Hacking Your Power Bill
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The Renters Guide to Hacking Your Power Bill

Author: Jamie Quinn
Renting is already stressful enough without constantly worrying about your power bill. The good news is that there are ways to become a power-savvy renter and save money without needing to make major changes to your home. This guide will equip you with tricks to hack your power bill and help you keep more cash in your pocket.

Check Your Plan With Powerswitch

The first step is to make sure you're on the best possible power plan. Head over to the Powerswitch website, a free and independent service that compares thousands of power plans in New Zealand. By answering a few simple questions about your household's energy use, Powerswitch can show you plans that might be a better fit for your needs. Keep in mind that some plans may require specific conditions, like having a smart meter installed or committing to a longer contract. There might also be online payment requirements or upfront costs. Even if you find the perfect plan this time, power prices fluctuate, so it's a good idea to check Powerswitch at least once a year to ensure you're not overpaying.

Set Your Heat Pump

Set Your Heat Pump

Heat pumps, when used efficiently, can significantly impact your power bill. The ideal temperature range for a heat pump is between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius. Locate the controller and switch it to "heat mode" (usually indicated by a sun icon). From there, adjust the temperature to your comfort level within this recommended range. Higher temperatures will not only make the heat pump work harder but also lead to unnecessary expenses.

Turn Off Appliances

Many appliances continue to draw power even when they're switched off. This "phantom power" can drain your wallet over time. Getting into the habit of switching appliances off at the wall when not in use can save you up to $100 a year. Appliances with standby lights are often the biggest culprits, so be sure to turn off your TV, computer, speakers, and game consoles completely.

Shorten Your Showers

Shorten Your Showers

Long, hot showers feel great, but they can also be expensive. A typical 15-minute shower costs around $1. Considering the number of showers taken in your household each day, that cost can add up quickly. By shortening your showers to just 5 minutes, you could save a significant amount. A 5-minute shower translates to a 66-cent saving, which could mean an average of $5 per person per week or a whopping $260 per person per year!

Change Your Washing Machine Settings

Washing Machine Settings

Most washing machines offer a variety of temperature settings. While a hot wash might seem tempting, a cold wash is just as effective for most loads and significantly cheaper to run. A warm wash typically costs around 30 cents, whereas a cold wash comes in at a mere 6 cents. If your family does four loads of laundry a week, switching to cold washes could save you around $50 a year.

Power Heavy Appliances

While switching off appliances and using cold water washes are effective strategies, there are other power-hungry culprits to consider. Cooking a large meal in the oven can cost around $1, whereas a slow cooker uses just 35 cents of electricity to cook the same meal. Similarly, a regular clothes dryer costs about $1 per load. Take advantage of sunny days, and whenever possible, dry your clothes outside for free.

A warm towel after a shower is luxurious, but leaving your heated towel rail on all the time can be a budget buster. Leaving a heated towel rail on can cost you around $3 per week, translating to a yearly expense of roughly $140.

By implementing these simple hacks, you can significantly reduce your power consumption and save money on your power bill. Remember, every little bit counts!

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