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How to cut your winter power costs – leaving you extra to splurge on the things you really want

How to cut your winter power costs – leaving you extra to splurge on the things you really want

Crochet slippers from Handmade-to-order crochet slippers from House Shoes

1. Get your space heater out of the attic and give it a good dusting. Decide which room it’ll be stationed in, and make sure there are chairs or cosy spots for all members of the family or flat.

Congregating in one room of the house on chilly nights is far more efficient than heating multiple rooms – plus your combined body heat will maximise the temperature!

2. Once you’ve planned which rooms you’ll focus on heating, make sure all that warmth dosn’t head straight out the cracks. Take action against draughts by following our comprehensive online guide at www.good.net.nz/draughts

​3. Find your favourite slow-cooking and baking recipes and bookmark cookbook pages, or print out from the internet and add to a folder. Use your oven rather than stovetop elements, as the oven will also warm up the room it is in. Cook several dishes at once to maximise power usage and then, once dinner’s ready, leave the oven door open to let the deliciously scented heat waft through the house.

4. Take advantage of Easter sales to stock up on wool blankets and featherdown duvets. Wool and down are better than synthetic fibres at regulating temperature and wicking away body moisture. Add an insulating woollen mattress liner below the bottom sheet, and you’ll have a warmth sandwich to get into every night.

5. Check your kids’ beds for residual damp. Replace any sponge mattresses with innersprung versions as these have better ventilation and stay both warmer and drier. If you are concerned about rising damp, invest in a dehumidifer, clear out underneath beds, banish bedroom clutter and leave the dehumidifier running in bedrooms during the day. 

6. Unpack your winter wardrobe from storage. Check woollen items carefully for moth holes and darn where necessary. To get rid of any stale, musty odours, hang dry items on the washing line on a sunny day to air out.

7. Don’t use a clothes rack or unflued dryer indoors – drying clothes will add a lot of damp air to your home. Rig up a covered washing line on your verandah or in the garage. It will also help you avoid using the dryer as much, saving you extra on your bills.

8. Are your curtains lined? Add a thermal backing, or if you’ve got skimpy drapes, invest in thick, heavy fabric that pools on the floor. (Are affordable fabrics only available in hideous colours? Pick up some dye from a craft store). Woollen blankets from op-shops also make cost-effective curtain liners – as well as being super insulators. Attach them to the back of your existing curtains using nappy pins for an easy no-sew fix! See www.good.net.nz/drapes for more.

9. Get out your hot water bottles and wheat bags and flash them up with gorgeous new handmade hottie covers and wheaties from Felt (www.felt.co.nz). Rather than heating bedrooms, start the habit of popping hotties or wheaties into beds half an hour before going to sleep. Even if the room is chilly, you’ll be toasty warm the minute you slide under the covers. 

10. Assess your wardrobe for warmth. Giant jumpers might look wonderfully cosy, but what will really keep you toasty are layers of merino or silk next to your skin. Check out New Zealand Nature (www.nznature.co.nz), Silkbody (www.silkbody.co.nz) and Mons Royale (www.monsroyale.com) for light layers you can wear underneath your ordinary clothes. Adding a thermal layer trumps pulling on a voluminous hoodie or switching on the heater.

11. Still can’t get warm without cranking the heater? Focus on warming up your core – keep a wheat bag on your lap or pressed against your lower back, near your kidneys. (Or tuck it inside your top! We won’t tell anyone). Hand-warmers can make frigid offices bearable, while lightweight fingerless gloves are a must for anyone trying to type in chilly conditions.

12. Put the kettle on (only heating as much water as you’re planning to use at that moment). A cup of tea is a multi-tasking cold-buster – large ceramic cups make excellent hand-warmers, you’ll get warm from the inside out, and going to the kitchen gets your body moving.

13. Look out for untanalised wood going for free, or ask friends and family if they’ve got any trees that need trimming. Start stacking firewood in a sheltered spot now and it’ll dry out by the time you’ll need it. Added bonus: gloating over your wood stash makes you feel warmer.

14. Station a portable radio in the bathroom. Whether you choose to stay informed on current events or groove away while you shampoo, you’ll be able to time your shower by the number of songs or news stories you listen to. Make it a challenge to do one less.

15. The removal of damp air from the bathroom is crucial to keeping your home warm. Give any dusty extractor fans or air vents an annual clean so they can be as effective as possible.

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