Getting the best from your kitchen appliances

Buying a more energy efficient fridge or washing machine is unlikely to save the planet from meltdown but it is at least doing something as a well known supermarket would say, every little helps.

Energy efficiency
As well as the purchase price you need to take into account the actual running costs of your household appliances. A seemingly negligible saving on running your washing machine every week can add up to a substantial sum over the life of the item.  This can be really important in life after divorce where money can often be very tight.

Diagram of energy savingEnergy rating
The EU energy rating label is now obligatory for all white goods and ovens sold in the UK.  The grading runs from A – the best – to G – the worst.  Manufacturers are responsible for grading their own products.  The Energy Saving Recommended logo can only be used for the most energy efficient products.

Water efficiency
As a rule of thumb the less water a washing machine or a dishwasher uses the more energy efficient it is.  Water usage is becoming an increasingly important part of the overall efficiency of the appliance.  This will have a real effect upon your running costs if you have a metered water supply.  

bra and knickers on a washing lineWashing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers
Wash clothes at lower temperatures.  At 30°c you can save energy and still have clean kit as modern detergents wash so well at low temperatures.  Wait until you have a full load before you use the dishwasher or washing machine.  Half load settings use more than half the energy and water of a full load.

Save energy when appliances are not in use by switching off at the plug which saves energy used by displays and lights.  Keep filters clean and the machine will run more efficiently.

Up to date washing machines and dishwashers use a significant lower quantity of power than older models.  Only use your tumble dryer if there is no alternative. Use the washing line or clothes racks to dry clothes whenever possible. If you must use your dryer then make sure that you have a full load.

Fridges and freezers
If your freezer is not frost free then it should be defrosted regularly to ensure energy efficiency.  Keep freezers well stocked so that you are not spending money keeping a lot of empty space cold.  Your fridge and freeze work harder than any other appliances as they need to be on twenty four hours a day.  A modern, efficient fridge or freezer will use about one third less energy than one that is ten years old.

Match the size of your burner or ring to the diameter of the base of the pan.  If you have a gas hob do not have the flames licking up the side of the pan. Not only is this wasteful of energy it can also make the handles of your pans dangerously hot.  Once a pan has come to the boil turn it down.

Use a steamer set so that you can cook something in the base at the same time as steaming vegetables or fish in the inserts.  Don’t turn your oven on just to bake one potato or warm up a pasty for lunch.  Have something else instead.

Disposal of old appliances
Dispose of all old appliances responsibly.  Some of the major retailers will take away your old item for a small fee when they deliver the new one.  If not you can take it to a local authority tip or your council will collect and dispose of your unwanted appliances for you for which they make a small charge.  Don't just dump it, that's a really bad idea. 

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