Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeLifestyleHome & Garden

5 Easy home appliance hacks to save energy

5 Easy home appliance hacks to save energy
Our homes are filled with modern conveniences designed to make life easier. Yet with the pressing challenge of climate change and the constant pursuit of cost savings, finding energy-efficient ways to operate our appliances has become paramount.
Delve into these fascinating hacks, tailored for the heart of the British home, to extract the best performance from your appliances while lightening the load on the environment and your pocket.

1. Maximise the Potential of Your Washing Machine

Standing steadfast in most homes is our washing machine, but many may not realise its energy-saving prowess.
a. The Hidden Power of Cold Water
Though seemingly insignificant, the act of opting for a cold wash can be a revelation. By ditching the heater and embracing the chill, you can cut energy use by up to 90%. Some machines have a completely cold wash setting, or others have a ‘cool’ mode that uses minimum heating.
Modern detergents have evolved and can now wash effectively in cooler temperatures. Moreover, washing coloured garments in cold water can also help preserve their vibrancy, ensuring they stay looking pristine for longer. However, read proper advice on what clothes to cold wash and which to leave on a higher heat setting before getting stuck in.
b. Opt for a Higher Spin Speed
Utilising a higher spin speed extracts more water from your clothes, shortening their drying time and, thus, reducing energy consumption when drying indoors.
A golden nugget of advice from Tony MacFarlane, the appliance expert over at Appliance Hunter, is to delve into your machine's manual and uncover its optimal spin settings for different types and weights of clothing. This will avoid you damaging clothes at the expense of shorter drying times. Each machine will be slightly different, but generally cottons can handle a higher spin speed (around 1400 rpm) and delicates falling all the way down to around 400 rpm.

2. The Dynamic Duo: Heated Clothes Airer and Dehumidifier

Bidding adieu to the tumble dryer might seem radical, but there's a new dynamic duo in town – the heated clothes airer combined with a dehumidifier.
a. Harness the Power of a Heated Clothes Airer
Unlike tumble dryers, which operate with force and heat, heated clothes airers gently warm your clothes, preserving their fibres. They're energy-efficient, especially when used in conjunction with timers or during off-peak energy hours. These airers are also surprisingly spacious, accommodating a decent laundry load without taking up much room.
b. Team Up with a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier complements the heated airer splendidly. By extracting excess moisture from the air, the dehumidifier speeds up the drying process and prevents damp, mould, and the resultant musty odours. It's a brilliant way to ensure a swift drying process indoors without the high energy bills associated with tumble dryers.

3. Dishwasher Efficiency: Wash Your Dishes Without Washing Away Energy

The trusty dishwasher, although a household gem, can be rather thirsty for power. Let's optimise its usage:
a. The Half-Load Function: Your New Best Friend
Contrary to popular belief, you needn't wait for a full load to run your dishwasher. Many modern machines boast a nifty half-load function that adjusts water and energy consumption, ensuring a top-notch clean while conserving resources.
b. Choose the Air Dry Option
Switching from heat dry to air dry can make a world of difference. By leaving the dishwasher door ajar post-wash, you let nature take its course, reducing energy use and costs.

4. Refrigerator Efficiency: Cool Your Food, Not Your Wallet

Our refrigerators, tirelessly working 24/7, can be power guzzlers if not optimised.
a. Find the Optimal Temperature Setting
According to Domestic and General, you should ensure your fridge's temperature hovers between 3°C and 5°C, with the freezer steadfast at -18°C. Overcooling can skyrocket energy usage without adding any preservation benefits. Keep a handy thermometer within to keep temperatures in check.
b. Defrost Regularly
A frost-laden freezer is an energy sinkhole. Make it a routine to defrost periodically, ensuring your appliance runs optimally without excess energy wastage.

5. Oven Efficiency: Cook Your Meals, Not Your Budget

Your trusty oven, the heart of many culinary adventures, can be a master of energy efficiency if guided rightly.
a. Embrace the Convection Setting
Ovens with a convection function circulate air, ensuring even and quick cooking. This not only perfects your dishes but also shaves off cooking time, conserving energy in the process.
b. Batch Cooking: A Smart Choice
Whipping up meals in batches and refrigerating or freezing the surplus can be an energy and time saviour. Heating up these homemade delights is more energy-efficient than cooking afresh every time.
Our friends at BBC good food always have some great batch cooking recipes, to plan out your meals up to months in advance if you wish.

6. Kettle Efficiency: The Heart of the British Home

As tea lovers, our kettles are near and dear. Here's how to brew your cuppa efficiently:
a. Only Boil What You Need
By boiling only the required water, your kettle consumes less power. Modern kettles now sport markings indicating water levels for your brewing needs, ensuring energy-efficient boils. According to tea.co.uk, Britains waste almost £800,000 of energy per year by boiling more water than they need – don’t be one of them.
b. Descale Regularly
Limescale can hamper your kettle's efficiency. Regular descaling, whether with commercial products or a vinegar solution, can keep your kettle's performance at its peak.
Not only can descaling help your kettle’s efficiency, but it can also prolong its lifespan.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter   
Cover image credit:  Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk