One tip that covers all appliances and a great place to start is looking at energy efficiency. Manufactures have become aware of the competitive requirement to produce appliances that are efficient and cheap to run. You have no doubt seen energy efficiency stickers everywhere. From buildings to appliances, energy is everyone’s business these days:
But…. Have you ever paid attention to these stickers and compared?
Appliances receive a lot of attention when it comes to energy ratings. Similar to how someone buying a printer must pay careful attention towards the cost of the ink for that model, the running costs of an appliance should be a factor in your capital expenditure. Pay close attention next time you are shopping for appliances and take the time to work out the difference in operating costs.
Here are some top tips on saving money:
Fridge / Freezer
Perhaps an obvious place to start, a fridge / freezer unit is going to cost you a lot of cash to run. Unlike an iron or a toaster, this appliance is always on and the costs should be considered part of your base energy bills. Where we can save money by switching off lights and limiting the heating, the fridge freezer is slightly different. Here are some top tips:
- Keep it full – keeping air cool uses more energy than maintaining the temperature of it’s contents.
- Size Matters – Be sure to buy a fridge freezer that is an appropriate size for your family as well as one that is energy efficient!
- Let it cool! – Perhaps an obvious one, but let food cool down properly before storing it in the fridge / freezer.
- Defrosting Saves Energy – If you are defrosting something for dinner the next day, pop it in the fridge. Not only does this keep the product fresher, but it saves energy by cooling down the contents of the fridge!
- Check the Seals – Once in a while, check the door seals. They can sometimes become loose which wastes a lot of energy!
I absolutely love our dishwasher. Call me lazy, but I can think of 100 things I like doing more than washing dishes! Contrary to a fridge/freezer, a dishwasher is only used occasionally – and care should be taken that you don’t run a cycle too often! Here are some top tips:
- Load it Up – I have seen so many of my friends run their dishwashers with only a couple of plates and glasses – and it winds me up so much! An excuse of not having enough plates without washing them is just not good enough – you can buy cheap plates and cutlery (that will quickly pay for themselves).
- Don’t fall for Expensive soaps / tablets – Dishwasher capsules are a marketers dream! Images of sparkling glasses and pure white crockery… the supermarket’s own brand does exactly the same. Check out the ingredients – chances are they are 95% the same! Oh and did I mention they are about a quarter of the price!
- Don’t over-rinse dishes – Modern dishwashers do a superb job of cleaning even the most soiled of plates. If you pre-rinse too much, you are wasting a lot of energy and water.
- Use the Settings – Dishwashers come with a variety of settings – you can vary the temperature, cycle time, drying mode etc. Vary it depending on your load.
Washing Machine / Dryer
I like to think of washing machines and energy efficient tumble dryers as in the same category as dishwashers. While a lot of the same energy saving tips can be applied, consider the following:
- Use Lower Temperature Settings – I can honestly say that I have only ever washed clothes at 30 degrees Celsius in the last year. Just because it is safe to wash a shirt at 60 and your cottons at 40, it doesn’t mean that you need to! Not only does this save a small fortune, but it keeps your clothes in far better condition!
- Load to Capacity – Almost everyone under-loads their washing machine. You can always fill any space with towels or bed sheets to ensure that you get maximum capacity!
- Buy in Bulk – Washing powder is another massively overpriced product. Plastic liquid tabs may look pretty, but they can cost up to ten times the amount of buying powder with a scoop!
- Don’t Add Wet Items to an Almost-Dry Load – otherwise everything else gets wet again! 🙂
- Clear Vents – Vents in washer/dryers quickly become clogged with dust and fluff. This is detrimental to the efficiency of the dry cycle – clean it out!
- Air it Out – Finally, you could do what I do and avoid using a tumble dryer altogether. Sure, we have one (it was a gift), but we have only had it on a handful of times since moving in a year ago! Drying racks and a washing line allow clothes to air naturally and smell a lot fresher!