Tips to Save Energy

Environmental sustainability is an issue that Appliances Online takes seriously. The less energy consumed at an individual level, the better for our environment. Additionally, it's important to invest in energy efficient appliances to keep your energy bills as low as possible.

Here is Appliances Online's guide to reducing energy in the home, for a greener future we can all enjoy.

Saving energy in the laundry

Washing machines

When buying a washing machine, keep an eye out for the energy star rating system. The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance. While it might cost more to buy a five star machine, over time your investment will pay for itself in energy savings.

As a general rule, front-loading machines are more energy efficient than top-loaders. Plus, they tend to be gentler on your clothes as there's no chance of your garments getting snagged on the agitator.

The temperature of the wash cycle is another factor that affects energy efficiency. While cold water washes are technically the most efficient, they are not great for getting your clothes thoroughly clean. A minimum temperature of 30°C is required for the enzymes in your laundry detergent to become activated, so warm wash cycles are recommended. In many front-loading machines, a warm water wash of 30°C is the lowest temperature option you can select.

Hot wash cycles are good for removing dirt, oil and stubborn stains, and they're also good for removing allergens from your clothing - the higher the temperature, the more hygienic the wash. However, bear in mind that the hotter the wash cycle, the more energy your machine will use.

Another way you can save energy in the laundry is to wait until you have enough laundry to do a full load. Every time you run the machine you're using energy, so by consolidating your laundry into larger loads you'll be doing your bit to save energy.

Some washing machine models also include an eco mode which helps to further reduce energy and water consumption. However, the trade-off is that these cycles usually take more time.

Clothes dryers

When it comes to drying your clothes, line-drying will always be the most eco-friendly option. However, if it's raining or if you live in an apartment, this is often simply not possible, in which case you'll need to shop for an energy efficient clothes dryer.

Again, the energy star rating system will help you make an eco-friendly decision. The high-end condenser dryers offer energy efficient solutions – look for brands like Bosch or Asko. Alternatively, you might like to consider a gas dryer from Rinnai or Speed Queen.

To maximise the efficiency of your clothes dryer, make sure you don't overfill the machine. You should also clean the lint filter with every load, and make sure you stop the dryer as soon as your clothes are dry. Some models feature an auto sensing function which automatically detects the moisture levels in your clothes and stops the dryer from operating once your clothes are dry.

Saving energy in the kitchen

Fridges

In the average Australian household, fridges account for the largest percentage of energy use. Ensuring your fridge is running efficiently can make a big difference to your power bills.

First of all, there are some simple things you can do to help your fridge run as efficiently as possible. Common sense dictates that the more you open the fridge door, the more cold air will escape. So try not to open the door unless you need something, and remember to shut it as soon as you're done. Take it from us – no amount of staring at an empty shelf will make a pizza magically appear, sorry. Fridges with an inbuilt door alarm are a good investment as they sound an alarm to let you know when the door has been left open for too long.

The hotter it is in your kitchen, the harder your fridge needs to work to keep things cool. For this reason, it's advisable to place your fridge as far as possible from your oven and cooktop. And if you've got a drinks fridge running in the garage, bear in mind that it will have to work even harder during the summer months to keep your beer cold.

If your fridge is over ten years old, it's probably a good idea to start thinking about upgrading. Older fridges tend to use more energy, so upgrading is actually an environmentally responsible thing to do. And if you buy your new fridge from Appliances Online, you can request that our team also take your old one away and recycle it.

The energy star rating system makes it easy to choose an energy-efficient fridge – the more stars, the more efficient it is. Also, larger fridges use more energy – so make sure you get the right size fridge to suit your household:

Family size

Combined fridge & freezer size

1-2 people

200-380 litres

3-4 people

350-530 litres

5+ people

440 litres +

Refrigerators run at peak efficiency when full – which is all the more incentive to buy your groceries in bulk (and save even more cash!).

You should also make sure you've allowed sufficient space at the back of the fridge for the ventilation coils, to prevent the fridge from overheating. An 80mm gap or more is optimal.

To keep your chest freezers running at peak efficiency, remember to defrost them at least once or twice a year; three times for upright freezers.

And always make sure your fridge door seals are airtight. This can be tested by closing the door over a piece of paper (half outside the fridge, half inside). If you can pull the paper out easily, the hinge may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.

Dishwashers

First of all, make sure you invest in a dishwasher with a good energy star rating. Some of the higher-end models can have energy ratings as high as 4 stars.

The best thing you can do to conserve energy with a dishwasher is to wait until it is fully loaded before you hit 'start'. This is especially important to remember with older machines. Many of the latest model dishwashers have load-sensing technology that automatically adjusts the wash cycle to suit each individual load.

Bear in mind that dishwashers use energy to dry your dishes once the wash cycle has finished. To avoid this, simply cancel the drying cycle, open the door and allow your dishes dry naturally.

Read the manufacturer's instructions closely to make sure you're loading your machine correctly. When your dishes are placed in the right positions, your machine will get everything clean as efficiently as possible (and save you the trouble of hand-washing anything the machine may have missed).

Remember to choose the right size dishwasher to suit your needs. If yours is a one or two-person household, consider investing in a slimline or benchtop dishwasher designed to accommodate smaller loads.

Ovens and cooktops

Your electric oven and cooktop can use a surprising amount of energy. If you're cooking a large baked dinner for the whole family, the oven is obviously the best choice – however if you're only heating up a small meal for one, the microwave is generally the more energy efficient option. The same goes for stovetop cooking – if it's two minute noodles you're making, you're better off 'nuking' them than cooking on the stove (plus it's quicker!).

When using the oven, keep the door completely closed while the food is cooking to prevent heat from escaping. Fan-forced ovens are also a good choice as they help to speed up the cooking process by circulating hot air around the oven cavity.

If you're planning to buy a new cooktop, bear in mind that induction cooktops are considerably more energy efficient than standard electric cooktops. While the initial outlay may be more, you will eventually recoup the expense through energy savings.

Cooking tips:

  • When using frozen foods, thaw fully before cooking to save time and energy.
  • Cooking your vegetables with steam uses less energy than boiling.
  • Select the correct pan or pot size for your hotplates and cook with the lid on.
  • Use the minimum amount of water in your pot and bring liquid to the boil quickly on a high setting before turning the heat down.
  • Use your kettle (or instant boiling water tap!) to boil water, rather than the stove.

A new appliance can save you money!

Consider replacing old, expensive-to-run appliances and look for new appliances with good energy star ratings. Energy efficient whitegoods can save hundreds of dollars per year in energy bills, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas being emitted into the environment over the product's lifespan.

Let's work together to keep your energy bills down and make Australia environmentally sustainable.