How to choose an energy-efficient appliance
The price tag doesn’t tell the whole story when weighing up the cost of your appliance. You will also pay for the energy to run your home appliance. You could save a considerable amount of money over time by looking at running costs as a 'second price tag' and choosing products accordingly.
Consider the ‘real’ price
Many appliances with a less expensive purchase price may end up costing you far more in energy costs over the lifetime of the product.
Choose appliances and technologies that suit your needs and that use the lowest number of watts or megajoules. Avoid the lure of upgrading to bigger products or those with more features you may never use. These can lock you in to costs for years to come.
Compare energy rating labels
Compare the Energy Rating Label found on appliances including:
- air conditioners
- computer monitors
- washing machines
- clothes dryers
Go for the product with the highest number of stars. Some appliances, like dishwashers and washing machines, will also have a rating for water use, which you can also factor into your decision.
To make this easy there’s an Energy Rating App for all types of phones, or go to the Energy Rating website and compare the efficiency of appliances.
Gas heaters are not covered by an Energy Rating Label developed through the Australian Government’s E3 Program. Certain gas heaters carry a different gas appliances energy rating label, as part of a product certification process by state and territory gas technical and safety regulators.
Appliances without labels
For products without energy ratings, you can compare the energy efficiency of products by:
- finding out how much energy they use
- comparing the energy use amounts of products of a similar size or capacity
- identifying which products include energy saving features.
How to check the usage on your existing appliances
For appliances and technology you already have at home, you may want to identify which ones are the biggest energy users by using a simple calculation to estimate the running costs and then consider how you save money by using them more efficiently.
How you install and operate your appliances counts
Install your appliance so it runs efficiently and at optimum levels. For example, fridges should not be placed next to ovens or warm spots as they'll need to work harder to stay cool.
Proper use and maintenance is also important. Allow heated food to cool before placing it in the fridge (that way the fridge uses less energy to cool it) and repair seals on your fridge door so cold air doesn't leak out.
On all appliances, read the instructions before you install them to ensure you position and use them correctly from the start—this can save you time and energy.
Use thermostat controls to minimise energy use and still achieve home comfort. Spend some time reading the manual so you know how to turn on these features if they're not the default setting.
Operate appliances for the shortest amount of time possible and turn them off at the wall when not in use. This includes computers, screens, office and home entertainment products such as printers and speakers (with the exception of appliances like refrigerators and some medical equipment which needs to stay on all the time).