Energy efficient home appliances are worth the investment

With the major retailers announcing an increase of a whopping 20% to their energy prices in July this year, it’s time to look at how we can try and keep some of that extra cash in our pockets, and not the pockets of our energy suppliers.

Home appliances in Australia account for up to 33% of electricity use, so it makes sense to start there when looking for ways to reduce our energy output. But why would you want to fork out for new appliances, when your fridge already keeps your food fresh, your washing machine gets the grime out of your clothes, and your dryer does the job in jiffy? Are the savings really worth the initial investment of replacing your old appliances with new versions, even if they are more energy efficient?

Firstly, let’s look at the benefits of energy efficient home appliances and what those star ratings really mean

The star rating is a quick guide to show you how efficient the appliance is in comparison to other models in the same category. When comparing star ratings it is important to only compare to models of a similar size and specification.

So why should we reach for the stars and aim to purchase a model with a higher energy efficiency star rating?

  • They literally do save you money: By upgrading your appliances to energy efficient versions and using them wisely, you could save 5-30% on your annual energy bills, in comparison to making no changes at all. You may have to spend money initially on new appliances, but realistically it is not going to take long until the savings make the spends worth your while.
  • They’re convenient: Generally speaking, models with a higher star rating do just as good (if not better) a job at doing what they’re meant to, in a shorter time, without using the extra energy.
  • They’re more environmentally friendly: Energy efficient models produce less greenhouse gas emissions than their less efficient counterparts. Household appliances currently account for 21% of Australia’s carbon emissions, so you’re not only being kinder to your bank balance, you’re being kinder to the environment too!

Which appliances should you consider replacing with more energy efficient versions?

Fridge Freezer

Choose the right appliance for your family size. A large fridge or freezer with the same star rating as a smaller version will use more energy unnecessarily, if for example, you are a family of 3 and have a fridge that caters for a family of 5-6.

Modern fridge freezers use approximately 40% less energy than those purchased 15 years ago, so if your fridge freezer is as old as your teenage children, you’re probably due for an upgrade. An old fridge could be costing you up to $200 a year in excess energy costs!

Washing machine

Front loaders tend to use less energy and water than top loaders. They do, however, tend to cost more than top loaders, but will save you more money in the long run as washing machines tend to last about 10 years.


Dryers are by far one of the most consuming household appliances, especially if it has a low star rating. The difference between a 2 star, and a 6 star energy efficient drier can be up to $260 a year!


On the other hand, a dishwasher can actually be extremely efficient (if you have an efficient model) as dishwashers typically use significantly less water than it would take to wash the dishes by hand.

It’s not just your star rating that matters when it comes to efficiency; it’s how you use it too!

Having an energy efficient appliance is step one to saving you money and making your energy output more environmentally friendly, but by being mindful with when and how you use your appliances can also have a huge impact on your energy output. For example:

Fridge temperature

Make sure you’re not running your fridge significantly cooler than you need to. Do you often find any slightly frozen fruit and veggies in there? If so, you can probably turn the temperature up a notch!

Dishwasher usage

Many people scrape and rinse their dishes before loading the dishwasher, which can be counterproductive to your energy and water bills. Make sure you scrape the food off them so that the dishwasher can work effectively, but there should be no need to rinse. Also, waiting until the dishwasher is almost full rather than running it when only half loaded (unless you have a half load option on your model). In the same respect, don’t over-fill the dishwasher as it won’t be able to do its job properly and you’ll probably end up re-washing half of its contents.

Washing & drying laundry

Only using cold water can reduce the energy your washing machine uses by 50-85% a year when compared to doing warm or hot washes. With the majority of washing detergents now being designed for cold washes and are just as effective as washing in warm water, this is a no brainer. If you have some tough stains or a heavily soiled load, soak the clothes for a while before you wash. For clothes that aren’t particularly dirty, utilise the ‘quick wash’ function if your machine has one (which it should do if it’s energy efficient!). Separate your loads in terms of their drying time, e.g. towels separately, or even better – if the weather permits, hang them outdoors to dry in the fresh air!

With all this in mind, you might have been wondering if you could afford to upgrade your appliances to more energy efficient models. But the question now is, can you afford not to?







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