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Your whitegoods may not be the first appliances that you think of when it comes to saving energy… and while they may not be the most popular tool in the energy saving kit, every bit helps and it’s surprisingly easy to make some smart, energy saving decisions in the kitchen and laundry.
Your first choice is a simple one: when it comes to buying whitegoods, choose an energy efficient model (you can check the star ratings!). Front-loading washing machines use less power, water and detergent than top-loaders, and dryers that turn off automatically as soon as the clothes are dry will save energy.
"Fridges and freezers generally account for 8% - 13% of household power bills" - Source: energy.gov
Pick the right size fridge and freezer: to work efficiently, fridges should be at least two thirds full and freezers three quarters full. The star rating on your fridge will show you how energy efficient it is based on its size, and remember fridges and freezers with the gimmicks – ice dispensers and self-defrost – cost more and use more energy.
Make sure when you bring your fridge home that you choose the right place for it: away from sunlight and the heat of the oven, with some free space for ventilation and access to clean the coils … and flat! If it isn’t level, the door may not seal properly. To make sure it’s sealing, close the door on a piece of paper and, if you can pull it out easily, then air’s getting out too and you need to replace the seals.
Set your fridge to run at 0 to 4°C and your freezers at -15 to -18°C. You can check that the thermostat is working by putting a thermometer in there. Just like the shopper going to the supermarket after a meal, freezers and fridges are more efficient when they are full. The more air space, the more power is needed to keep that air cool. But don’t crowd items in either, if the air can’t move your food it’s harder to cool it. Food should be left to cool down before you put it in the fridge or freezer, and tell the kids to make up their minds before they open the door! Defrost your freezer every six months or when there is a one-centimetre frost build up and, if you are going away for a while, clean them out and turn them off!
Your dishwasher probably uses more water per load than it takes to wash up in the sink 3 times. So, if you like the convenience of a dishwasher, only run it when it’s full, don’t rinse in hot water and use the lowest setting and shortest running time you can while still getting a good result.
Wash your clothes in cold water, with a full load. If you have to use a small load, adjust the water level. Easy. And the dryer: when you can, use the sun, it’s a great dryer that’s totally solar powered! Don’t put completely soaking clothes in the dryer, don’t leave them in too long, don’t overfill … don’t, don’t, don’t. But if you do, make sure you clean the filter regularly and try to dry loads one after the other so the heat from the last load can help the next one!