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Know which appliances to buy and when to upgrade.

Appliances make up at least 30% of your electricity bill. Homeowners rely more on appliances than ever before which means this percentage is slowly increasing. It is therefore important to buy the right appliances, maintain them and replace them at the right time to ensure you maximise our energy efficiency.

1 – Purchase Energy Efficient Appliances

If you are in the market for new appliances, then it is the perfect time to switch to more energy efficient appliances. Old school thinking was to only look at the price tag, the cost would usually be the most important factor when making a purchase decision, but considering that you will be owning the appliance for the next 6 – 15 years. The running cost of the appliance should also be accounted for.

Energy efficient appliances have lower running costs. The money saved on an appliance that uses less energy can amount to a lot over the usage period. This makes an energy efficient appliance with a higher price tag a more cost effective option in the long run.

There best way to see how energy efficient an appliance is before buying is to look at the energy efficiency rating on the appliance and compare these ratings before making a final purchase decision. There are energy efficiency ratings on televisions, computer monitors, air conditioners, clothes dryers, dishwashers, washing machines, fridges and freezers.

Different countries have different ratings, but the concept is the same and help you make smarter decisions when purchasing appliances. Here are examples from Australia and South Africa:

energy rating stickers  from Australia and South Africa

2 – Using and Maintaining appliances

The way in which you use and maintain appliances has an impact on your energy bill. For example, if you place your fridge next to your oven. The heat from the oven will make the fridge work harder to keep the food cool. And this will have an impact on your electricity bill.

The two appliances that will work harder if they are not properly sealed is a fridge and oven. If cold air escapes from the fridge through an ineffective seal the fridge must work harder to maintain the set temperature.

How do you check the seal?

  • Take a banknote and put it between seal and fridge.
  • Close the door.
  • Now when you pull the note there should be a slight resistance. If the note pulls out without any resistance your seal isn’t working effectively. It is also important to clean you seal regularly and make sure that no gunk builds up. If the problem persists a new seal might be needed.

Read the manual that you get with your appliance to find out how to use and maintain your appliances and if you have lost your manual there will be e-versions available on the manufacturers website.

3- Standby mode

Appliances on standby can account up to 10% of electricity bills. This means on your monthly bill some appliances use more energy while on standby compared to when they are in use. carbonTRACK Smart Plugs are a good solution to reduce standby power.

Smart plugs give you the ability to switch appliances remotely from your phone. The plugs also measure consumption of the appliance that is plugged into it. This gives you valuable date to see if the appliance is functioning properly. If consumption is high, it might be time for an upgrade.

kitchen area with pan and kettle4- When is it time to upgrade?

There is a global trend to be more aware of the energy that you are using and to save energy where you can. In the last few years’ manufacturers have been focusing on making appliances as energy efficient as possible. While some appliances just need to be maintained to improve energy efficiency, other will need to be replaced to maximise savings. Here is a quick guide on the most commonly used appliances:

Air conditioner.

Air conditioners are considered power hungry appliances. If you have a veryold model it might be worth replacing with a newer one. But maintaining an aircon goes a long way towards keeping them energy efficient. This includes maintaining filters, coils and fins. Ensure that windows seal properly for room air conditioners. By replacing an old air conditioner, you can save $20 to $90 on your energy bill annually. If your air-conditioner is older than 20 years, it is worth considering an upgrade.

Dishwasher.

Newer dishwashers have made a big leap forward in being water and energy efficient. Modern dishwashers us 22 litres per load compared to the 37 litres of older models. Modern washers are also quieter, wash better and use less electricity. Make sure you maintain your dishwasher and wash with full loads only when possible. If your washer is working best option is to maintain it.

Refrigerator.

Since the year 2000 big improvements have been made regarding fridges. They now use 40% to 60 % less energy. It is suggested to keep your fridge between 0 – 4 degrees Celsius to keep food out of the ‘danger zone’. Try to aim for 2 – 4 degrees which is the most energy efficient. If your refrigerator was made in the 90’s or before you can save $120 – $250 on your fridge per year by switching to a new one. Fridge and freezer combos are also more energy efficient than having two separate units.

Washing machines.

Front loaders are much more energy efficient than the traditional top loaders. They also use a lot less water! It is advisable to replace this appliance when it breaks.

THE GENERAL RULE: When should you fix an appliance when should you replace?

If the appliance repair is more than 50% of the price of a new one, it might be time to consider buying a new one.

By managing your energy effectively, you can save a big part of your electricity bill. By systematically switching to energy efficient appliances you will reduce your energy bill and play your part in building a sustainable future.

Want to know how carbonTRACK can help your electricity bill? Learn more here.

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