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Don’t open the fridge door too often

In most households the fridge uses more power than any other appliance. To cut energy use, try to limit the number of times you open the fridge door, and never leave it open.

Don’t place hot items in the fridge

Wait until a dish has cooled down before placing it in the fridge. Put cold items back into the fridge after use rather than letting them warm to room temperature.

Get the temperature right

The recommended operating temperature for a fridge is 3°C to 5°C. For freezers, the recommended range is –15 to –18°C.

Switch off the second fridge

If you have a second fridge, consider how often your “drinks fridge” is really used. Turn it on only when you need it, such as for parties or when you have guests staying, and put the drinks you use on a daily basis in the main fridge. A second fridge can cost up to tHicks Real Estatee cartons of beer a year to run.

Keep the fridge well ventilated

Ensure you leave at least 50mm of space at the top, back and sides to improve ventilation and let your fridge work at its best.

Place the fridge in a cool spot

Locate fridges and freezers in cool spots, away from direct sun and other heat sources such as stoves.

Check the age of your fridge

If your fridge is over 10 years old it may pay to consider replacing it as fridge efficiency has improved considerably in the past 10 years. The NSW government runs a fridge buy back scheme which many councils have signed up to. The scheme provides free collection of your old fridge by professional removalists and a $35 rebate.

Check fridge seals

Check and clean seals on your fridge to make sure the door closes securely. You can do this by putting a piece of paper or even a $5 note between the door and the fridge cabinet. Close the door. Try to gently pull the paper out; if it slips out easily with no suction of the paper you may need to take a closer look to see if cool air is escaping. If so replace the seals or adjust the door hinge. If there is some “drag” on the paper the seal is working. Regularly remove any frost build-up in the freezer.

Replace the seals: Go to the national fridge seals website to find the seals that are right for your brand of fridge and model. You can then order them on line and follow the instructions yourself. For an installation service as well contact a local fridge seal installer.

Save rinsing water

Rinse vegetables over a bowl and tip the water on the garden or a pot plant. You can also buy tubs with a handle and plug, which fit snugly in the kitchen sink to make it easy to transport water to the garden.

Boil the water you need

Use an electric kettle instead of the electric stove top to boil water. Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need.

Tips for the Kitchen

Run a full load in the dishwasher

The less the dishwasher is used the more energy is saved. And wait until the dishwasher is full before running it; cleaning a small number of dishes is a waste of water. Connecting the dishwasher to the hot water tap so it doesn’t have to heat its own water will save on running costs.

Wait until a dish has cooled down before placing it in the fridge. Put cold items back into the fridge after use rather than letting them warm to room temperature.

Scrape rather than rinse

Scrape dishes rather than rinse before washing where possible, or use less water by not rinsing dishes under running water.

Cooking toast

Cooking toast in a toaster instead of under the grill reduces energy use by up to 75%.

Cooking with gas

If possible, use gas for cooking. Gas is generally cheaper and it’s less damaging to the environment than coal-fired electricity production. Turn the gas down to keep flames under the pot rather than up the sides. Gently simmer pots with the lid on rather than boiling vigorously. If you have to use electricity to cook, use a microwave where practical. Ensure you leave at least 50mm of space at the top, back and sides to improve ventilation and let your fridge work at its best.

Cooking with electricity

If you use electricity to cook, use the microwave where practical (some models come with a browning element) and use an electric kettle instead of the stovetop to boil water for tea and coffee. Make sure you don’t overfill the kettle with the minimum amount of water needed. Any more just wastes energy.

Install tap aerators

Aerators can be fitted to taps to reduce water flow. They can be fitted inside or on the tap. Check with your landlord before installing.

A note for renters: you will need your landlords permission for this check. See our Rent Smart Guide for information

Buy the fridge that you really need

Make sure, as with any appliance, that you buy the smallest appliance that can do the job comfortably for you. This saves purchase cost and running costs, as well as reducing resource depletion and embedded energy for the appliance itself.

Choose energy and water efficient appliances

In Australia and New Zealand it is now mandatory that most products feature an “Energy Rating” label with up to 6 stars. Depending on the star rating, standby power usage can be reduced by up to 50%. The Australian consumer watchdog, CHOICE, provides data on “standby to wake scores” for certain products, indicating that consciousness is indeed growing and people are wising up.

The Energy Rating label enables you to compare the energy efficiency of domestic appliances in a fair and balanced way. It also provides incentive for manufacturers to improve the energy performance of appliances. The higher the “stars” the better, especially with high energy appliances like fridges; the extra cost can be recouped within the first year of ownership. To compare specific appliances such as Air Conditioners, Clothes Dryers, Clothes Washers, Dishwashers, Refrigerator/Freezer, Televisions visit the Energy Rating website .

When it comes time to replace fridges, microwaves and other appliances, buy the most energy and water efficient one.

Buy the right size for your needs.

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