Skip to main content
Blog Post 13 January 2021

New year, new TV? How to choose energy efficient appliances

The new year is a time when we welcome new gadgets and gizmos into our homes – often as a Christmas gift or in the January sales.

Whether you’re looking for a new fridge, washing machine or TV, buying a new appliance can be a big investment. But if you choose wisely and opt for energy efficient options, you can save money on your energy bills in the long run.

Here, we offer tips and advice on what to look out for when choosing your new appliances.

Size matters

When looking for energy efficient appliances for your home, you need to consider the size of the appliance that you require. If you buy a family-sized dishwasher but never manage to fill it with dirty dishes, for example, you may be wasting energy and therefore money on your electricity bills.

The same rule applies to most other appliances – from washing machines to kettles. Only buy the size you need, as larger items will use more energy and end up costing you more.

Check the energy label

The next thing to consider is the energy rating of your new appliance. In general, energy ratings are categorised by the product’s size. This means that two differently sized appliances with the same energy rating might use different amounts of electricity.

It’s best to check energy labels on products and look for the product with the best energy rating for the size you require. Read our blog on the new energy label to find out what it means for you.

Reduce your energy consumption

How and when you use your home appliances can affect how much energy they use. Wet appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines, for example, typically account for 10% of a household’s energy bills. Frequency of use is one factor, however washing at lower temperatures and avoiding half loads will reduce energy consumption.

We have more tips on how to save energy when using your washing machine in our blog, or watch the video below from Home Energy Scotland to find out more.

Avoid leaving appliances on standby

The average UK household spends £35 every year powering appliances that are left on standby. Standby is the energy used by certain appliances when not in use and not switched off at the plug.

Recent additions to the average household’s collection of electrical goods, such as broadband routers and smart speakers, use low levels of electricity when not in use. We tend not to think to switch these off, but as they’re often on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, these appliances gradually consume considerable amounts of electricity.

Helpful hints for household appliances

We’ve taken a closer look at the top 10 household appliances and suggested helpful tips to help you save money, energy and carbon emissions when choosing a new appliance.

Cooker

A fan-assisted oven is more energy efficient as it helps cook at lower temperatures by circulating the air around the food, while electric hobs are more efficient than gas rings. Look for an oven with a triple-glazed door, as this will keep the heat in and cook food quicker.

Microwave oven

Microwaves can provide a more energy efficient way to cook your food than in the oven. Unlike ovens, microwaves only heat your food and not the air space inside, which means they use less energy to cook your dinner.

Dishwasher

Dishwashers are energy intensive appliances, typically costing between £37 and £48 a year to run. The most efficient dishwashers on the market cost around £7 less to run than lower energy rated versions of the same size, and they use less water.

Fridge and freezer

These are switched on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s worth finding models that are energy efficient. As the energy rating is categorised by size, choosing a smaller fridge will use less energy than a larger fridge with the same rating.

Kettle

Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen – and given that most of us are still working from home due to lockdowns, their usage has risen even more over the past year. Look for ECO kettles, as these only boil the amount of water required and can use 20% less energy than a conventional electric kettle.

Tumble dryer

Drying your clothes outdoors on a washing line, or indoors on a rack during the winter months, costs nothing and uses no energy, so it’s the best way to dry your clothes. If you do need a tumble dryer, look for one that has a sensor to alert you when your clothes are dry enough. This will prevent you from wasting energy by over drying your laundry.

Washing machine

An energy efficient washing machine will save you money on your energy bill and, if you have a meter, your water bill too. Check the energy rating before buying and try to avoid washing half loads and using high temperatures to maximise your savings.

Computer / laptop

With home working now the new norm, many of us will be sitting in front of a desktop or laptop five days a week. Laptops typically use 85% less electricity over a year than desktop PCs, saving you up to £17 a year.

TV

Large televisions can be particularly power-hungry. The larger the screen, the more energy it will consume, regardless of its energy rating. So, by choosing a smaller TV, you will generally save more energy. After selecting the smallest TV still suitable for your needs, the best ways to save energy are to reduce brightness settings to the lowest acceptable limit and remember to switch off your TV when you’re not using it.

Smart speaker

Smart speakers cost around £2-5 a year to run, so aren’t too taxing on your energy bill. Usually they are left on standby, so it’s worth considering whether you need them to stay on 24 hours a day. Our testing of the Amazon Echo and Dot, for example, revealed lower power usage than expected, with only slightly more energy being used when activated by voice from standby.

Disposing of old appliances

Home electrical appliances should be disposed of carefully due to the nature of their materials. Items that have the image of a wheelie bin with a cross on them should not be disposed of using the general household rubbish collection.

If you are buying new electrical appliances, the law requires retailers to:

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

Some retailers offer collection of old appliances from your home. Alternatively, you can take your old equipment to your nearest recycling point, or ask your local authority to collect your bulky items. Make sure you check local travel restrictions before visiting a recycling point.

Search for home appliances

The Energy Saving Trust Register is an extensive database of appliances endorsed by Energy Saving Trust. This means you can be confident that these products meet our high standards when it comes to energy efficiency.

Search now

Last updated: March 26th, 2021