Energy saving appliances

Appliances are a major source of energy use and can drive up your electric bills. These tips can help reduce the cost of using your appliances. Plus, learn which energy efficient features to look for when buying new ones.

Refrigerator and freezer

The third biggest user of energy behind your air conditioning and water heater is your refrigerator/freezer. To trim costs every day:

  • Avoid using multiple refrigerators or freezers. Turn the second one off when not needed. Don't put it in a hot garage :-).
  • Full freezers are more efficient. If your freezer isn't full, fill plastic containers with water and freeze them.
  • Food catches and stores cold air, reducing the workload of your freezer. So, leave enough room for air to flow easily between food so it stays cold. Try to leave about 20 per cent free space for air circulation.
  • Cool hot food to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
  • Set the fridge thermostat to between 3°C and 5°C. The freezer should be set to between -15°C and -18°C.
  • Reduce the amount of escaping cold air by only opening the door once to get all your items.
  • Defrost manual models regularly or when ice is more than five millimeters thick.
  • Keep fridges and freezers away from heat sources (vents, radiators, furnaces, washers and dryers) so they don't have to work as hard.
  • Check their seals: if you can slide a piece of paper between the seal, it needs to be replaced.
  • Unplug your fridge and clean the dust from the back or bottom coils twice a year.
  • Leave room around your fridge so air can circulate - at least 8 cm (3 inches) of space between the back and the wall, and at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) on each side.
  • A chest or top-loading freezer is about 25% more efficient than an upright model.

Buying a new energy efficient refrigerator can be a big energy and money saver. These models have better insulation, more energy-efficient compressors, improved heat transfer surfaces and more precise temperature and defrost controls. Chest freezers are generally more energy efficient than upright models since less cold air escapes when the lid is opened. When you open the door of an upright freezer, the cold air flows downward and out the door. When shopping for a new one:

  • Select the right size. Larger refrigerators may cost more to run.
  • Compare features and energy use. Side-by-side models use more energy than top and bottom models.
  • Compare operating costs using the EnergyGuide label. (See reverse for label information.)


A dishwasher consumes one-third less hot water than hand washing, which saves you money. Additional ways to save are:

  • Don't pre-rinse dishes - most new dishwashers don't need it, and just five minutes of pre-rinsing under the tap can use up to 115 litres of water.
  • At least avoid pre-rinsing dishes in hot water. Use the rinse cycle instead, until it's time to clean a full load.
  • Use the energy-saving cycle to shorten the run time and save gallons of water.
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load and avoid using drying cycles - open the door instead.

When buying a new dishwasher:

  • Compare features: Look for models that are ENERGY STAR compliant and offer energy saving features. (See for more information.) Many models are equipped with sensors that adjust the length of the wash cycle and set the water temperature with each load.
  • Compare operating costs using the EnergyGuide label.

Consider water use:

  • More than 80 percent of the energy used by dishwashers is for heating the water, so look for models that use less water and therefore less energy.

Stovetop and oven

Energy use and efficiency is determined by your cooking habits, so when shopping for a new stove or oven, buy the model that best suits you. But in general:

  • Cook with a toaster oven or microwave. They use less energy than the oven, and add less heat to your kitchen. (Heat makes your air conditioner work harder.)
  • Use the self-cleaning cycle on your oven for major cleaning jobs only and start it when the oven is already hot.
  • Plan, so that several items can cook in the oven at the same time.
  • Lower the heat on your stovetop after food reaches a boil. Food won't cook any faster with a more rapid boil.
  • On the stove, use the right pot for the right-sized burner - a small pot on a big burner wastes energy.
  • Turn on the oven's interior light to see what's cooking - don't open the door.

Washer and dryer

Around 90 percent of energy used to wash clothes is from heating the water, so:

  • Use cold water to wash whenever possible. Always use cold to rinse.
  • Adjust the water level to match each load size, especially if you have to use hot water.
  • Clean your dryer lint filter before every load; clothes will dry faster.
  • Dry only full loads. But, don't overload the dryer.
  • Use the auto sensor function if you have one, to avoid the dryer running longer than necessary. If you don't have one, try setting the timer for 15 minutes less than usual to see if clothes will dry in less time.
  • A front-load washer uses about 40% less water and 50% less energy than top-loading models.

When buying a new washer and dryer:

  • Look for ENERGY STAR compliant washers that offer several water temperature settings for washing and rinsing.
  • The most efficient new washers save both energy and water. And they spin faster, which helps reduce drying time.
  • Compare operating costs using the EnergyGuide label for washers. (Dryers are not required to carry an EnergyGuide label.) You'll find both front-loading and top-loading models that meet the ENERGY STAR standards. They have different tub capacities and are equipped with water temperature regulators and sensors that detect the load size. In addition to using less detergent, front-loading models use about 40% less water and 50% less electricity than top-loading models.
  • Look for a dryer with an auto-dry sensor. It will automatically turn off when clothes are dry, keeping drying times as short as possible.

What is an Energy Star® Appliance?

The Energy Star® may be found on clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and room air conditioners. An appliance receives the Energy Star® rating if it is significantly more energy efficient than the minimum government standards, as determined by standard testing procedures. The amount by which an appliance must exceed the minimum standards is different for each product rated, and depends on available technology. Energy Star® rated products are always among the most efficient available today.

Energy efficient appliances are usually higher priced than conventional ones, but since they use less energy you will save money on your electric bills.

The EnergyGuide label - save energy and money.

When shopping for new appliances, the yellow and black EnergyGuide label, which is required on most major appliances, is your best source of energy efficiency information.

Some EnergyGuide labels may look different than this one, but they all provide the same information to help with your buying decision.

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or to make an appointment.

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