We've put together some useful tips to help you and your family stay warm this winter, along with a list of organisations that can help. You can also contact your electricity retailer or local council for further advice or support.
- Use a heat pump if you have one (a wood burner is the next best thing), and keep it regularly maintained.
Heat pumps are 3 times more efficient than portable electric heaters, although these are okay to use for smaller rooms.
- Set the temperature between 18 and 23°C (the higher end is best, particularly for the elderly – but no higher).
Use built-in timers to warm the room just before you get home and familiarise yourself with the various settings.
- Place thermostats away from heat sources and open doors.
- If you're using a wood burner, only burn dry, untreated and unpainted wood less than 11cm in diameter.
- Keep all items – especially potentially flammable ones – at least 1 metre away from heaters and fires.
- Plug electric heaters directly into a power socket rather than using a multiboard, to prevent overloading.
- Use electric blankets safely and not with a hot water bottle. If you can, limit their use to save on power bills.
- Close doors to keep the warmth in.
- Leave any type of heater running while you're not in the room (except for heat pumps with a timer set).
- Use an open oven door as a heater.
- Use unflued/portable gas heaters. If you have to use one, only do so for a short period (and never in bedrooms) and keep a window and all internal doors open for good ventilation.
- Make sure your home is well insulated (in most cases, rental homes must be insulated by law). Find out more.
Floor and ceiling insulation can reduce heat loss by 50%.
- Seal any gaps around windows and doors using draught excluder tape or draught stoppers (or a rolled-up towel).
This can reduce heat loss by up to 20%. If you're renting, you can ask your landlord to block any significant draughts.
- Look into double or secondary glazing, or buy a window film insulation kit from a hardware store or supplier.
Film can reduce heat loss by almost 60%, while double glazing can reach 70%.
- Tighten any loose door hinges to make sure doors fit snugly into their frames. Also tighten any loose cat flaps.
- Block off any unused chimneys with a rubbish bag filled with shredded newspaper (make it obvious it's blocked, so nobody tries to light a fire) and secure the ceiling hatch, if there is one.
- Use rugs and carpets where underfloor insulation isn't possible.
- Keep the outside of your home sealed and painted.
- Make sure curtains are well-fitted and reach the floor. Close them before it gets dark to keep the sun's heat in.
- Touch foil insulation, which has been banned in residential buildings since 2016 due to the risk of electric shock.
- Touch asbestos-containing insulation, which may be present in homes built or renovated before the year 2000.
If you suspect insulation contains asbestos, contact a licensed assessor or email [email protected].
- Open windows once or twice a day for around 10-15 minutes if you can, or use a ventilation system.
- Wipe away condensation from windows and walls. A dryer home is easier (and cheaper) to heat.
- Hang washing outside to dry if you can. If you're using a dryer with no exhaust vent, turn on an extractor fan or open a window. Do the same while showering, or install a shower dome to stop steam escaping.
- While cooking, use the rangehood or extractor fan (or open a window) and use pan lids to stop steam escaping.
- Move furniture away from walls and leave wardrobes slightly open to discourage mould.
- Use a dehumidifier, but only on damp days as they aren't a long-term solution and can be expensive to run.
- Look into getting a ground moisture barrier installed, or ask your landlord about this.
Where to get help
Click a logo to go to the organisation's website or tool.
|A pilot scheme from the Electricity Retailers' Association of NZ (ERANZ) supported by we*, providing useful advice and practical support.|
|An EECA government agency dedicated to helping New Zealanders use less energy, with tips on how to make your home warm, dry and healthier.|
|An EECA programme providing grants for a heater, insulation or both for homeowners who meet the eligibility criteria.|
|A housing coordination service for the Wellington region which delivers one of the Ministry of Health's Healthy Homes Initiatives.|
|Work and Income (Te Hiranga Tangata) can provide assistance with the cost of heating in some circumstances. They also pay the Winter Energy Payment.|
|The Citizens Advice Bureau's community directory provides details of curtain banks, which offer free curtains to low income households.|
|A renter's guide to a warmer home provides advice on what you can do to make your home warmer and cheaper to heat.|
|The Heating Assessment Tool helps calculate heating requirements for the living room of a rental home.|
|The HomeFit Online Check is a self-assessment tool for landlords, homeowners and renters to find out how they can improve their home's warmth and dryness.|
|Book a free home energy assessment through Sustainability Trust.|
In the event of a power outage:
⚠️ If you're medically dependent, you should also:
In a medical emergency, call 111.
The information about providers and services contained on this page does not necessary constitute endorsement or recommendation by Wellington Electricity.