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Buying energy efficient appliances

When it’s time to replace white goods or other electrical equipment, choosing energy efficient appliances will save you money.

Some new grade A-rated appliances may use only 50% of the energy it takes to power an older model. Newer models might cost a little more, but the energy costs are a big saving over the lifetime of an appliance.

It especially makes sense to choose energy efficient appliances when it comes to items that are switched on all day, every day – like fridges and freezers. Choosing an A+++ fridge freezer over an A+ model could save you up to £190 in energy costs over its lifetime, and around 650kg of CO2. You can find efficient models using the Energy Saving Trust database.

Sometimes the savings can be so great, it’s worth replacing an item before the end of its life. You can donate or resell your old appliance (as well as smaller items like mobile phones) to reduce waste.

Buying and using appliances

Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the house for energy use – so you’ll soon see the savings add up.

You can also keep running costs to a minimum by using appliances in the most energy efficient way possible.

Fridges and freezers

  • Choose a good spot for your energy efficient fridge or freezer, away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight
  • It takes more energy and money to maintain a lower temperature, so avoid using the coolest setting
  • Close the door straightaway: the more hot air gets in, the more energy the appliance uses to cool down
  • Size matters: a small A rated fridge may need less energy than a bigger A+ rated fridge. Look for the annual energy consumption estimate on the label. This will tell you how much energy the appliance will use on average in a typical home – you can use an electricity bill to calculate what this might mean to you in cost savings

Ovens and hobs

  • Ovens are more efficient than ever, and energy efficient ovens should be A rated or higher
  • Keep the oven door shut during cooking – a clean oven window lets you check on dinner without losing heat
  • A microwave oven can be a more energy efficient way to cook, as it directs energy at heating the food. A traditional oven heats the air around it as well
  • If you’re cooking on the hob, choose a ring to fit your pan. If it’s not fully covered by the pan, heat will escape
  • Make sure to put the lids on your pots and pans too if you can, to reduce the amount of heat that escapes from your food as it cooks

Dishwashers

  • Collect together enough dishes for a full load before turning on the dishwasher
  • Choose a low temperature setting or the ‘eco cycle’
  • When you need a new dishwasher, switching to an energy efficient dishwasher could shave over 10% off its annual running cost – and save water

Washing machines

  • Wash clothes at 30 degrees – except maybe the muddiest sports or gardening gear. Your detergent will do its job just as well
  • Try to fill the machine: two half loads use more energy than one full one
  • Save energy by switching your washing machine off just as soon as it’s finished its cycle
  • Good energy efficient washing machines are AAA rated – that’s an A each for energy use, wash quality and spin

Tumble dryers

  • Hanging washing out on a line when the weather is good enough – or inside on a pulley or clothes horse – costs nothing at all
  • Avoiding the tumble dryer could also help your clothes to last longer. Some fabrics don’t like being put in a dryer
  • To warm clothes on a radiator, hook a rack over the top. Covering the radiator itself will stop the room warming up
  • If you have to use a tumble dryer, thoroughly spin wet clothes first, separate items before they go in, and use the sensor so the dryer stops once clothes are dry

Kettles

  • Only fill a kettle with as much water as you need. Boiling excess water is a waste of energy, money and time (around £7 a year and 90 seconds with every boil)
  • If everyone in the UK boiled just the right amount of water, it would save enough electricity to power the UK's street lighting for 2 months

Home Entertainment

Relax and enjoy the show knowing that your television, stereo and set-top box are saving you money.

If any of your home entertainment equipment stops working, and can't be repaired, try and replace it with a more efficient model. You can often find energy efficient TVs and stereos second-hand these days. And remember to switch off at the wall to keep costs to a minimum.

It’s a great place to make savings: almost 30% of the electricity you use is to power home entertainment equipment.

Digital radios

  • A digital radio will usually use more power than an old-style analogue model
  • To switch off a digital radio properly, you generally have to unplug it – otherwise it just goes into standby mode
  • On standby a digital radio may use five times more energy than an analogue model  

Televisions and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs)

  • Size matters: running a larger TV will cost you more, whatever its energy rating. An A rated 56” LCD TV might cost almost five times as much to run each year as an A rated 22” model
  • A larger TV doesn’t always make for better viewing either: unless it’s an HD TV, that bigger screen may not look as good
  • HD TVs have more pixels per square inch so use more energy, but may be a better long term investment
  • Plasma TVs don’t generally come in smaller sizes – but the screen quality of LED or LCD models is as good as plasma
  • Say goodbye to standby - look for models with an 'auto-off' setting or use a standby saver plug

Energy Saving Plugs

  • Each UK home spends around £30 every year just keeping appliances on standby or on when not in use
  • Switch off at the wall or buy a few energy saving plug boards or adaptors instead (these start from around £12 to £20 per plug)
  • Appliances connected to an energy saving plug or socket use less power when on standby
  • You can choose a plug fitted with a timer, to have lights come on just at night when you’re away, for security
  • One energy saving socket takes care of a number of appliances – so you can turn everything off at once, with a single switch

Computing

Choosing energy efficient home computing equipment can help you to make savings for the environment and on your electricity bill.

A computer on standby saps energy even though you’re not using it. Switch off instead to make big savings.

Find Energy Saving Trust Recommended computing equipment.

Desktop computers and laptops

  • Size matters: thanks to its small screen and parts, a new laptop uses over 80% less energy than an old desktop computer over a year
  • If you need a desktop computer, energy efficient PCs will use less power – even when it’s on standby or sleep mode
  • Choosing a laptop over a desktop and reducing standby could save up to £16 and 55 kg of CO2 a year
  • Tablets are also a great energy saving alternative, on average tablets use 70% less power than laptops

Inkjet Printers

  • If you're looking for a new printer and you need to scan and fax as well as print, choose a multi-function printer to save on costs and waste. If one appliance can do it all, why have three?
  • Go for an energy efficient model, whatever your requirements – you might even be able to buy one second-hand
  • Switch off when not in use

Whatever it is you’re after, the Energy Saving Trust can help you find an energy efficient appliance.

Search now

Questions to ask before you buy an energy efficient appliance

  • Is the model an energy efficient appliance?
  • How much does it cost and will I save money from reduced energy use?
  • Does it use less power to run than other equivalent models? What about in sleep or standby mode?
  • What is the estimated annual energy consumption of the appliance?
  • Is it a good quality make that’s likely to last a long time?
  • Does the appliance come with a guarantee?
  • Can I use this appliance more efficiently, for example, by running a washing machine on full loads?
  • Do I need this size, or could I use a smaller model?

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