Appliance Tips

Refrigerator:

  • Do not locate your refrigerator or freezer near heat vents, sunlight or your oven.
  • Check that the temperature inside your refrigerator is between 2°C and 3°C. In most refrigerators, this is the mid-level setting on the temperature control. Freezers should operate at -18°C. Keeping the temperatures just 5°C  colder than the recommended levels can increase energy use by as much as 25%.
  • If your refrigerator has an energy saver mode, use it. This feature disables a small heater that is used to prevent moisture from building up on the outside. Unless you see condensation on your fridge, keep this switch off.
  • Do not put hot foods and leftover meals directly into the fridge or freezer. Allow them to cool first.
  • Cover food and any liquids when you put them in the fridge, otherwise they release moisture and cause the refrigerator to use more energy.
  • Make the most of the freezer compartment in your refrigerator. This is more energy efficient than having a stand-alone freezer.
  • If your freezer is not full, fill plastic containers with water and freeze them. This will also help keep your food frozen in the event of a power outage.
  • Check the door seals. Gaskets on the doors deteriorate over time. A fridge or freezer that does not seal properly can waste a lot of energy. To check the seal, place a piece of paper between the door and the refrigerator as you close it. If you can move the paper freely in the door, it's not sealed tightly. Contact the Housing department to fix.
  • Unplug the refrigerator and clean the dust from the back or bottom coils twice a year. Make sure there is at least three inches of air space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall and at least 1 inch of space on both sides to allow for good air circulation.
  • Defrost regularly. Manual defrost refrigerators are generally more efficient than automatic defrost models, but only if they are properly maintained. Manual and partial automatic defrost refrigerators and freezers should be defrosted at least twice a year or when the ice is as thick as a pencil.

Stove:

  • Use a pressure cooker. By using steam pressure, it cooks at a higher temperature and reduces cooking time.
  • Keep the inside of your microwave oven clean to maximize its efficiency.
  • Avoid using the microwave to defrost food. Thawing food in the fridge is safer than leaving it on the countertop and it contributes to the fridge's cooling.
  • Boiling water in an electric kettle is more efficient than on most stovetops.
  • Keep pots and pans covered while cooking. Water boils faster and foods cook more quickly.
  • Use the smallest pot or pan possible. Smaller pans require less energy.
  • If your stove has different sizes of elements, match the pan size to the element size. A 6-inch pan on a 8-inch element will waste 40% of the energy produced by the element. If you only have one element size, go with the smaller pot.
  • With conventional coil burners, use reflective drip pans to help reflect heat up toward the cooking surface. However, do not line drip pans with aluminum foil – they can reflect too much heat and damage the elements.
  • Use flat-bottomed cookware on electric stoves. Burner elements are significantly less efficient if the pan does not have good contact with the element.
  • When possible, use small appliances such as an electric fry pan with lid, crock-pot, toaster oven, or microwave instead of the full-sized range or wall oven.

Washer:

  • Load the washer to capacity when possible. One large load of laundry will use less energy than two small or medium loads.
  • For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load.
  • Set your machine to the shortest wash time.
  • Note that the permanent press wash cycle uses as much as 20 litres more water for the additional rinse.
  • Use the smallest amount of detergent recommended for your washer. Too much detergent makes your machine work harder and uses more energy.
  • If your clothes aren't dirty, don't wash them.
  • With heavy loads, adding an extra spin cycle can reduce dry times.

Dryer:

  • If you do not like the feel of sun-dried towels, pop them in the dryer for five minutes at the end to soften them.
  • Sort clothes for drying. Lightweight synthetics dry much faster than bath towels or natural fibre materials such as denim. Put items with similar drying times together. Lightweight items will dry faster hung on their own than in the dryer combined with heavier fabrics.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer while they are still slightly damp. This will reduce the need for ironing. Over-drying causes shrinkage, static electricity and shortens fabric life.
  • If you are using the dryer's moisture sensor, don't add wet items to a load that is partially dry. This will cause the dryer to run longer. However, adding a dry towel to a dryer load can reduce drying times, and adding a damp towel to a load of lighter items can take out wrinkles, reducing the need to iron them.
  • Drying full, but not oversized loads, is more energy-efficient than drying smaller loads or overloading the machine. Clothes should dry in no more than 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Use dryer balls. Having two dryer balls in your machine separates items better and shortens drying times by up to a third.
  • Dry multiple loads back to back to make the most of the dryer's heat.
  • The 'perma press' (cool-down) cycle can reduce energy. It does not use heat for the last few minutes, but drying continues as cool air is blown through the tumbling clothes.
  • Clean the lint trap after each use. A clogged lint trap will reduce airflow and dryer performance, driving up your energy usage. It can also be a fire hazard.
  • Check the vent to the outside. Proper ventilation is important for the proper operation of your dryer. Keep it clean and free from obstruction. Avoid locating your dryer vent next to air intakes or windows.

 

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