Here are more, mostly free tips on how to get more efficient use from your big appliances:
- Position it away from a heat source such as a stove or oven, dishwasher, heating vent, or direct sunlight from a window.
- To let air circulate around the condenser coils, leave a space between the wall or cabinets and the refrigerator and keep the coils clean.
- Make sure the door seals are airtight.
- Keep your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 Celsius) and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. (-18 to -15 Celsius.)
- Keep the fridge full.
- Minimize the amount of time the refrigerator door is open.
- Adjust temperature settings for different seasons. Check refrigerator setting by placing a thermometer in a jar of water and leaving in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, the temperature should read 35 to 38 degrees F. (1 to 3 C.) Adjust settings if necessary. Temperature settings usually need to be reduced in winter.
- During winter, freezer space often goes unused. Your refrigerator continues to use energy, however, to freeze this space. Take empty milk jugs, or other plastic containers, and fill them with water. Place them outside until they freeze, then put them in your freezer. This will fill the empty space and reduce the area to be kept cold.
- Use the burner that’s the closest match to pot size. Heat is lost and energy is wasted if burner size is larger than pot size.
- Use lids on pots and pans so you can cook at lower settings.
- Pans with warped bottoms use 30 per cent more energy than flat pans. Insulated pans cut energy consumption by 58 per cent; pressure cookers by 68 per cent.
- Keep drip pans under conventional coil burners clean. Don’t line drip pans with aluminum foil — they can reflect too much heat and damage the elements.
- Preheat the oven only when baking.
- Check your oven temperature. Use a separate oven thermometer to ensure your oven control is accurate.
- Make sure the oven door seal is tight. Avoid opening oven door while baking: Each time the door is opened, about 20 per cent of the inside heat is lost.
- Turn oven off a few minutes before food is ready, and let oven heat finish the job.
- With gas stoves: electronic ignition will use about 40 per cent less gas than a pilot light.
- Use the microwave. They use only one-third to half as much energy as conventional stoves.
- Match water level and temperature settings on your washer to the size of your load. Don’t fill the whole tub for a few items. Newer machines have automatic water level settings that adjust to load size.
- Call your water utility and ask them how “hard” or “soft” your water is. You may be using up to six times as much detergent as you need. Your appliance manuals will tell you how much you need for your water type.
- As much as 90 per cent of the energy used by your washing machine is used to heat the water. For most washing applications, cold or warm wash and cold rinse are just as effective as hot wash and warm rinse. The rinse temperature doesn’t effect the quality of the cleaning.
- Avoid using too much detergent. Follow instructions on the box. Oversudsing makes your machine work harder and use more energy.
- Use a clothesline or indoor drying rack as much as possible. It will save energy and reduce fabric wear on your garments (the lint on the lint screen is your clothing being broken down). Energy Minister Gerry Phillips says people could save $30 a year if they hung just a quarter of their laundry on a line.
- lf you must resort to a dryer, clean the lint screen after each use. Lint build-up greatly reduces efficiency.
- Overloading the dryer lengthens drying time. Clothes should dry in 40 minutes to one hour.
- Choose a “perma press” (cool-down) cycle. No heat is supplied in the last few minutes, but drying continues as cool air is blown through the tumbling clothes.
- Keep the dryer exhaust vent clean. It should be clear of cobwebs and lint. The moveable shutters should move easily — they’re designed to prevent cold air, heat and insects from entering the vent when the dryer is not operating.
- Dry multiple loads back to back. Because the dryer takes time and energy to warm up to drying temperature, stop-and-start drying uses more energy.
-- Peter Gorrie