Choosing energy efficient appliances for your home

by | Sep 1, 2022

One of the most effective ways to reduce your energy consumption at home is to change the way you use your appliances. While replacing all of your appliances with newer, more energy efficient options isn’t always feasible, when you do have the opportunity to buy new, it’s worth your while to do your homework and choose the most energy efficient appliance available. Upgrading to appliances that are Energy Star certified is the one of the simplest, most effective ways to bring about long-term energy savings.

Energy efficient for what? How is energy efficiency rated?

energy star rating badge

Appliances are tested for how much energy they consume during typical use. This is then rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient product of its class, and G being the least efficient. Some appliances use an older scale, from A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient. However, appliances are also categorised by size – this means that two different sized appliances with the same energy rating might use different amounts of electricity.

Here are some practical tips to bear in mind when buying energy-efficient appliances to help you reduce your household energy consumption and recoup those savings.

First thing’s first – choose the right size

For Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems and smaller appliances alike, size matters. Air conditioning units that are too small will have to work harder and stay on for longer periods of time, which diminishes efficiency. Bigger is not better either, as oversized air conditioning units will cycle on and off more frequently, which ultimately uses more power than is ideal.

This logic applies to other appliances. Although, for example, you can maximise the efficiency of a washing machine by only washing a full load of clothes, if you never have enough laundry to fill that oversized top loader machine, it’s not worth it.

In other words, the right size for an appliance is the one that fits your everyday needs.
For example, a basic guide to matching your household needs to the capacity of a fridge/freezer combination is 200-380 litres for one to two people; 350-530 litres for a family of three to four; and if it’s over five people, you’ll need at least 440 litre capacity.

Choose appliances with energy saving modes or settings

Energy-saving settings should be the most important feature that you seek in a dishwasher.

An “ECO” setting or energy saver setting lets you give dishes a light wash, to save energy and water when possible, without sacrificing the option of deep or heavy-duty cleaning for those cooking intensive days.

Washing machines usually have a similar feature, but this isn’t a deal breaker – you can run it in your own energy saving mode, simply by choosing a cold water cycle and using a “light duty” or “quick wash” setting.

All appliances have two price tags. The one you pay upfront in the store, and the one you pay to run and maintain that appliance through its lifetime.

Most people only consider the purchase price of a new appliance. This is not the only price that matters, however. There’s also the lifelong cost associated with using your purchase.

While energy-efficient models are often more expensive than their standard counterparts, their lower energy requirements (such as an average of 20% less for Energy Star refrigerators, for example) will end up saving money in the long term.

In addition to power saving benefits, energy efficient dishwashers and washing machines will consume less water and less detergent, which also has a cost saving outcome.

Do your reading: it’s all there on the EnergyGuide Label.

Energy Star certified appliances are marked with a special sticker, but most appliances also have an energy label. These labels provide all of the information you need to compare the energy efficiency of the different appliances on sale. They will help you to understand what impact the appliance will have on your electricity consumption.

It is mandatory in South Africa for new appliances displayed in-store and online to display the SA Energy Efficiency Label so that consumers are empowered with knowledge to buy and use appliances more efficiently.

These energy stickers provide the efficiency statistics for that particular appliance, giving you specs like size and model, plus estimated yearly operating costs and energy consumption.

While they only display average usage costs, these labels offer insight into how much money you might spend or save on energy over the appliance’s lifetime.

What does the energy efficiency label tell you?

energy chart on efficiency.

Decide if smart appliances are worth the investment. (hint: they are!)

Smart appliances can be connected to programmable energy management systems within your home to give you better control over their usage and consumption.

A timer on the pool pump can be set to ensure that the pool pump runs only during off-peak hours when the demand on the national power grid is not so high.

You can either replace your existing geyser with a solar or gas geyser… or you can turn your geyser into a Smart Geyser .

While they only display average usage costs, these labels offer insight into how much money you might spend or save on energy over the appliance’s lifetime.

How do I make my geyser a Smart Geyser?

We add a clever little AI-powered gadget that connects to your geyser, giving you complete remote control using an app.

Turn it off and on as needed – Schedule your geyser running times, giving you hot water when you need it and saving you money and energy when you don’t.

Proactive management to avert home disaster – a Smart Geyser also automatically detects leaks and alerts you in real-time, so you can deal with problems before they become catastrophes.

Prioritise, plan and work toward an energy efficient household

If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it, right? Wrong. Certain appliances consume more energy than others, so it makes sense to replace the least efficient and most energy-hungry appliances first, such as your refrigerator and geyser.

Did you know? Your fridge is one of the most power-hungry appliances in your house. Energy Star models can save 15% on utility costs compared to current standard models, and 40% compared to conventional fridges sold 20 years ago.

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Article by

Vincent Gaemers
Vincent Gaemers is the Growth Lead at Home+. He breathes the Home+ brand and his mission is to deliver the Home+ knowledge to our customers.
Vincent Gaemers
Vincent Gaemers is the Growth Lead at Home+. He breathes the Home+ brand and his mission is to deliver the Home+ knowledge to our customers.

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