Efficient appliance usage


How your usage can improve the efficiency of your appliances

Buying energy efficient appliances is not the end of the story.  How you operate your appliance and where it’s situated in your home will largely determine how efficient your appliance will run. There are also other factors to consider such as where you live and the type of home you live in.

Let’s look at some of the most common appliances in your home and how to situate them to maximise their efficiency.  The kitchen has some of the most used appliances; the cooker, fridge freezer and dishwasher.  Laying out your kitchen appliances in a triangle shape will not only mean you can move around them easier but will also help maximise efficiency.

The dishwasher should be placed next to the sink under the window with the fridge and the cooker at the opposite ends of the triangle.  Placing the dishwasher or cooker next to the fridge freezer will only cause your fridge freezer to work harder to keep your food cool due to the heat caused by the other Appliances. Cookers and Dishwashers generate heat when on, so the further apart they can be the less chance they will impact each other.

General maintenance on your appliances keep them operating efficiently, these are everyday things as simple as cleaning the appliance.  Oven’s need to be cleaned regular to keep them efficient, remove any debris from around the oven to prevent it getting stuck in the seal and damaging it.  This would just cause hot air to seep out costing you more to run.  Keep the door clean and light bulb in working order you’ll be able to see all the beautiful food you’re cooking without opening the oven and letting the heat out.

Same goes for your fridge freezer and dishwasher, give them a clean every 4 weeks, if the door seal is damaged have it repaired or replaced.  Next time you’re vacuuming the floor use one of your small attachments and run it over the refrigerator coils at the back of your fridge.

Clothes dryers are expensive to run, where ever possible line drying is the best option, however where circumstances prevent you from having to line dry your clothes choosing the right dryer for your home is important.  Heat Pump dryers tend to be the most efficient however they are not suitable for every home.  If you have a small laundry space and stack your washer and dryer onto of each other these may not be the best options for you as they are heavier than their vented dryer counter parts.

Vented Dryers are the most common type so you can pick one up relatively cheaply, however their simplistic design reduces their energy efficiency and they require a well ventilated area for the moisture they create while operating, which may rule them out for apartment living.

Sometimes paying a little more up front will end up saving you money long term.  Look at the below example from the Save Energy Save Money Website:


There will be a larger upfront cost, as with most energy efficient appliances, however look at the difference in the annual running cost between washing machine 1 and 3.  Washing machine 3 will cost you $53.73 more to run a year.  If the average life span of a washing machine is 8 years you would have made your money back within the first 4 years.  Which means over the life of the appliance you would save yourself, over $200 by purchasing the more energy efficient washing machine.

Perhaps and easier way to look at it is to work out the life time cost of the appliance.

Purchase amount + (annual running cost x 8) = Life time cost

Appliance 1: $735 + $432 = $1167

Appliance 3: $536 + $861.84 = $1397.84

As the technology develops the price of these appliances will come down making it more affordable for energy efficient appliances to be everyone’s first choice.

Julie Moore  director of Save Energy Save Money

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