Dropping water levels in the hydro lakes can be cause for Nelson residents to conserve power, but we must also be mindful of the need to keep the air clean. We cannot relapse into bad burning habits. Here is some advice for keeping warm in winter depending on the heating options you have available.
I only have a heat pump/electric heater
You should still use this heating when you feel cold. Power suppliers have advised that the situation is not so dire that people stop using their electric heaters at home. However, you must use them efficiently. Only heat the room you are in while you are in it. Close windows, doors and curtains to cut out draughts.
Heat pumps use electricity very efficiently so don’t be afraid to use them.
Try saving power in other ways like switching off lights, unplugging appliances you are not using and having shorter showers not baths.
I have an enclosed burner and some electric heating
On nights when it is raining or windy and pollution is unlikely to settle, you could safely use your enclosed burner without having too much effect on our air quality. However on still and frosty nights, try using your electric heating options efficiently (as outlined above) if you have the choice.
When you are using an enclosed burner keep it burning fast and bright, don’t damp it down. This warms your home better and vastly reduces the amount of smoke your chimney puts out.
I have a gas heater
It is okay to use your flued/unflued gas heater without having any effect on power consumption or our air quality. Some gas heaters need electricity to start them and back up power systems are available to run them in the event of a power failure.
Unflued (portable) gas heaters give off a lot of indoor pollutants and moisture, so try to moderate their use (and provide a source of fresh air).
If you have an all electric house, a portable gas heater stored in the garage can be a good emergency standby in the unlikely event there is a complete power outage (and gas barbeques can be used for cooking).
I have a pellet fire
Pellet fires do use some electricity in their operation but it is a very small amount and the smoke they put out is also negligible. Back up power systems are available to run pellet burners in the event of a power failure.
Wrap up or consider improving insulation
Sometimes just putting on an extra jersey is all you need to do to feel warm and that uses no electricity. Is your home wrapped up warm too? Now is a great time to check out and maybe improve your insulation in the ceiling, walls and under floors.
Don’t light that open fire!
If you still have an open fire, don’t be tempted to revert back to using this. Use of open fires in the urban area of Nelson (including the Glen) is banned effective 1 January 2008.