Don’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. It costs on average $300 a year to run a fridge, which is equivant to 6 cartons of beer.
Recycling unused fridges or freezers is a great way to dispose of the appliance safely and correctly. You might also earn some rewards from doing it too! Check is there is a buyback program available in your area. Currently, Fridge Buyback is available in NSW and ACT.
If there isn’t a buy back program available, check with your local council about the best way to recycle unused whitegoods.
See our list of current energy rebates for other programs that may help you with your recycling.
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 piece of paper between the door and the fridge cabinet. Close the door. Try to gently pull the paper out; if it slips out easily with no drag on the paper 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. Regularly remove any frost build-up in the freezer.
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. For more research and background on this topic, see our Mythbusting post and video.
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 in a toaster instead of under the grill reduces energy use by up to 75%.
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.
- iPhone users – download the app from The App Store
- Android users – download the app from Google Play
- BlackBerry users – download the app from BlackBerry World
- Windows Phone users – access the web app