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Buy energy-efficient appliances
When you buy a new appliance or replace an existing one, choosing an energy‑efficient model can save you money on your bills and reduce your energy use without compromising on any of the product features you would expect to enjoy.
The running costs of your household appliances can add up over time and will impact on your electricity bill for the lifetime of all these products. To help you compare, a range of new appliances and electronic equipment have an Energy Rating Label. Considering energy efficiency in addition to purchase price and product features makes good sense, and using appliances efficiently is also important.
- Reduce running costs and save money on your power bill
- Use less energy while enjoying all the product features
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the life of your appliance
At a glance
- Savings 2
- Ease 3
- Impact 2
Before buying any appliance, think about:
- Whether you really need it or if there are other, less costly, ways to do the same thing.
- What it will cost to run the appliance.
- How you will dispose of the appliance at the end of its life.
When you buy, remember to:
- Buy the right size appliance for your needs so you don't end up paying for electricity that you don't need to use to do the job.
- Use the Energy Rating Label on the product where available. The more stars the more efficient the appliance. You can use the Energy Rating website to find and compare appliances.
- Check the water efficiency of products if you're buying a washing machine or dishwasher. The more stars, the more efficient the product. Look for a model with economy cycles.
- Consider alternatives to electric appliances such as gas-fired or heat pump clothes dryers.
Our tips for choosing televisions, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, washing machines and clothes driers:
Televisions (TVs) and set top boxes
Choosing the most efficient electronic equipment will make a big difference to your energy use. The good news is that energy efficiency standards of TVs are improving all the time.
- Use the Energy Rating website to compare different television models.
- Use the Energy Rating website to find information about set top boxes and video recorders.
- See our home entertainment and technology guide for comprehensive tips on choosing TVs, gaming consoles, computers and more.
Fridges and freezers
Fridges and freezers, particularly older models, use more power than any other appliance in most Australian homes as they are running all the time.
- If you need a new refrigerator, take the opportunity to upgrade to a more efficient model. Use the Energy Rating website to compare the energy efficiency of fridges and freezers.
- Ensure it's the right size for your needs—too big and you'll be cooling empty shelves, too small and it won't fit all your food in and you may end up buying a second fridge which will result in higher overall energy costs. Upright models with the freezer on top are generally the most economical and energy efficient to run.
- As a general guide a family of two needs between 250–285 litres of space in a fridge with an additional 28.5 litres for each additional family member. You'll also need to decide on what additional freezer space you want.
- Measure the space where your fridge will sit before buying and make sure that the model you choose will have enough room for ventilation around the sides and top.
Older dishwashers don't compare favourably with hand washing so you may wish to consider buying a more up-to-date water and energy-efficient model to save energy, water and money.
When choosing a new dishwasher:
- Use the Energy Rating website to compare the energy efficiency of dishwashers.
- Use the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme website to compare the water efficiency of dishwashers.
- Look for a model with a good range of programs, including economy options. This will let you match your wash requirements to the appropriate dishwasher's performance level.
- Choose the correct size. Older dishwashers and smaller models that take less than 12–14 place settings tend to use more water and energy. It may make more sense to buy a full sized model (12–14 place settings) and fill it once a day. Bear in mind that the number of place settings a dishwasher will wash is only a general indication of size; if you wash lots of pots and pans you'll need to take this into account.
Different models of washing machines can vary greatly in energy use, water use and operating costs. Older models can use a lot of water and energy. Think about the following points when buying a new washing machine:
- Use the Energy Rating website to compare the energy efficiency of washing machines.
- Use the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme website to compare the water-efficiency of washing machines and get more purchasing tips.
- Front-loaders are usually more efficient than top-loaders and use less detergent. However, there are some more efficient top-loaders available.
- Choose a size that matches your needs. You might not always need to do large washes, so look for a model that can wash both smaller and larger loads.
- Look for a model with a cold water cycle and wash with cold water whenever possible.
Almost all the energy used in a washing machine goes into heating water. If you're planning on using hot water for washes, look for a model that has separate hot and cold water connections, an economy cycle, auto load sensing and high spin speed to help prevent unnecessary energy and water use.
- If you have an electric storage hot water system that does not use off-peak electricity, a washing machine that has the option to use a cold water connection and the machine's internal water heater will be a cheaper way to heat water for your wash.
- If you have solar, heat-pump, or gas hot water installed, a model which has a separate hot water connection will be cheaper to run.
Clothes dryers use a lot of energy. A standard electric clothes dryer can add 3 kilograms of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere for each load of washing. If you're buying a new clothes dryer:
- Use the Energy Rating website to compare the energy efficiency of different clothes dryers.
- Gas-fired or heat pump models are also available. They are more expensive to buy and install but generally cheaper to run.
- Look for a model which has a moisture sensor rather as well as a timer. Perma press cycles which switch off heat towards the end and dry on residual heat are also a good idea.
If you're considering buying second hand, remember that older appliances are generally less energy efficient than new ones and may have faults that need to be repaired. You may need to have them checked by a qualified repairer.
Keep in mind that new appliances with the same energy rating as older appliances but lower number of kilowatt hours will use less energy and cost less to run. The standards for the Energy Star Rating system have been raised in recent years as improvements to energy efficiency are made.
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