Reduce the Cost of Running Appliances and Save

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This article is part of a series on saving money on electricity.

reduce the cost of running appliances
Reduce the Cost of Running Appliances. Image by AndreyPopov @

The next category of spending after heating and cooling and hot water heating is appliances (not including refrigeration).

Appliance use accounts for around 16% of household energy consumption, but as we collect more and more technology, this area of consumption rises.

Many households not only have multiple TVs, stereos, gaming consoles and computers but in the last few years, we’re also charging multiple mobile phones and tablets while straightening our hair and brewing our coffee is brewing in our home espresso machine.

You get the picture. Our lives are energy intensive.

Each appliance individually uses very little energy compared to air-conditioning or hot water heating, but the sheer amount of appliances means that collectively their energy consumption can add up.

You can reduce your energy consumption on appliances by taking a three-pronged approach:

  • Buy energy-efficient appliances
  • Use fewer appliances and when you do run appliances, use them for shorter periods
  • If you have an off-peak tariff, you can run some appliances (pool pumps, for instance) at off-peak times (check your provider for more information)

Below are some tips for saving money on specific appliances.

Saving money in the laundry

The clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy consuming appliances in the home. If you regularly use a clothes dryer, you will see significant savings by ditching the dryer or minimising it’s use.

[Check out this post: Getting the washing dry without a dryer]

  • Line dry your clothes
  • Hang your washing inside on wet days
  • Wash in cold water
  • Wash full loads
  • Invest in an energy efficient washer when it’s time to get a new one
  • If you need to use the dryer, hang clothes first and ‘finish them off’ in the dryer
  • Clean the filter in your dryer after every load

Saving Money In The Kitchen

  • Run the dishwasher only when it’s full
  • Use your dishwasher’s economy setting, if it has one
  • If you like multiple cuppas through the day, boil the kettle once and use a thermos.
  • I’ll deal with cooking specifically in a couple of weeks, but a toaster oven or grill can be cheaper than using an oven, so too can a microwave (although we don’t have one of these) and depending on the size and length of time you run it, a slow cooker can also save you money.
  • I will also be dealing with refrigeration specifically next week!
  • Use muscle power. A wooden spoon is just as effective as electric beaters when making a cake, and doesn’t take that much extra time or effort. And by physically doing things yourself, you’re getting exercise without the need for an expensive gym membership.

Save Money in the Living Areas

  • Use a broom, dust pan and brush or carpet sweeper for everyday cleaning. More of that muscle power and exercise.
  • A laptop is more energy efficient than a desktop computer.
  • Turn the computer off each night or when not in use.
  • Don’t forget to also turn off all peripherals (like the printer) when not in use.
  • Choose a smaller TV. While newer TVs are actually more efficient to run than the old CRT TVs, they are also often bigger and therefore use more electricity.
  • Watch less TV (and game less and surf less). It’s better for you anyway. Or go back to the old fashioned way of only having one TV and sharing and negotiating programming.
  • Surf on the phone. Apparently, Australians are amongst the most prevalent users of smartphones in the world. While less is definitely best, if you’re killing time on Facebook and you own a tablet or smartphone anyway, it’s more energy efficient to do so on your smartphone or tablet than on your computer.
  • Turn electronics off at the wall when not in use.
  • Plug electronics into different power points or use a power board with separate switches. This means you can turn on the TV for instance, without turning on the gaming console, the DVD player, the stereo system…and whatever else is also plugged into that point. Often the TV accessories are more power hungry than the TV.

Audit Your Appliances and Save

The first article in this series talked about doing an energy audit. Checking the various running costs of appliances in your home will give you a better picture of your unique energy consumption patterns and you will therefore be able to make greater savings.

So this week is a great time to do that audit so you know exactly which appliances in your home are using the most energy and you can reduce their use to save.

If you’ve made changes to reduce your cooling costs and reduce your hot water costs and now the cost of running appliances (ditch the dryer is number one take away from this week!!), then you will already be seeing significant reductions in your energy consumption.

But there’s still more savings to be found.

Next week we’ll look at refrigeration.

Got a great tip for saving money on appliances? Why not leave a comment below.

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