain it all in their article here.
Check your oven door seal
Ovens are power hungry appliances, made more so if your oven door seal needs replacing. After years of use the rubber can get damaged causing hot air to leak out during cooking. To see if it’s time for a replacement do a visual inspection to check if the rubber looks worn, cracked, torn or frayed. Another dead giveaway is feeling excessive heat escape from around the door during cooking.
Calculate your appliances’ power usage
If you’re interested in knowing how much power one of your existing appliances is using, Gen Less has a nifty online energy efficiency calculator that uses the product name or module number.
Keen to save even more power?
How you use appliances, and how you maintain their condition, are key factors in controlling your energy use.
Here’s a few practical tips and tools to help you save power around the house.
There are heaps of ways to be a bit more considered about how you use hot water and make some sweet savings in the process.
A fast way to achieve power savings is to switch to LED lights.
Low cost and relatively easy to install, timers and sensors control lighting and electricity when rooms and appliances aren’t being used.