Appliances & Electronics

Together appliances and electronics make up over a third of electricity used in homes in Newfoundland and Labrador. The number of things in your home using electricity is increasing. The average home in Canada has between 20 and 40 consumer electronic devices. More devices equal more energy use. Here is how you can cut down on the electricity used by your home’s appliances and electronics.

Laundry List

Wash your clothes in cold water. Water heating constitutes up to 90% of the energy consumption of washing machines. Cold water wash can save you over $175 a year.

Hold off on running the washer until you have a full load of laundry.

Need a new washer? Save $100 on eligible energy efficient models with a takeCHARGE rebate.

When the weather cooperates, use a good ole clothesline. You can also use a drying rack to hang clothes inside when needed. It costs close to $85 to run your dryer each year.

If you do need to use your dryer, you can use the auto-dry sensor to cut down on drying time. The cool-down or perma-press setting can also save energy and reduce fabric wear and shrinkage. Fill, but don’t overfill the dryer which can lengthen drying time. Clean the lint trap after each load and check the outside vent regularly for maximum efficiency.

Plug Pointers

Many household electronics, including TVs, DVD players and gaming consoles use power even when they are turned off. Standby power can account for 3% or more of total electricity costs.

A smart power strip shuts down power to products that go into standby mode. Use them in your entertainment centre and office to save energy. Plus, save $10 during Instant Rebate campaigns. Remember to plug your PVR into the always-on outlet to make sure your favourite TV shows still get recorded.

The only way to guarantee that an electronic device is not using power is to unplug it from the outlet or use a smart power strip. Do a walk around your home periodically and think about if anything can be unplugged. Maybe a coffee maker or that second TV (most people in Newfoundland and Labrador have two or more.)? If there is a light or clock on an item it’s using power.

Unplug chargers when your device is charged. You can also create a “charging station” where you can plug all of your chargers into a single power bar. This will allow you to easily monitor their use and turn them all off at once.

You can also consider using a watt meter to help determine which products use the most standby power. A watt meter is a simple device that you plug it into an electrical socket so that you can use the socket to monitor the device you’d like to measure. You’ll get a real time display of the energy used by the device. You can pick one up for about $25.

Shop & Save

Look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol when buying new electronics. Energy efficient products will use less power overall, and often use less wasteful standby power.

Only buy what you need and will use. Think twice about adding that wine chiller or lava lamp.

Read the owner’s manual and take advantage of any energy-saving features that may be built into your electronics. For example setting your television’s brightness on “home mode” uses about 25% less energy than the brighter setting that retailers use for display.

Fridge & Freezer Fixes

In the market for a new freezer? Save $100 on eligible energy efficient models with a takeCHARGE rebate.

Consider getting rid of your second fridge or freezer. An older fridge could be costing you up to $100 in electricity each year. That’s a lot of money to keep a few jars of jam cold. To learn how to dispose of your old fridge, please contact your local waste management authority.

Placement is important. Don’t place your fridge or freezer in an area that receives a lot of sun or where temperature is high. It will have to work harder and use more electricity to stay cold. You should keep the fridge away from the stove and dishwasher if possible.

Allow hot foods to cool before placing them in the fridge or freezer. Adding hot foods will make your appliance work harder and use more electricity to cool the space.

Ensure proper temperature settings. Set your fridge temperature at or below 4°C. The ideal freezer temperature is -18°C.

Don’t leave the door open too long. Take what you need and close the door as quickly as possible to keep the temperature constant.

Arrange food to allow for air to flow throughout your fridge.

Proper maintenance is key to keeping your appliances working properly and more energy efficient.

Fridges:

  • The coils behind the fridge should be cleaned regularly and kept dust-free.
  • Make sure door seals are intact. Periodically check the seals. If the seal isn’t working properly, you could be leaking up to 15% of the cooled air it produces.

Freezers:

  • Regularly defrost the freezer; frost build up more than one quarter of an inch will decrease energy efficiency.
  • Make sure door seals are intact. Periodically check the seals. If the seal isn’t working properly, you could be leaking up to 15% of the cooled air it produces.
  • Ensure the compressor is working properly. If your compressor is struggling to cool your freezer, it’s using more energy than necessary and needs to be inspected.

Kitchen Helpers

Don’t run your dishwasher until its full and take advantage of any energy-saving features your machine may have. For example skip the heat drying cycle. If you are in the market for a new dishwasher look for ENERGY STAR®.

Use a microwave or toaster oven to cook or warm small portions of food. They use less energy than a conventional oven.

If you are using your stove, match the burner to the size of your pot and use a lid to conserve heat.