When you’re shopping for appliances, think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price - think of it as a down payment. They second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You’ll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 12 years; clothes washers about 11 years; dishwashers about 10 years; and room air conditioners last about 9 years. ENERGY STAR® appliances require 30% less energy than regular appliances.
In the average Saskatchewan home almost half of the electricity - approximately 46% - is used to keep appliances running.
- Use your microwave instead of a conventional stove. Your microwave uses 80% less electricity than a stove to cook the same amount of food, it also cuts down on cooking time and produces less heat in the kitchen and it could save you $20 per year.
- 85-90% of energy used by washing machines comes from heating the water.
Appliances account for about 13% of your household’s energy costs, with refrigerators topping the list. However, they have become more efficient over the years. By removing just 1,000 inefficient fridges, we would save over 1,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is enough electricity to power 120 homes for a year.
The EnerGuide label on new refrigerators tells you how much electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) a particular model uses in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy the refrigerator uses and the less it will cost you to operate. In addition to the EnerGuide label, don’t forget to look for the ENERGY STAR® label. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® label uses at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.
- Replace your second fridge with a mini-fridge to keep a few refreshments or food items cold saving you up $90 per year
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch many need adjustment, the seal may need replacing or you many considering buying a new unit.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating. The EnerGuide label estimates how much power is needed per year to run the appliance and to heat the water based on the yearly cost of natural gas and electric water heating.
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full (not overloaded) which will save you about $13 per year.
- Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacture’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature.
- Scrape, don’t rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or pre-washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned or dried on food.
- Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses more than 10 litres of hot water each use.
- Let you dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control know after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR® label to find one that uses less water and energy than required by federal standards. They are required to use 22 litres of water per cycle or less – older dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 38 litres of water per cycle.
How to Read the EnerGuide Label
The EnerGuide label is required to be placed on all appliances by the manufactures. The label provides information about energy consumption, and shows you how much energy an appliance uses compared with similar models. Keep in mind that the numbers are averages; actual costs will differ somewhat depending on how you use them.
- Maker, model number, and size of the appliance.
- Estimated yearly operating cost (based on the national average cost of electricity), and the range of operating costs for similar models.
- The ENERGY STAR® logo indicates that this model meets strict criteria for energy efficiency.
- Estimated yearly electricity consumption.
- Key features of the appliance and the similar models that make up the cost comparison range.