How to use less electricity Saving energy in the kitchen
A well-stocked kitchen is home to some of the most greedy electrical appliances, with your fridge and freezer eating up energy 24 hours a day.
Find out how much electricity your appliances use with our energy cost calculators, and follow our tips for using less electricity to save energy - and money - in the kitchen.
Save energy with your fridge and freezer
Don't leave the door open longer than necessary. Avoid putting warm food in your freezer as it makes it work harder - allow food to cool down first.
Keep the inside of the fridge between 0 and 5°C, and use a fridge thermometer to check your thermostat is accurate. Lower temperatures increase energy use, but if it’s too warm your food will spoil.
Defrost frozen food in your fridge. Frozen food will act like an ice pack to help cool the fridge, reducing the amount of electricity the fridge needs to use to keep cool.
For optimum energy efficiency, aim to keep your fridge and freezer at least three quarters full. You could always fill them with bottles of water to take up space. But don’t overfill - fridges and freezers work by circulating air around the compartments. If they are over-full, air won’t be able to circulate, and the appliance will use more energy to keep cold.
Your fridge and freezer run most efficiently when they are defrosted regularly. Also, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the condenser coils at the back or underneath your fridge or freezer, as thick dust can reduce their efficiency by up to 25%.
- Saving: An energy-efficient fridge-freezer could save up to £62 a year.
Saving energy on cleaning
Always fully load your washing machine, tumble dryer, washer-dryer or dishwasher. The fuller the load, the more energy-efficient the cycle.
Look for, and use, eco cycles on your domestic appliances. Most modern washing machines and dishwashers have them, and they are designed to cut electricity and water use. Dishwasher eco programs cut energy use by around 16%.
Wash lightly soiled clothes at 30°C, except for occasional higher-temperature washes. Watch our video on using your washing machine for more tips.
Time your washes carefully. If you are signed up to an energy tariff that offers cheaper off-peak electricity (Economy 7, for example), set your machine’s delay-start function to come on at night.
- Saving: Washing clothes at 30°C instead of 40°C can save you around £9 a year. Investing in a Best Buy energy-efficient washing machine could save you a further £30 per year.
Dry clothes more energy efficiently
Don't hang wet clothes on radiators to dry – use a clothes horse instead. If you need to use a tumble dryer, wring out or spin dry your clothes before putting them in.
Tumble drying uses a lot of energy, especially if your dryer is inefficient. One load in a C-rated electric tumble dryer costs around 49p, compared with around just 14p per load in an A-rated heat-pump dryer. Gas and heat-pump tumble dryers cost less to run, but they are expensive to buy.
Clean the lint filter every time you use the machine. A blocked filter stops the hot air from circulating freely, so clothes take longer to dry. You can discover more ways to cut your energy bills with our energy-saving tumble dryer tips.
- Saving: Instead of tumble drying every couple of days, drying naturally will save you about £39 annually, if your dryer is energy efficient, or up to £139 if your machine is relatively inefficient. Use our tumble dryer energy costs calculator to find an efficient model.
Energy saving brews
Only fill and boil the kettle with as much water as you need. The most energy-saving kettles have a low minimum-fill llne and switch off swiftly after boiling - so use our Which? reviews to help you find an energy-saving kettle next time you need to replace yours.
Descale your kettle regularly, because if it is full of limescale, you use more energy to boil the same amount of water.
Because gas is cheaper than electricity, it works out slightly cheaper to boil water on a gas hob than using an electric kettle, as long as you are boiling just the quantity you need and switch off the hob as soon as it has boiled.
- Saving: Boil only as much water as you need and consider buying an eco kettle.