If you're heading out of town to your bach/crib this summer, here are some tips on how to run two households and still save on your electricity bill.

Before you leave

  1. If you are a Genesis customer, make sure you're on the right energy plan for both your home and holiday home. If you want to find out more, check out our website for more information on our plans.
  2. One of the best ways to save electricity in your home while you're away is to turn off the non-essential appliances. Things like the microwave, television, computers, lamps etc. This way you're not spending money to keep them on stand-by. You'll probably want to leave the fridge and the hot water cylinder turned on, depending how long you're away.

Once you get there

The things you need to do to make your bach/crib more energy efficient are no different to what you would do at home.

  1. If you arrive at the bach/crib and the appliances haven't been turned on for a few months, make sure you give them a once over first to check they're safe to use. You could do a quick short empty wash in the washing machine, change the rinse aid in the dishwasher and run a rinse cycle. These checks will help ensure the appliances are running efficiently so you don't have to re-wash anything later or use too harsh a setting. You should also check the thermostat settings on your hot water tank so you aren't heating your water to an unnecessarily high temperature (you might need to get a plumber to change the thermostat setting for you depending on your tank). Energywise.govt.nz suggests the temperature at the tank should be 60 degrees Celsius and no more than 50 degrees Celsius at the tap.
  2. Before you turn on your air conditioning for the first time this summer, clean the air filters. Clean filters use less electricity and can have a big impact on your energy bill. Read our post on how to save energy when using air conditioning.
  3. Consider using a fan instead of the air conditioning. If all you need is airflow, rather than for the air to actually be cooled, a fan is a much lower cost option. Set up a freestanding fan in the corner and let it swivel to keep the air moving.
  4. Try to have at least a couple of windows open during the day. New Zealand's coastal conditions make it fairly easy to create a constant, steady airflow. This will help keep the house cool and dry, even if there's minimal breeze.
  5. Use blinds, curtains and outdoor awnings to create shade and reduce the amount of direct sunlight coming in through the windows. If you do this on the run up to midday (where the sun is at its highest and hottest) you can reduce the need to use the AC.
  6. In a lot of New Zealand homes, the water flow in our showers and taps is much higher than it needs to be. There are a number of things you can do to reduce how much hot water you use; the simplest is to make your showers shorter and turn down the temperature on your water heater. This will be a lot easier to live with in summer! Check out the Smarthomes.org.nz website for some great ideas.
  7. Most of your washing machine's energy goes on heating the water. Use a cold wash wherever possible. Unless your clothes are heavily stained (mud pies or bush walks optional!), considering using a short or eco-wash too.
  8. While you're at it, use the fantastic New Zealand sun and wind to dry your clothes instead of a dryer. It costs you nothing and in most parts of coastal New Zealand, they'll be dry in no time.
  9. If you're in a full on holiday mode, using the barbecue or microwave to cook instead of the oven or stove elements will save you a bundle of energy – and precious time. Be sure to follow the cooking instructions and if you're using a microwave, keep to glass or ceramic dishes.
  10. Stock up on food – keeping your fridge full means it doesn't have to work so hard to stay cool when you open the door. As your food chills, it lowers the overall temperature of the fridge – the more you have, the chillier your fridge will stay.
  11. Only run the dishwasher when it's full, and don't pre-rinse – just scrape your dishes before you put them in. If you really want to cut down your energy use, turn off the dry cycle and air dry the dishes once they've been washed.
  12. Are you still using the light bulbs you put in 12 years ago? Chances are, they're not nearly as efficient (and maybe not as effective) as modern LED light bulbs. Consider replacing them sooner rather than later to cut down on your energy bills and to cut your future costs, too.

So, if you're heading out to the bach/crib or even if you're staying at home this summer, try a few of these energy saving tips.

For more information on the best plan for you check out the website.

Have a great summer!