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Buying energy efficient products

Choosing energy efficient appliances

What should I look for when choosing energy efficient appliances?

When you’re buying a new appliance for your home, look for its energy label. The energy label tells you how much energy that appliance uses, comparing it to similar appliances. This can help you find appliances that use the least amount of energy.

You should also consider the size of the appliance you need. Only buy the size you need, as larger items will use more energy and end up costing you more. For example, you buy a family-sized dishwasher but never manage to fill it with dirty dishes each time you use it. You may be wasting energy and therefore money on your electricity bills.

How do energy labels work?

Appliances are tested for how much energy they use during typical use. This gives them a rating on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient product of its class, and G being the least efficient. Some appliances (e.g. ovens) use an older scale, from A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient.

In general, energy ratings are categorised by the product’s size. This means that two appliances with the same energy rating might use different amounts of electricity if they’re different sizes.

For instance, a G-rated 265-litre fridge freezer could cost around £65 in Great Britain (GB) and £105 in Northern Ireland (NI) to run each year.

But a larger 424-litre fridge freezer with a better F rating could cost around £70 in GB and £115 in NI to run each year.

It’s best to check the appliance’s energy label, and look for the product with the best energy rating for the size you require.

Reduce your energy consumption

How and when you use your home appliances can affect how much energy they use. For example, wet appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines typically account for 10% of a household’s energy bills.

If you want to reduce your energy use here, you can:

  • use these appliance less frequently.
  • wash at lower temperatures.
  • Avoiding half loads.

For more information, we have more tips on how to save energy when using your washing machine.

Avoid leaving appliances on standby

The average household spends £40 in GB and £70 in NI each year powering appliances left on standby.

Standby is the energy used by certain appliances when not in use and not switched off at the plug. As well as standby power, other new additions to the average household’s collection of electrical goods use low levels of electricity when not in use. These include:

  • broadband modems
  • broadband routers
  • smart speakers
  • digiboxes
  • telephones

We tend not to think to switch these off, but as they’re often on for 24 hours a day, these appliances gradually consume a great deal of electricity.

Fortunately there are several products available to help cut down your standby electricity consumption. These include standby savers that let you turn all your appliances off standby in one go. Some come with timers and others come with a single off-switch.

EU regulations specify that non-networked electrical devices sold after 2013 can’t have a standby power greater than 0.5W. But with many households using more electronic gadgets, it’s worth looking at your standby usage.

Key considerations for common appliances

Find out more about common appliances for the home and helpful tips to help you save money, energy and carbon emissions when choosing a new appliance.

What should I do with my old appliances?

You should dispose of electrical items carefully due to the nature of their materials.

If you have an appliance that has the image of a wheelie bin with a cross on it, don’t put it with the general household rubbish collection. These items include large white goods and energy saving lightbulbs.

By keeping waste electrical equipment separate from other waste, the hazardous substances can be removed and other parts can be recycled rather than sent to landfill.

If you’re buying new electrical appliances, the law obligates retailers to either:

  • take your old appliances off you for free in store.
  • tell you where you can take your old item for recycling free of charge.

Many retailers offer collection of old appliances from your home, although they’re not obliged to do this.

Alternatively, you can take your old equipment to your nearest recycling point, or ask your local authority to collect your bulky items. Some may charge for this service.

Last updated: 1 July 2024