Home appliances account for about 20% of energy use in our homes. That’s a lot of money that could otherwise go into your retirement fund. Or the next Disneyland vacation. And while we don’t recommend that you throw away all your electronics or start washing your laundry kneeling by the river, there are little easy ways to save energy here and there (and maybe help you set money aside towards that dream vacation)
Fridges and freezers
Your fridge and freezer accounts for about 8% of energy used as they work all day and every day. To make sure they don’t eat up more energy than they need, try setting the fridge temperature to between 3°C and 5°C and freezer to somewhere between -15°C and -18°C. Keep in mind that each degree colder can use up to 5% more energy.
Check the door seals on your fridge and freezer regularly and replace any that don’t seal properly. Likewise, make sure your fridge is not located under direct sunlight and that it has enough space around it for air circulation (about 2.5cm of clearance on the sides and above, and ideally at least 5cm at the back). Also make sure the fridge isn’t too full.
Washing machine and dishwasher
As washing machines and dishwashers often use energy to heat water, you will save a lot (between $85 and $145 a year) if you use cold water whenever you can.
Wait until the dishwasher is full or the washing machine has a full load to turn them on.
Likewise, drying your clothes on a clothesline instead of using a dryer will do wonders to your energy bill (not to mention it’s better for your clothes).
If you have a gas stove you’re ahead of the game, since it’s the most cost efficient way to cook. If you don’t, there are still ways you can save on energy.
Keep a lid on your pots when cooking – your food will cook faster and you will use up to 70% less energy in the process.
Also know that your microwave uses up to 80% less energy than your stove (not that we suggest you switch entirely to microwave dinners!)
When using the oven, cook multiple dishes at the same time instead of one after the other. Use ceramic or glass pans – they retain heat better. Turn the oven off before the specified time and use the residual heat to finish cooking the dish. Finally – no peeking! Every time you open the oven door to check if the food is ready, valuable heat escapes making your oven work harder.
Turn off entertainment appliances when not in use. That TV on the background is eating into your wallet. Actually switch them off the wall altogether. Appliances on stand up power – TV, computer, entertainment centres and battery charges – can easily add up to $250 per year. Use a timer or a powerboard to switch these off when not in use.