Tips for saving electricity through the wash, the dishes and the fridge

  • Living
  • Friday, 15 Apr 2022

Modern washing machines and good detergents are able to clean laundry with regular soiling at 30 or 40 degrees Celsius, which saves on operating costs. Photo: Florian Schuh/dpa-tmn

There are tonnes of easy ways to save small amounts of electricity in your everyday life, starting with the washing machine, the dishwasher and how you use your refrigerator.

The dishwasher is your friend

Consider the way you stack the dishes in the dishwasher, for example. You may have been thinking about using it less. However, washing up by hand actually uses more electricity, so you are better off running the machine.

Washing the dishes in the sink can cost up to twice as much as using the dishwasher, according to a German industry alliance that includes producers.

You can also save energy and water by filling the appliance thoroughly and effectively. Consider as a guideline the fact that a standard dishwasher can fit about 80 items including smaller ones like cutlery, according to consumer advisors.

Don't be fooled by the time it takes to run, either. Short programmes use more water and electricity than regular or ecological programmes as the water used for the wash needs to be brought to a higher temperature in a shorter period of time. Also, longer-running programmes give the detergents more time to work their magic.

So you're better off using an environmentally friendly programme or one that washes at 45 to 55 degrees Celsius. You don't usually need to pre-rinse.

Keep it cool when doing laundry

Water temperature is also worth considering when it comes to doing your laundry.

You don't have to use high temperatures for most of your washing nowadays as modern machines and good detergents are able to clean laundry with regular soiling at 30 or 40 degrees Celsius, which saves on operating costs.

That's because your machine uses more than three-quarters of the energy to heat the water.

So if you calculate it based on German electricity costs, for example, washing two loads a week at 30 degrees Celsius would save you up to €17 (RM78) per year, rather than washing at 60 degrees Celsius, according to non-profit consultancy co2online.

By using eco or eco-friendly programmes, you can save a further €33 (RM152) a year, again based on current German prices.

Prewashing accounts for €7 (RM32) per year. Meanwhile save a cool €55 (RM253) by not using the tumble dryer.

If that is not an option for you – it's tough on families with small children – then set the spin speed as high as possible beforehand during the wash cycle, as the less water your clean laundry contains, the faster it will dry.

Let's look in the fridge

When it comes to the refrigerator, check out the temperature setting. Experts say seven degrees Celsius for the top refrigerator compartment is plenty. If you set it to a higher temperature, you can save more. Each degree higher slashes the electricity consumption by about 6%.

However, bear in mind that if you're often storing foods that perish quickly such as minced meat, then make sure it's a chilly two degrees Celsius in your fridge.

There are other ways you can save energy, such as by letting any leftovers cool down on the counter before putting them in the refrigerator.

Also, close the fridge door as quickly as you can so less cool air escapes. Try opening it only when you need to put several items inside.

Another tip is to store as much as possible in the refrigerator, including large items like juice cartons, as items in there store the cold that the fridge produces and release it into their environment.

Once you open the fridge door, a full refrigerator has to produce less cooling power to reach its standard temperature again, says co2online. – dpa

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