A quick guide to choosing energy efficient appliances
When it comes to cutting down the amount of money you spend on your energy bills, sometimes it can really pay to upgrade your appliances.
While there is not much that the average homeowner can do about electricity prices - other than comparing the rates offered by different providers - you can cut down on your consumption.
In many cases, the initial cost of buying a more efficient fridge, freezer, washing machine or dryer can be offset by the amount of money you save on electricity bills over time.
Look for the star rating
Whether you are buying a fridge, air conditioner or even a dishwasher, the star rating can provide you valuable information about how efficient the appliance is.
Standard appliances are usually rated on a scale from one to six, with one being the least efficient and six being the most efficient. However, some newer appliances have been deemed as 'super-efficient' and can be awarded up to ten stars.
It is important to be aware that the star rating system is re-evaluated from time to time to account for overall improvements in technology. For example, an item purchased after the ratings were comprehensively re-evaluated in 2000 (and again for some appliances in 2010) with a three-star rating might still be more efficient than an item purchased pre-2000 with a higher star rating.
Check out the CEC figures
Many appliances, such as dishwashers, are evaluated using CEC - or Comparative Energy Consumption - figures. This calculation measures the average amount of energy these appliances use under normal circumstances - in the case of a dishwasher, this means running one cycle a day.
You might also want to keep an eye on the capacity of your appliances - obviously, larger dishwashers will consume more energy than their smaller counterparts.
Consider the time of day your appliances are used
The time of day that you use your appliances can impact your electricity bill. Many companies charge a different rate for peak and off-peak consumption.
This information will be detailed clearly on your bill and can help you use your appliances in a more efficient manner - for example, doing loads of laundry in the washing machine in the evening during off-peak hours can help you save more money than using your appliance at a peak time.