22 October 2010

Home Efficiency and Domestic Appliances

We all know times are hard at the moment and there is a need to reduce our household costs and bills as much as possible

Energy Saving Trust logo

There are many ways to improve the efficiency of common domestic appliances which will, over time, manifest considerable savings in annual household energy costs.

When buying new appliances it makes good sense to go for the most efficient models even if these are initially more expensive.  Remember, high quality efficient appliances will save money over time not just because they use energy more efficiently but they also tend to be more readily serviceable. We will discuss the problems of planned obsolescence later.

Check the energy and efficiency ratings and look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo

these can only be used on the most energy efficient appliances.

Also check the familiar EU energy grade rating A (most efficient) G (least efficient)

Washing Machines

  • Always use the most appropriate program for your load and try to load the machine to an optimum level. Don’t overfill the machine with washing though as this will dramatically increase the amount of energy used by the motor.
  • Try to avoid the hottest washes where necessary — generally a 40 degree wash is sufficient for most items.  You can also use eco wash balls to save on the costs of detergents. Eco wash balls are much more beneficial for the environment to. If possible use the “quick wash” setting (or equivalent) which shortens the time of each sequence.
  • Try to avoid the drying stage if at all possible; most items will dry surprisingly quickly if hung out doors even on a dull windy day, especially lightweight items such as cotton shirts.

Fridges Freezers

  • Keep the ice box or freezer compartment free of large scale ice buildup, defrost if this part is covered in a thick layer of ice. An iced up freezer will have to work much harder to maintain a nominal operating temperature.
  • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation at the rear of your fridge; this allows the extracted heat to dissipate into the surrounding air more efficiently.

It may sound obvious but remember to switch off your fridge or freezer if it is empty.


  • It is still generally cheaper to use gas for cooking — other than microwave cooking which is the most cost effective method of all.
  • Use lids on pans — but never put a lid on a frying pan!
  • A good kettle will tend to be more efficient at heating water than a pan on a hob. If boiling water is required you can pre-heat it in a kettle.


  • Boilers are rated according to the SEDBUK score – Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK rating. ‘A’ rated boilers are 90 percent efficient or more, ‘G’ rated boilers are less than 70 percent efficient.
  • If your radiators are not getting hot at the top this means that air has built up in the system. Bleed radiators with the dedicated bleed key to improve the heating efficiency of your system.
  • Make sure that your central heating system is flushed every year — this is a more specialised job that requires an empting and then re filling of the system.

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