Photo: Use your home appliances more wisely

(Credit: mysz831 via Flickr.)

New and improved appliances use less electricity than older models. You can save energy by using your existing appliances more wisely and by investing in modern Energy Star approved appliances.


Refrigerators use the most energy of any home appliance. Here are some tips for efficient refrigerator use:

  • Place refrigerators out of direct sunlight and away from the stove and other heat-producing appliances.
  • Decide what features you really need and use. Through-the-door features like cold water or automatic ice dispensers can increase electricity usage by as much as 20 per cent compared to similar models without these extras.
  • Buy an Energy Star approved refrigerator.
  • If you buy a new refrigerator, unplug your old one. There is no energy efficiency in continuing to use your energy guzzler.
  • Find cold storage spaces to store fresh foods safely without using any electricity.


Energy Star dishwashers use 25 per cent less energy than other new models! Here are some other energy-saving tips:

  • Always run your dishwasher with a full load. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is spent heating water, and since you can't decrease the amount of water used per cycle, filling your machine is more effective than running half-loads.
  • Use the air-dry option instead of the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features. If your dishwasher doesn't have this option, prop the door open after the final rinse cycle to dry your dishes.

Washers and Dryers

Energy Star designated washers are a wise investment for several reasons: They clean clothes using 50 per cent less energy than standard machines; Full-sized Energy Star washers use 72-100 litres of water per load, while their standard counterparts use 160 litres; and Energy Star washers extract more water from clothes during spin cycles, reducing drying time and saving energy and wear-and-tear on your clothes.

Front-loading tumble washers, use an average 104 litres of water per load, while top-loaders use 160 litres. Front-loading machines also use a third less water, a third less heat energy and a third less detergent!

  • Clothes washers are more efficient when operated with full loads.
  • Wash clothes in cold water — yes, they will still get clean!
  • Use environmentally safe detergents and whiteners that are kind to aquatic life and your clothes.

Clothes dryers don't have Energy Guide labels on them because the energy efficiency of different models are essentially the same. But not all clothes dryers are created equally.

Learn more about dryers features and functions that make them more energy efficient. Look for clothes dryers with moisture sensors that automatically stop drying when they sense a load is dry enough.

Or better still, don't use a dryer where possible. Go old school and make use of the sun's warmth and wind to dry your clothes on a line outside. Or if that's not possible where you live, use a drying rack indoors to allow your laundry to dry in the warmth of a room or in a sunny window. You'll be surprised how quickly most clothes can air dry without the use of a dryer!

For more information and tips on home appliances, check out the Energy Star and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy web-sites.