Room by Room Tip

The kitchen is home to one of the house’s biggest energy guzzlers – the fridge – but simple actions can keep energy use down.

Tips for the Kitchen

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

kitchenDon’t open the fridge door too often

In many 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 or recycle 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 three cartons of beer a year to run.

Recycling unused fridges or freezers is a great way to dispose of the appliance safely and correctly.

See our list of current energy rebates for other programs that may help you with your recycling.

Keep the fridge well ventilated

Ideally you should 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 fridge seals

Check and clean seals on your fridge to make sure the door closes securely. You can do this by putting a $5 note between the door and the fridge cabinet. Close the door. Try to gently pull the note out; if it slips out easily with no drag you may need to take a closer look to see if cool air is escaping. If so replace the seals. If there is some “drag” on the paper the seal is working.

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. Consider using a thermos, if you enjoy a lot of hot drinks, to save reheating the water.

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 your water.

Running a full load in the dishwasher can be more hygienic and save more energy and water than hand washing.

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 meals

In extreme weather the overuse of a range hood can significantly increase heating/cooling energy use as it sucks outdoor air into the house to replace the air it removes.

If possible, plan to cook several dishes in your oven at once to save energy.  Cook with lids on pots to minimise the amount of water “boiled off”, as evaporating water is very energy intensive.

Microwaves are cheaper to operate than ovens.  Cook meals in bulk and then freeze. Defrost food prior to cooking it by using a microwave or placing it in the fridge’s fresh food compartment.  Reheat meals in a microwave to save money and avoid using the oven every night.

Install tap aerators

Aerators can be fitted to taps to reduce water flow. They can be fitted inside or on the tap.

A note for renters: you will need your landlord’s permission for this change. See our Rent Smart Guide for information.

Choose energy and water efficient appliances

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.


Reach for the stars

When buying new appliances, whether for the kitchen, the laundry or the living room, look for the Energy Rating Label. The label gives the appliances a star rating between 1 and 10 stars. The greater the number of stars the higher the efficiency.

The Energy Rating Label scheme compares the energy consumption of electrical products and appliances to help you with your purchasing choices. The star ratings of all labelled products and appliances are also available on the Energy Rating website.

When comparing different appliances or equipment it’s important to look at comparative energy consumption, which is shown in kilowatt hours, rather than just the number of stars.

The Energy Rating App

Download the Energy Rating App to find the running costs of your household appliances anytime or anywhere, on an iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Android™ and Windows Phone.

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

In addition to their expertise in residential real estate, The Centre for Liveability Real Estate also works collaboratively with the sustainable design, construction, manufacturing and assessment and industries in the development of information on this site.

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