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One joy of summer is the way the power bill sting fades away. As the days warm up and the heaters stay off, the meters stop spinning. Our monthly bill can be a third of those of the dark days of winter.

Advice on how to save money buying energy is also part of their role. They say plenty can be done during summer to stretch the energy budget even further.

Summer savings are mostly about working the margins, taking a saving here and there and letting them build up. The long-term bonus is these savings will continue for all seasons and become more significant over time.

Water heating

Water heating costs continue all year and is the biggest factor in the power bill.

Insulating the cylinder with is vital. If it's an old cylinder, make sure it is insulated (if you touch it and it is warm, it needs insulation). Even if you can't reach all parts of the cylinder because it is wedged tightly in a cupboard, covering what you can, especially the top and the first metre of pipe will help a lot.

The cylinder temperature should be set at 60 degrees Celsius. If you turn it down, don't go under 60C to save money because that heat is needed to kill any legionnaires disease bacteria growing in the cylinder.

Installing a low-flow shower heads can also save money, but that relies on not spending longer in the shower.

The fridge

Fridges becomes the most expensive appliance in summer.  While it uses about 15 per cent of a house's power bill over a year, that can climb to 25 per cent in summer.

The fridge should be first on the list if you have money for one super energry efficient appliance, 

Fridges have to work harder in summer. One tip is make sure they are in the shadiest coolest place possible. CEA technicians have seen freezers sitting in 30C plus heat in direct sunlight in open garages.

Another common mistake is to turn the old fridge into a beer fridge after buying a new energy efficient fridge. Suddenly all potential savings are lost (a 10-year-old fridge can use double the power of a new one) and the power bill is even higher.

Recommended inside temperature settings are between 2deg and 4deg in fridge and -18 deg in freezer. Newer fridges dont have butter conditioners, but if you have one, turn it off. It makes no sense to heat a small part of a fridge. Put the butter in the pantry instead.

The right plan

Having the right plan with the right power company can save a huge amount of money.

Big savings are possible if you can get billed online and pay by direct debit.

But also important is building a plan around your lifestyle. Some plans are better for people who area away all day, while others suit those who are at home all day.

A final tip is to use the summer for winter savings plans. This is the time to buy new appliances, get energy savings work done and so on, because the businesses aren't busy and want the work in their downtime. This is the time to get big discounts and fast service, especially that involving labour costs.

Do you think you will try these tips?

Written by Ewan Sargent. Republished with permission of Stuff.co.nz.  

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