3 Ways To Lower Your Home’s Energy Bill

It is common to be alarmed by the rising costs of your household’s energy bill. In most cases, these high costs are easily avoidable. It may be time to re-examine how and when you use electricity.

You don’t need to make major changes to your lifestyle in order to cut your electricity bill in half. There are many easy steps you can take to achieve an energy efficient home. All of the little things can make a huge difference.

Here are some simple tips…

Photo by Martin Cathrae

1: Save on Heating and Lighting

Heating accounts for a huge amount of household energy consumption during colder months.

Turning your radiator down a notch or keeping your gas fireplace at a low temperature can make a significant difference to your home’s energy bill.

A useful energy saving tip is to program your gas fire or heat pump to turn on 30 minutes before you wake up in the morning at a low temperature. You can also program it to turn off at a particular time once the room is warmed up. This is much cheaper than blasting it at a high temperature when you wake up.

The most important thing is to keep all the cold air out of your home. Make sure to block any draughts from doors and windows. A good set of blinds or thermal curtains will allow you to keep the warmth in when it gets dark, and take advantage of natural light during the day,

Turning off the lights when they’re not needed is one of the easiest ways to lower your energy bill. If you’re not in the room, turn off the light. The type of lighting installed in your home can also reduce the costs of lighting. Might be time to head to the local store to upgrade your bulbs.

2: Reduce Hot Water Use

Using hot water for various purposes takes up a lot of energy in most households. 

It’s essential to break the habit of long showers if you want an energy efficient home. It’s also important to use an efficient shower head – one that still gives you a comfortable shower, but uses less water.

Heating water takes up about 90% of the energy of your washing machine. Doing a cold wash is the perfect solution to this problem. Most modern washing machines work well using cold water unless you have a particularly dirty load. If you do use hot water, it’s essential that you wash with a full load of laundry to minimise the amount of water used. The same concept applies to the dishwasher. Most of the energy used by your dishwasher goes towards heating water. You can minimise the drain by turning off the heat dry feature and filling up the machine completely.

Turn Off Electronics & Appliances

One of the easiest ways to save on your energy bill is to turn off electronics and appliances when they’re not being used. Leaving home electronics on standby is a huge waste of energy. This includes everything from computers, televisions, stereos, DVD players and PlayStations to kitchen appliances. An easy solution to this problem is to plug all your electronics into power strips and turn them off between use. Before you go to bed each night, do a sweep of all of your appliances that don’t need to be on, and turn them off.

How To Stage The Kitchen If You’re Looking To Sell

We had a chat with Spotlight NZ for some tips to improve the appearance of your kitchen to wow potential home buyers.

Staging the kitchen before placing your home on the market can make the difference between a quick sale or having your home linger on an estate agent’s books for months. Kitchens rank very high on a home buyer’s priority list, and the condition of your kitchen can make or break a home sale.

Of course, you may not want to invest a heap of money in your home if you are looking to move, but there are many things you can do to make your kitchen look more appealing to home buyers.


How should you stage a kitchen for an open house?

Cleanliness is key. Not just on the outside either; home buyers will look inside your pantry, your cupboards, and even your dishwasher! Once your kitchen is as tidy as it can be, take a critical look around and remove everything that does not need to be there.

Buyers like to see uncluttered work surfaces, so tidy away all those bits and pieces you normally have standing around the kitchen, take magnets off the fridge, and hide unsightly items away in drawers and cupboards.


Is it possible to stage an old kitchen?

It is! Obviously, you will need to fix any cabinet doors that are hanging loose, cover up cracks in the floor, and apply a touch of paint here and there. Wood putty goes a long way to covering up scuff marks on wooden doors.

Replace outdated light fittings, old taps and update the kitchen cabinets with new door handles. These will provide maximum return for a modest financial outlay.

Another thing to be aware of is odour. Old kitchens can take on all sorts of smells over the years that we may not be aware of on a day-to-day basis. Move out dog baskets, gumboots, and be generous with the air freshener.


How can you organise your kitchen to make it look tidier?

Staging your kitchen is all about appealing to your target buyers. Forget about what you personally like and what is practical. A decluttered kitchen is essential, so start by being ruthless and removing everything that is not useful or pretty.

Clean and uncluttered kitchens look larger. Can you put in a smaller kitchen table to give the appearance of more space? Take out a few chairs? Put the microwave in the garage for a few days?

These things will all contribute to making the kitchen look bigger and more spacious. If you must have items on top of your kitchen cabinets or open shelving, consider investing in some matching storage baskets to hide a collection of odd shapes and sizes.


What should you decorate your kitchen with?

Once you’ve decluttered your countertops, it’s time to add some style.  You don’t want to leave the counters completely empty.  You can use decorative canisters, glass jars with herbs, a bowl of fruit, a colourful cookbook, new tea towels, and other items you would typically find in a kitchen.

Group things together so they match in colour or style, and line up cookery books by size. Adding some colourful plants or herbs in pots is always a winner, and if you want to wow your visitors, you can’t beat the smell of fresh coffee, or having freshly baked bread or cake on the counter top.


How can you clean your kitchen to make it look brand new?

It is impossible to overstress how important it is to have a sparkling clean kitchen.  Scrub everything inside and out!  Buyers will look inside drawers, so remove those crumbs.  Make sure your oven and cooker shine. Wipe down cabinets and polish stainless steel appliances, sinks, and taps so there are no fingerprints showing. Use newspaper or paper towels to avoid streaking.

Avoid odours by putting out the rubbish and if you have a disposal unit, cut up a lemon and run it through the disposal unit just before you expect your first visitors. Don’t forget to clean grout between tiles, and make sure you include kitchen windows.

For some great tips on stylish kitchen accessories, as well as cleaning products, lighting, kitchen linens and practical storage solutions, take a look at the kitchen collections available from Spotlight. Here you will find plenty of inspiration that will give your kitchen the wow factor and will help you make that house sale a reality.