Having the convenience of modern appliances can be a significant part of your utility cost. The more efficiently you operate your appliances the more money you will save every month. Even if you can’t afford to replace old, inefficient appliances with new Energy Star rated models, you can still get the most out of your existing ones with these simple tips.
Energy Efficiency in the Kitchen
The fridge is the hungriest appliances in energy consumption because it must run all the time. You can reduce the amount of energy it consumes simply by carefully setting the temperature. The freezer section should stay at about 5 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s running colder than that, you are wasting money. Put a thermometer in there and let it stay there overnight. Then take a reading and, if it’s too cold, adjust the control a notch or two. Freezers work best when the compartment is fairly full, although you still want air to be able to circulate for don’t put in too much. The refrigerator compartment should operate at around 38 degrees. Measure and adjust if it’s too cold. Finally, once or twice a year, pull the refrigerator away from the wall so you can look at the coils on the back. If the coils are have a lot of dust and cobwebs, clean them. Doing this allows the unit to vent heat more effectively, which in turn will make it more efficient in operation.
Next, the dishwasher. There are some easy settings that can save you money. The biggest one is the “heated dry” cycle. Turn it off. The pre-rinse feature is similar; you do not need it.
Energy Efficiency in the Laundry Room
The dryer is one of the most energy intensive appliances in your house. Using its built-in energy conservation features can save you significant amounts on your utility bill, whether you have gas or electric. If the dryer has a moisture sensing feature, be sure to use it instead of a timed setting. Over-drying your clothes will just wear them out faster. Having good air flow in the dryer is very important. The more air it can move over your clothes the faster they will dry. This is why it is so important to always clean the lint screen. You should also inspect the exhaust outlets periodically to ensure that they aren’t clogged. Not only is a blocked exhaust a fire hazard, but it also means that the dryer is working extra hard to do its job. Also, make sure the ducts have a minimum number of 90 degree bends. They need to be as straight as they can be to work efficiently. Do multiple loads back to back; if the unit is already hot you’ll save a bit by not having to heat it up again. By far the best thing, of course, is to abandon the dryer and dry your clothes on a clothesline. That’s really using solar power efficiently, in a direct way.
Now for the washing machine. Most of the energy that your washing machine uses is expended in heating the water. To minimize energy use, avoid using warm or hot water. Detergents these days work well in cold water. Hot water doesn’t kill germs or sterilize the wash, (That would require boiling water, and washing machines don’t do that) so only use it if the clothes are badly stained or especially dirty. If the machine has a setting for size of the load, as most do, set it at a setting that fits the load. This is particularly important if you’re using hot water with the load. If your washer has several rinse cycles, try cutting back to just one.
Published in: Consumer Information