There is no denying that our electrical appliances use up an awful lot of energy, even when they are left on standby. Not only is this bad for the planet, but it’s also bad for your wallet too.
The most obvious way to be more energy efficient is to purchase a new, modern appliance with an A+ efficiency rating and always choose any ‘Eco’ settings which may be available.
Keeping Your Appliances Energy Efficient
But there are a few changes which you can include in your daily lifestyle, too:
- Tightly Pack Your Freezer
A full freezer keeps the cold in much better than an empty one. When you open the door, a lot of cold air can escape, meaning the appliance has to work hard to get the temperature down again. If it is empty, it also has to work hard to keep the space cold. Don’t over-pack your freezer as you need air to circulate but try to keep it full and stored efficiently.
If you’ve just done a large shop, don’t put away all of this thawing frozen food all at once. Do it in stages so the temperature regulators don’t have to work so hard, prioritising anything which may defrost the quickest.
- Turn Off Small Appliances at The Plug
You only use your toaster, kettle and microwave once or twice a day at the absolute maximum. Your DVD player, speakers and kitchen accessories are probably only used once a week (or maybe even month). Unlike fridges, freezers and ovens, they don’t need to be on 24/7, and the mains plug is probably pretty easy to reach.
Switch them off entirely when they aren’t in use, so they don’t drain additional resources.
- Don’t Overcharge Your Gadgets
Most of us probably have a habit of keeping our phones and laptops plugged in long after they’ve finished charging. You probably go against advice and charge them overnight. Even though the battery can’t get any fuller, electricity is still being used.
Overcharging can also negatively impact the battery life of your gadget over time. Ensure you only charge for the necessary amount of time or invest in a Smart Plug which will time your usage. Check out our reviews of the best ones here.
- Frequently Wash Your Clothes on Cool
Washing your clothes in cold temperatures all the time is terrible for mould and germ build-up, but the vast majority of your washes probably don’t need to be above 30°C.
Over 90% of the energy your washing machine uses is to heat up the water, but washing on lower temperatures could save up to 1/3. Keep hotter temperatures to an absolute minimum of maybe once per week.
- Make Sure the Dishwasher and Washing Machine Are Full
Whether you have one plate in your dishwasher or ten, the same amount of water and power is used. The same goes for your washing machine, depending on the settings you use.
These appliances should never be overpacked as their efficiency will reduce, but only use them when there’s a full load.
- Don’t Overload the Tumble Dryer
Tumble dryers are the real energy guzzlers of your home, consuming a lot more than most regular washing machines. It is probably best to try and avoid using them frequently and turn to air drying, but if you do use them try to make sure they’re full but not crammed.
Unlike other appliances, the amount of work they do depends on how damp the clothes are. More clothes equal more moisture to get rid of which takes longer.
- Don’t Overfill the Kettle
There is a very valid reason why your kettle probably has cup measurements down the side. If you’re making a single cup of tea, think about all the energy that is wasted boiling enough water for ten cups. You then have to re-boil it a few hours later, or even pour it down the sink if you want fresh water.
Many bean-to-cup or filter coffee machines also allow you to choose how much water you use in the same way.
- Choose the Microwave
A microwave uses the least energy of all your cooking appliances, followed by a hob and then an oven. Consider purchasing a microwave oven if you don’t already have one and use it for as much cooking as possible.
If you’re only cooking for one or reheating a small pre-frozen item, microwaves are faster and use less energy than powering up your oven for an hour.
- Cover Anything You Store in Your Fridge
Any stored uncovered food and drinks release excess moisture into the air. This then sends the temperature regulators into overdrive as they have to try and keep it all cool.
Cover any food containers to prevent this happening. Also, ensure that food is sufficiently cooled before you store it, so your fridge doesn’t have to work extra hard.
- Match the Size of The Pan to Your Heating Element (And Your Food)
If your pan is too large for the size of the element or burner, it will take longer to cook whatever is in it. This is common when pre-boiling a pan full of water ready for your pasta or vegetables. If it is too small, a lot of energy is being wasted as it is unused as it escapes around the pan.
Pop a lid on any pans too, to maintain optimum temperature. You can even turn off your hobs in the last few minutes of cooking – the heat inside the pot will continue heating your food.
- Clean Your Oven and Hob
Burnt-on foodstuffs can absorb heat, meaning this is wasted energy. A clean surface will also reflect heat better, resulting in a faster heating and cooking time.