You have decided to downsize and move into a new and smaller place. For most people, downsizing is a conscious decision to leave the family home behind, scale back on possessions and ‘stuff' in a bid to increase disposable income. One way to actually make this happen is to think about how to save energy in your new home.
Make sure your move actually results in lower energy costs with our 16 must dos .
Speak to your energy provider
Before moving house, make sure you have talked to your energy provider. At Genesis Energy, we pride ourselves in making it easy for you to move your energy at the same time as you move house. You can let us know ahead of time at our Home Move Hub.
As you are downsizing, you should also take the opportunity to check that you are on the best electricity plan for your new property. Remember, if you are at all unsure about what electricity or natural gas plan you should be on, then talk to us.
Think about where you are placing your furniture
By making sure that you have access to your electricity outlets you can turn them off when not in use. Standby power can account for 10 per cent of household electricity use. Switching appliances and gadgets off at the wall when you're finished with them may cut both your energy use and energy bills.
Purchase energy efficient appliances
Before you move clunky old appliances to your new home, make sure that it is worth it in terms of money and effort. New energy smart options may be an upfront investment but can save money over time.
Switch to energy efficient lighting – especially solar
You might feel safer with a porch light that shines through the night. There are affordable solar options that will keep the light on but not affect your bill. Smart bulbs for indoor fixtures are cheaper and longer lasting than ever.
Change your habits
A new home is a new start and a good time to start new habits. For instance, washing your clothes with cold water could use up to 10 times less energy than a warm wash. Warming up with an electric blanket instead of a hot shower saves energy. Running your dishwasher and other major appliances during off-peak hours may create savings too.
What temperature have you set your water heater to?
Before you settle in check the setting from the previous owner. They may have had it running at full tilt and you only need half of what it produces. The recommendation is 60°C or higher to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria but for every 10°C higher than that, you could be spending a hefty 10% more a year.
Take a look at your windows instead of just out of them
Are your old window frames letting in drafts? Replacing aging windows is costly but often worth the trouble for energy savings.
Do you really need all those appliances?
As you pack up your boxes think about your small appliances and whether they are still useful to you. For example, a cordless phone can cost upwards of $15 a year. Maybe you won't even require that second or third receiver in your new home.
Look for the energy efficiency labels
Energy rating labels are displayed on all new whiteware appliances (fridges, freezers etc), televisions, computer monitors and heat pumps available for sale in New Zealand. When you're shopping for appliances, make sure you compare the energy ratings as the more energy-efficient the appliance, the less it could cost to run.
Here is a handy guide in how to make sense of them.
What if you are renting?
If you are renting there are reasonable things that you can request from your landlord to save money. Fixing windows, sealing cracks, adding removable window filters or replacing curtains can save you money.
Only Heat and Cool the rooms in use
If your new place has guest rooms do not be afraid to close them when they are not in use so you don't have to heat and cool them. You can always air them out when you are awaiting company.
New soft furnishings
When you are packing up your linens you may see that it is time for a refresh. New sheets and blankets are a warm simple treat for yourself. An electric blanket is a smart investment along with plush throws for the sofa and your favourite chair.
Adjust the thermostat
Once you have moved in, you will have a feel for how your home heats and cools naturally throughout the day. Adjust your thermostat accordingly. For every degree you increase your heating and cooling you increase your energy use by around 5 to 10 per cent.
A dripping hot water tap can waste enough hot water to fill half a bath in just one week, so fix leaking taps and make sure they're all fully turned off.
Ditch the dryer
Ditch the dryer before you move. It will save you room in the removal truck and air-drying laundry on a clothesline could save you money.
Insulate your hot water cylinder
Hot water cylinders are a fundamental appliance in most people's homes. When you move into your new house, make sure you get your cylinder checked out by a certified plumber . If it is not insulated properly, make this a priority as you could save a lot of money.
So, there you have it, 16 things to do when downsizing to your new (smaller) home. Have you already downsized? What advice would you give to those about to move house? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.