It may have taken a while to show up this year, but winter is here and making its presence felt across the country with chilly weather and, in some regions, heaps of snow. A bit of home  warming is just the thing and, with the right approach, the electricity bill shouldn’t break the budget.

There are basically two ways to make sure your home is warm at the lowest cost possible

The first is to choose a power provider which delivers your electricity at a lower price. The second is to take a smart approach to heating to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

Let’s take a quick look at the first one. For too long your choices of electricity provider were pretty limited and there wasn’t any real difference between one and the other. That’s changed and new companies like Electric Kiwi offer lower prices year-round; in fact, we guarantee that you’ll save at least $200 per year.

As the infomercials reliably inform us ‘that’s not all’. Every Electric Kiwi customer gets one hour of free electricity every day with our ‘Hour of Power’. That’s one hour each day during which you can blast the heaters, run the washing machine and dryer, take a hot shower – you get the idea. So, just by switching to a lower cost provider means immediate savings. Refer a friend and both of you will get a $50 credit too. The more friends who sign up on your referral, the more savings you can rack up.

Moving on to the second way. Using your electricity smartly means looking after the heat in your home and also targeting moisture; we all know how unhealthy damp is. Insulation is a crucial first step, as it keeps warmth in (and therefore will result in lower heating costs). While more homes than ever are insulated, if yours isn’t, funding may be available from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (ask your local Council for help).

Damp houses require more energy to heat, so keeping your home dry is a major step towards managing the cost of heating it. So, when doing the laundry, use the fastest spin cycle so there is less moisture in the clothes; when tumble drying, make sure the laundry is vented – close the door and open a window, so the moisture is vented outside. Use extractor fans when cooking, showering or bathing so the damp air is sucked out of the house. During the day (especially if it’s a sunny one), air the house by opening the windows.

A heat pump is one of the most efficient ways to warm your home, so if you don’t already have one of these handy devices, consider getting one. But for smaller rooms, plug in fan heaters are a fairly efficient and reasonably-priced alternative to quickly warm up a room. Combine these tips with your ‘Hour of Power’ and make this the warmest winter yet – for the lowest cost.

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Julian is managing director and a founding partner of Electric Kiwi, an independent online power retailer designed specifically for homes with smart meters. Electric Kiwi launched to the public in mid-2015. The company aims to maximise technology to bring cheaper electricity to New Zealanders. Julian has over a decade’s experience working in technology businesses in New Zealand, the US and Asia. He holds a PhD in Information Science from Otago University.

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