The leaves are falling, the skies are pouring and there’s a bite in the wind. Winter is well and truly here. Most of us will notice our power bills slowly starting to climb as we spend more time indoors, using more energy heating our homes and keeping ourselves entertained.

We’re here to help you save energy (and money) this winter. Here’s four simple steps to banish the cold weather blues and take control of your energy usage this season.

1. Invest In Energy Efficient Curtains
Some older Kiwi homes are notorious for their cold, damp conditions. Ensuring your home is prepared to withstand winter’s wrath can both decrease your power consumption and have significant health benefits.

As the temperature drops you’re likely to find yourself dialling up the heaters to stay toasty and warm. You may be shocked to learn that a home without curtains can lose upwards of 45% of heat through its windows, meaning that some of that precious heating is quite literally going out the window!

Adding curtains to your home can go a long way to preventing this; just ask our friends at Habitat for Humanity. As part of Starship’s Healthy Homes Initiative, we’ve partnered with Habitat for Humanity Northern Region who help combat cold and damp housing for families in need. See how they can help you and your whānau here.


2. Make It A Habit, Turn Appliances Off

All this extra time at home during winter naturally means extra power being used, but if you play it smart you can minimize the potential increase in cost. One quick way of doing this is by making sure appliances and lights are turned off when not in use. Contrary to popular belief, the little red light doesn’t mean that a device is turned off; in most cases, it’s in standby mode.

Even on standby, your appliance is still switched on, which means you’re paying for electricity. Likewise, you’ll be using the lights in your home for a good 2-4 hours more in winter than you would in summer. The more lights you leave on, the bigger the difference in energy usage you’ll see. It may not seem like much at first but remember that little costs can add up over time!

3. Switch to Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
Another easy way to save money in the long run is to make the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These may be slightly more expensive than your bog-standard incandescent bulb, but there’s a good reason for this price difference and that reason is quality. Energy-efficient bulbs such as LEDs use up to 85% less electricity than your standard incandescent bulb and can save up to$100 - $300 in running costs over the course of their lifetime. Plus, because they last so long you don’t have to change them as often, reducing both your life admin and producing less waste. Winning!

4. Keep An Eye On Your Heat Pump

There are few things better than curling up under a nice, toasty heat pump. Although it’s tempting to blast your heater at max power, it might impact your power bill. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to keep you both toasty and on top of your usage.

Make use of timer settings on your heat pump, and chuck it on just before you wake up or get home so that you can switch it off when you don’t need it. And did you know, the sweet spot for the thermostat is between 19ºC and 21ºC? This keeps away the dampness but is enough to also save power. Plus, sometimes it’s good to keep things consistent because changing between hot and cold settings can cause your heat pump to waste energy.

Fancy some other energy-saving ideas? Check out all our tips and tricks over here.


The information provided in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for personalised, professional advice. Mercury recommends that you always seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances. Links to external, non-Mercury websites are provided as a reference only, and do not imply a partnership or endorsement of their content.