With World Environment Day coming up this Saturday 5 June, Colin Jones, category expert at Appliances Online, has compiled all his favourite tips and tricks to help you create an energy-efficient home, especially during the cooler months.
“Apart from wanting to keep warm this winter, these are some tips that Australians can use all-year-round to help keep costs down and minimise their environmental impact,” he says.
Wash at the right temperature – For everyday clothes and lightly soiled garments, wash with cold water so your machine uses less energy. However, as cold water does not always remove stubborn dirt and stains, we recommended setting the temperature at 30 degrees, when needed. This temperature is suitable for most garments, while still minimising energy use. You can also pre-soak heavily soiled garments to help break down grime before putting it in your machine.
Wash at the right time – Take advantage of off-peak rates and find a washing machine with a Delay Start feature or programmable timers. This allows you to set the washer to operate at a specific time, which is not only a cost-saving benefit, but can also help you plan your washing around your schedule.
Use Quick cycles and eco programs – Eco programs are specially designed cycles that optimise energy and water use to help you cut down usage with every load. When you need to wash a small, lightly-soiled load, opt for Quick or Fast wash cycles, which uses less energy than an everyday cycle.
Opt for a heat pump dryer – Heat pump dryers are very economical on energy consumption and most have a high energy rating. Heat pump technology recycles hot air back into the dryer to reduce energy consumption. If you intend to use your dryer more often, this means greater savings on power bills over time.
Clean the lint out – Clean your dryer filter after each use. This allows air to pass through efficiently for optimal operation. When your lint tray is full of particles, your dryer needs to work much harder to push heated air through your drying clothes. Some heat pump dryers have a self-cleaning condenser, which can save you both time and money.
Fill your appliances effectively – Washers and dryers are most efficient when you use it with an appropriately-sized load. Loading your dryer correctly according to garment size and weight means your dryer will take less time drying each load. Look for smart washing machines with sensor technology, which detects the size of the load and optimises the water level in the wash.
Fridges & freezers
Upgrade to a fridge with a high energy star rating – Look for a high energy star rating when selecting an energy-efficient fridge. As refrigeration technology continues to develop, newer fridge models tend to use the least amount of energy. Look for models with optimal airflow as this circulates the air inside the fridge and freezer, to ensure even and efficient cooling.
Keep it full – Fridges and freezers work by cooling the air inside, therefore you can save energy by keeping your fridge as full as possible. This ensures less air inside the fridge that needs to be continuously cooled. Make sure you have the right size fridge to suit your household. Larger fridges that are always empty can waste power over time.
Keep it sealed – Try and keep your fridge as airtight as possible. Older fridges may need replacement seals around the door. Also, refrain from opening your fridge unless you need something, as the more you open the fridge door, the more cold air will escape.
Cooktops & ovens
Opt for induction cooktops – Induction cooktops are considerably more energy-efficient than standard electric cooktops. This is because induction uses a magnetic field to heat your cookware. This means faster heat-up, minimal heat loss, and precise temperature control.
Upgrade your oven – When upgrading your oven, look for one that offers greater door insulation, such as oven doors with multi-glazed glass. This helps to keep the heat inside. Fan forced ovens are also more efficient as they speed up the cooking process by circulating the hot air inside the oven cavity.
Five cooking tips for an energy-efficient home:
- Thaw frozen food before cooking to save time and energy.
- Cook your vegetables with steam instead of boiling as this uses less energy.
- Select the correct pan or pot size for your hotplates and cook with the lid on when you can.
- Use the minimum amount of water in your pot and bring the liquid to the boil quickly on a high setting before turning the heat down.
- Fill your kettle once and use the residual heated water to refill, so that water and heat isn’t wasted.
Invest in a heat pump dishwasher – Heat pump dishwashers are designed to be energy-efficient, with some models awarded an impressive 6-star energy rating. This innovative technology enables heat to be reused to reduce energy consumption.
Fill it effectively – The most effective thing you can do to conserve energy with a dishwasher is to make sure it is fully loaded before you run a cycle, instead of running multiple small loads. If you only want to clean a few items, look for dishwashers with a half load function.
Use the right program – Getting to know your dishwasher’s features ensures cleaner dishes and efficient operation. Some models have features like an Eco program, which is engineered to efficiently clean your dishes. Try using the rinse or pre-wash cycle of your dishwasher, instead of rinsing your plates under the running tap.
Air dry – Some dishwashers offer heated dry functions. But try to minimise the use of this feature as it can waste a lot of power. Instead, open the door of the dishwasher to let your dishes air dry naturally. Some dishwashers offer a handy automatic door-open feature to let moisture escape after the cycle.
LIVING ROOM & BEDROOM
Keep the heat in – Covering your windows and doors at night with coverings such as curtains and draft stoppers to keep the cold out, and the heat in. Remember to close doors between rooms not being used to retain heat.
Select the right heater – Gas and convector heaters are the more energy-efficient options. Selecting the correct size heater for the room is also important. A heater that is too small for a large area will not heat up the area properly.
Ensure your home is well-insulated – Having insulation installed in your roof will ensure your home will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter, providing comfort all-year-round.
10 water-saving tips for your home
- Ensure the dishwasher is full, and dishes and cutlery are well-arranged before you start a cycle. If you only have half a load ready, you can use the “rinse-hold” setting until more dishes are ready to go in.
- When purchasing an appliance, consider the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) rating, as it can show you how much water and money your household can save.
- Larger pots and pans should be washed by hand, leaving room in the dishwasher for plates, cups, and other day-to-day items. When hand washing, use a plugged sink or a pan full of fresh water to rinse your dishes.
- Install inexpensive water-saving solutions such as a flow-controlled aerator on taps, which can substantially reduce the amount of water used.
- Invest in a water efficient washing machine. A front load washing machine rated with WELS 4 stars or higher is the ideal water-efficient choice.
- Regularly check for leaking taps or faulty plugs as these can waste large amounts of water and can easily be resolved.
- New innovative technology has meant that the capability to heat water is instantaneous. This not only reduces a household’s water wastage, but saves energy too.
- Get in the habit of taking quicker showers using a timer. Every drop counts, so this can help you save large amounts of water everyday.
- Remember to turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth, or shaving.
- Use washing-up liquid sparingly as this will reduce the time and water needed to rinse away excess soap.