Tips for buying energy-efficient appliances

Imagine a life without electricity, without having the luxury of turning on the lights on after the sun goes down, trying to prepare dinner without an oven, microwave and stove, or even the luxury of being able to blow dry and straighten your hair before a night out.

Electricity has become such an integral part of our everyday lives, so it's pretty hard to imagine how we would survive without it: it provides us with instant entertainment and convenience.

But, it also happens to represent 50% of energy used in Australian households and comprises 85% of our country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Appliances can account for up to 30 per cent of home energy use, but with the right knowledge and mindset we can live more sustainable lives and dramatically decrease this figure.

Using energy efficient appliances not only decreases carbon emissions but can also cut household electricity bills, yet many people still don't fully understand the energy rating stars displayed on new appliances. Understanding this, along with the basic features and practicalities of products, can make a huge difference in helping you pick the right appliance to suit your needs.

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What you should think about before making a purchase

Compare the energy star rating: The star rating gives a quick comparative assessment of the model's energy efficiency, and should provide an estimate of the annual energy consumption of the appliance. The more stars the better; a five star water rating can help you save 21,000 litres of water a year – that's a heap of money saved on water bills.

Read through the instruction booklet online to ensure you're aware of the different functions and options available on your appliance as many products have eco-friendly alternatives. For example, this Bosch Dishwasher has a half load option for the convenience of people living by themselves. This feature uses less water and electricity, which will save you money on bills.

Be realistic: Buy the product that is sized to your typical needs - not the biggest one available. Bigger appliances could drive up the price of water and electricity bills.

Consider renting or buying second-hand: Do you really need to buy new? Chances are, someone looking to sell a pre-loved appliance that will suit your needs just fine. Consider extending the life of a pre-used product instead of always buying new: This will save resources, contibute to the sharing economy, and save you money!

Recycle old appliances: Electrical waste contains hazardous materials that end up in landfills. When new products are purchased from Appliances Online they are installed and old appliances are taken away for recycling.

Turn your appliances off at the power point: Around 10% of household power use is drawn from appliances that are thought to be off but are actually on stand-by mode and are continuing to use power.

Eco isn't always best: Just because an appliance has an "eco" setting, doesn't mean it's necessarily better for the environment! Read more about the myth of "eco" setting here.

Re-assess your needs: You might really feel like you need a second TV, or a milkshake maker, but consider how much value you will actually get out of this purchase. Do you REALLY need it, or is it just something you want? Would going without this appliance make your life difficult, or could you easily adapt? You might find after some careful thought that a new microwave/blender/hairdryer isn't actually a necessity after all.

This article was written in colaboration with Appliances Online Australia

What are your top tips for using less energy at home? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Shutterstock

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