Major appliances, even when a household has installed ENERGY STAR rated products, can account for 20 to 30 percent of a household’s energy bills. In temperate climates where heating and cooling are not required on a regular basis, major appliances typically consume an even greater percentage of total energy usage.
By looking at just a few of our household appliances and changing our habits, we can reduce our energy consumption even further.
• The refrigerator – Keeping temperatures too low in the refrigerator and the freezer can result in a motor that consumes far more energy than is necessary. The optimal temperature for the refrigerator compartment is 38 degrees while the temperature level in freezer should be maintained at 4 degrees. These temperatures can maintain freshness while consuming energy efficiently.
• The dishwasher – The heated drying cycle of a dishwasher consumes energy unnecessarily, especially if there isn’t a need to pull dry dishes out of the machine at a specific time. Instead, use the air dry option which uses air blown by fans to dry the wash load.
• The washing machine – Opt for cold water washes whenever possible with your washing machine. In a hot water wash 90 percent of the energy consumed goes to heating water. Defaulting to hot cycles has become unnecessary as advancements in cold water washing detergents can now yield the same results as those of energy consuming hot water cycles. The advanced cleaning capabilities using cold water and cold water detergents now mean that hot water cycles need to only be used when greasy or oily stains need to be removed.
Each of these actions can capitalize on improved efficiencies of today’s appliances. By turning them into habits, you’ll be able to optimize your savings on a monthly basis.
Getting the laundry done is often considered as the type of task that is performed in the same way every time with a primary goal of getting the chore done as quickly as possible. Contrary to this common theme, the shortcuts and habits that are frequently part of hustling through the job can actually require more time, use more energy, and treat apparel more harshly than taking a more methodical approach.
These mistakes include:
• Trying to do 1 ½ loads (or more) with one wash cycle – When the basin of the washer is overloaded in an attempt to run one less wash cycle, a variety of things can go wrong including items that don’t get cleaned properly as well as extra stress on the washer’s motor. The result of trying to wash more clothes than the machine can handle the first time often results in the need to run two additional cycles with reduced loads.
• Using the same amount of detergent every time – Wash loads can vary widely in the amount of soil content that has to be cleaned. Using the same amount of detergent on each load can result in an unnecessarily harsh washing environment for light loads and diminished cleaning power on heavy loads. Taking a minute or two to determine the recommended amounts of detergent for specific types of wash loads can save money and prevent you from having to re-do wash loads that didn’t start out with enough detergent.
• Using the same wash cycles and temperature settings every time – Wash loads that are made up of t-shirts generally require far less water and lower temperatures than those full of heavier fabrics and oil-based stains. Adjusting cycles and settings to match the wash load typically results in efficient washes that also save time and money.
• Neglecting the dispensers – Detergent and fabric softener residues tend to thicken and clog dispensers over time, resulting in a steady decline of washing efficiency. Rinsing these dispensers out with hot water every other month can keep them flowing free and deliver great wash results every time.
Rushing through the weekly laundry cycles can actually waste time and money. By running appropriately sized wash loads, making adjustments for different types of loads, and doing some minimal maintenance you’ll be able to maximize cleaning and minimize your laundry time.