Big or small, your household appliances and electronic devices consume a lot of energy. On average, they consume 20% of the total energy used in your residence.
When shopping for a large household appliance, the international ENERGY STAR label is a symbol of energy efficiency at its best. Products bearing the ENERGY STAR label will help reduce your energy and operating costs by 30 to 50%. You’ll also be helping the environment. For a refrigerator, you can save upwards of $80 per year.
For more information:
- visit the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada or consult the list of products ENERGY STAR;
- consult the brochure Choosing and Using Appliances With EnerGuide (PDF)
- order the brochure (ISBN : 978-0-660-20695-0) at 1 800 387-2000.
From the kitchen to the laundry room
The refrigerator is the biggest energy guzzler, followed by the freezer, the washing machine (if it uses hot water), the dryer, the dishwasher and the stove. Even though their energy consumption is constantly improving, substantial energy savings can still be made if you choose appliances whose power and size correspond to your needs and make optimum use of these appliances.
If your refrigerator is next to your stove, dishwasher or a sunny window, it has to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. If possible, place the appliance in an optimal location.
Regular cleaning of the cooling coil underneath or in the back of the fridge helps maintain good performance and can save up to 12% in energy consumption.
- Make sure that the door seals fit properly and that the doors close tightly against the seals. Clean the seals with soap and water and, if damaged, replace them.
- Avoid opening the fridge door unnecessarily, and do not overload the door to keep the air flowing.
- Allow food to cool before storing it in the fridge.
If you use a freezer, defrost periodically to ensure maximum efficiency; never allow more than 6 mm (about ¼ in.) of ice to accumulate in the freezer.
The recommended operating temperature for a refrigerator is 2-3°C and -18°C for a freezer. Thermometers specially designed for this purpose are available at most hardware stores.
A freezer is almost as much of an energy guzzler as a fridge. If you’re not the sort to stock up on provisions, then the freezer compartment of your fridge should fulfil your needs. If you want to buy a freezer, keep in mind that horizontal or chest freezers consume less energy than vertical or standing freezers. The rule of thumb to determine what you need in a freezer is half a cubic foot per person in the home.
Do not open the door to check your food. This causes a 20% loss of heat. Instead, open the oven light and look through the glass.
Approximately 85% of the energy consumed by a dishwasher is used to heat up the water. You should rinse your dishes in cold water, wait until the machine is full of dishes before using it, use the short cycle option and let the dishes dry by opening the door rather than using the hot air drying cycle.
- By washing your clothes in cold water, you’ll save more than 50 litres of hot water per washer load, or about $50 a year.
- Replacing a conventional washing machine with a front-loading model allows for significant savings of energy and drinking water.
- Use the right amount of detergent. A surplus makes the machine work harder, requiring more energy. Refer to your machine's operating manual for the recommended amount of detergent.
Sort and plan your laundry to make full loads to save energy and water. A large load will consume less energy than two smaller loads.>
- Selecting a longer spin time on your washer will remove more water from your clothes. The dryer will work even less to finish drying, and you can reduce the drying time.
- You can also add a dry towel to the dryer to absorb some of the moisture from wet clothing. This can reduce the drying time by 10 minutes.
- Clean the lint filter frequently, and make sure that the exhaust duct and outside vent are not obstructed.
- Hang your clothes out on the clothesline when the weather is nice outside. Avoid hanging your wet clothing inside the house: excessive moisture can lead to mould on the walls.
Smaller appliances provide substantial savings in energy consumption, while extending the life of your big appliances. Consequently, when you have a choice of using one or the other, opt for the smaller one. Whether it is a microwave oven, a toaster oven, a crock pot, a tea kettle, a coffee maker or an electric skillet, don’t be afraid to use them as often as you can.
By using a microwave rather than the oven in your stove when cooking small quantities of food, you’ll save energy because a microwave oven consumes five times less energy. Keep in mind that it must be airtight, with nothing preventing the free circulation of air around the appliance.
By using an electric skillet rather than the burners on your kitchen stove, you have more control over the cooking temperature and you consume less energy to obtain the same results.
For the same cooking time, a toaster oven consumes two times less energy than the oven in your stove. Compared to the burner on your stove, an electric tea kettle can use 40 to 70% less energy, while an electric crock pot uses up to 50% less energy!
If the appliance is manufactured and sold in Québec, consult the Loi sur l’efficacité énergétique d’appareils fonctionnant à l’électricité ou aux hydrocarbures which monitors the energy efficiency of appliances powered by electricity or fossil fuels.
If the appliance is manufactured in Québec but is exported elsewhere, consult the Guide to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations.
Provincial regulations regarding the energy efficiency of appliances apply when the appliances are manufactured and sold in Québec. Federal energy efficiency regulations apply when appliances are exported.
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