How to save energy when using household appliances?

Household appliances are the main consumer of electricity in any home, and their share in total energy consumption is growing rapidly around the world. Last year, the problem of the energy efficiency of our gadgets was even discussed at the summit of the world’s largest powers G-20. It is now globally one of six top priorities.

The next time you see an electricity bill, remember that this is mostly for household appliances. Even ordinary incandescent lamps account for only a fifth of the electricity consumed in a family, and if you have already switched to energy-efficient lamps, then even less. The rest is spent on “feeding” of very necessary, familiar and irreplaceable helpers – household appliances. Often, the cost of their maintenance can be easily reduced. Here, as in any computer game, there are three levels: “Beginner”, “Professional” and “Strategist”.

At the first level, we will learn how to perform simple actions that are in the concept of “culture of using electrical appliances”. On the second, we will find out how to apply special settings for household appliances. At the third level, there will be a conversation about the energy efficiency classes of household appliances and about who and how should be guided by them. However, first, let’s figure out how electricity is consumed in everyday life.

The champion in kilowatt consumption in the average family is a refrigerator working around the clock. Its share is from 20 to 40 percent of consumed electricity. In second place is either an electric stove (over 20 percent) or (if the food is cooked on gas) lighting devices (18-20 percent). Washing machine – about 15 percent, TV – 11 percent, vacuum cleaner – 8 percent. Of course, all these are very strongly averaged numbers, any new large unit in the family is able to significantly correct this scheme. For example, a dishwasher is able to take on up to 10 percent of the consumed electricity, air conditioning – 15-20 percent. In addition, there are also small household appliances,  which can be a lot in the house.

Beginner: where kilowatts go

Saving energy starts with eradicating bad habits. For example, do not keep the refrigerator door open for a long time, this will harm both the food inside and the unit itself. It is generally advisable not to heat the refrigerator: it should stand as far as possible from the stove and heating radiators. In addition, you should periodically check that the door of your refrigerator is tightly closed. Perhaps something is interfering with it or the rubber accordion needs to be washed or replaced altogether.

Good habits are worth acquiring. For example, it is a good idea to unplug chargers after you have charged your phone or tablet. Please note that they consume energy not only for the burning of the red light, but also for self-heating! It makes sense to completely turn off the TV and other devices that may remain in “standby mode”. This is also extra kilowatts for which you will have to pay.

Unnecessary energy losses can be avoided when using an electric stove by choosing pots and pans with a diameter slightly larger than or equal to the heating surface. Otherwise, a significant part of the electricity is wasted. In addition, electric stoves, especially old ones, take a long time to cool down, so it is better to turn them off a little earlier so that the food continues to cook on the residual heat. And if you only need a cup of boiling water, then you should not fill the kettle to the maximum level. This appliance, as well as a double boiler, a washing machine and a dishwasher, must be descaled at least once every six months, so the water will heat up faster and the power consumption will decrease. For the same reason, the dust container and air filters of the vacuum cleaner should be cleaned or replaced in time. Only due to all this, you can save from 5 to 15 percent of electricity.

Professional: the right program

Having eliminated completely useless waste of electricity, we take the next step by exploring all the possibilities of your household appliances. The main function, which, in combination with the transition to multi-tariff energy metering, can significantly reduce the electricity bill is, of course, “delayed start” (washing, baking bread, heating water in the boiler can be done automatically at cheap night hours). But besides this, modern technology has many features that are useful for saving energy: you need to carefully read the instructions and follow the recommendations, which, unfortunately, very few people do. For example, in all operating instructions for washing machines, we are advised to fully load the drum, sort the laundry according to the degree of soiling and select the appropriate mode. And this really saves electricity: lightly soiled laundry can be successfully washed at 30-40 degrees, and the lower the temperature, the less energy is wasted.

Refrigerators have useful features in case of your vacation or business trip. In two-compressor models, for example, you can turn off one of the units – the refrigerator compartment (while leaving the door open). In many single-compressor models there is a similar “Vacation” mode: the freezer compartment works as usual, and in the refrigerator the temperature is maintained at +15 degrees to avoid mold and unpleasant odors. The conversation about the smart functions of modern household appliances can go on and on. Ultimately, they form the concept of “household appliances with a high class of energy efficiency.”

Strategist: The Life Cycle Of Household Appliances

The concept of “energy efficiency class” is inextricably linked with the assessment of the cost of household appliances throughout their entire life cycle. It is on this basis that the technique is recognized as effective (A, A +, A ++), admissible (B, C) and ineffective (D, E, F, G). The point is that a household appliance with a pleasant price tag and low energy efficiency for 5-7 years of service will cost significantly more than a more expensive analog with a high energy efficiency class. For example, a class A refrigerator consumes 0.85 kW per day, and a similar class C refrigerator – twice as much!

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