You probably do not pay much attention to how energy efficient a domestic appliance or electrical gadget is when buying it. In fact I doubt anyone does other than those geeky enough to care about such a thing, like me. However buying an energy hungry appliance can end up costing you more, sometimes much more, in the long run.
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To illustrate the point here is a real life example. Your tumble dryer breaks so you need a new one, you pop down to your local electrical retailer and pick out what looks like one of the cheapest models on display. Let's say the Hotpoint V3D01P which is a bargain at £140 but did you know that this model costs £145 a year to in electricity to run. Compare this to the Hoover VHC691B that although is £90 more expensive only costs £58 a year to run, nearly a third of the cost of the Hotpoint.
If you are buying a domestic appliance without knowing how much it costs to run it could be costing you a lot more in the long run. In our example it would have cost you £171 more by year 3 by buying the cheaper model. This is purely an illustration but the prices, costs and models are real. It is sometimes the case that the cheaper model is actually more cost effective to run but you will only know this if you look at the energy efficiency ratings for that particular model. Imagine if all of the electrical appliances in your home were power hungry devices, how much more could you be paying out on your energy bills unnecessarily?
Most products should have an energy efficient label showing the products energy rating. The energy label will give you an indication of how efficient the product is by displaying the letter A - G with A being the best and G being the worst. The label should also display how much energy the appliance typically uses annually, this is displayed in kilowatt hours (kWh), the lower the number the less energy it will typically use.
I would strongly recommend that you do your research online before buying any new appliance. It is much easier to find advice on product performance, reliability and efficiency online than it used to be. These days manufacturers list details about their products and many sites selling their products list specific details and reviews about the products that they are selling.
As a general rule the most efficient appliances are generally the ones that cost more, as with anything you get what you pay for. However this doesn't mean it has to cost you more to buy an equivalent product with the features that you want. Many of the lower cost alternatives can be as efficient or nearly as efficient as their more expensive counterparts. You can get an AEG tumble dryer for example that although costs £4 more a year to run is however over £100 cheaper than a Siemens dryer with similar features. This would make more sense as it is unlikely any tumble dryer is going to last 25 years in order for you to make the necessary savings on your electricity bill to make the more expensive model more cost effective.
Here is a list of domestic appliances showing the difference in running costs over a year by comparing the most efficient with the least efficient. These figures just give a comparative figure to illustrate which appliances could save you the most money by buying a more energy efficient model.
The easiest way to save is by choosing a more energy efficient light bulb, this means replacing your incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent or LED light.
So what does this list show? It illustrates the point that you could save much more money by choosing an energy saving Air conditioner, TV, tumble dryer or desktop computer than you could an oven, dishwasher or printer. It shows that if for example you were to buy the most efficient tumble dryer compared to the least efficient you could be saving yourself £123 a year on running costs, quite a substantial amount.
Conversely there is only going to be a maximum saving of £4 a year by choosing the best single oven. This level of saving would hardly be worth even considering an ovens energy efficiency over the other features that you would be looking for.
It makes more sense to concentrate on the home appliances that use the most electricity over the course of a year. It can however be difficult to identify which ones use the most, some appliances are used infrequently whilst others are on all of the time. Some appliances in your home may be much older than others and therefore generally use more electrical power to do the same jobs as a more modern model.
In 2000, fridges and freezers were 25% to 30% more energy efficient than those manufactured in 1990.
Domestic appliances such as kettles, irons, vacuum cleaners and toasters use a lot of energy but are generally only used for short periods of time. The best way to save energy with these types of product is to limit the amount of times that you use them. In the case of a kettle this means only boiling the amount of water that you actually need.
Some appliances such as a tumble dryers use a lot of power as they need to heat clothes in order to dry them. Many people use their tumble dryers in the winter when it is generally not warm or dry enough to dry clothes outside. Choosing a lower power model condensing dryer will save you money. Using features such as auto-sense dry means that you will not over dry clothes and use electricity unnecessarily.
Consider replacing an old appliance with a newer energy efficient model. Buying a modern and more energy efficient model you can more than save your initial investment costs with the energy savings made.
Replace your lighting with energy saving alternatives. The latest LED lighting can produce the same light as traditional incandescent bulbs or whiter light closer to natural daylight. The advantage of these types over CFL lighting is that they contain no dangerous mercury and last even longer than CFL energy saving bulbs.
Use a cup or mug to fill your kettle with enough water for the number of drinks you are going to make. So if you are making a mug of tea for yourself then use the mug to measure out the amount of water that you need so that you are not boiling more water than you need.
If it is warm and dry enough outside then hang your clothes on the line rather than tumble drying them. Tumble dryers are one of the most energy hungry appliances in the home. If you have solar panels installed and it is a sunny but cold day then your panels may be producing enough power to run the tumble dryer using this free electricity.
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