• Sharon Walker

20 Ways to Be More Green with Your Home Appliances

In previous article we showed 19 ways to be more green in your kitchen.

This article will lay out 20 ways to be more sustainable with your home appliances, thereby saving energy and money.

oven, appliances

1. Dishwashing can be water efficient

Use your dishwasher! This is one appliance that actually uses less energy than the manual alternative.

Dishwashers are efficient devices. They use less water than someone standing over a sink usually does, and they usually clean dishes better too.

There are a few things to keep in mind though:

  • Always use the dishwasher with a full load (but not overloaded). That way it works at its most efficient level and provides the greatest savings.

  • Don't rinse off food waste; scrape it off to save on water.

  • Set the dishwasher to the lowest heat level you safely can. Check the manual for this.

  • Don't use the automatic air dry function. Simply let the dishes air dry naturally. It takes a little longer, but costs nothing!

  • Don't use the rinse function on your dishwasher. It can use up to seven gallons of hot water! You normally don't need it.

  • Buy an Energy Star Rated dishwasher if you don't already have one. You can save 33% off your old dishwasher bill. An Energy Star Rated dish washer uses at least 40% less energy than an old dishwasher will.

2. Reset your water heater to 120 degrees

Your water heater is probably set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can reset it lower to 120 degrees and still have all the benefits.

However, your water heating costs will drop by up to 10% and the environment will benefit from lower energy consumption.

3. Consider a tankless water heater

You could consider the benefits of installing a tankless water heater. Tank based water heating systems suffer from standby heat loss.

This is due to the fact that your water tank needs to have hot water in it at all times, but most of the time it simply waits for you to need it.

When you don't need hot water, the system cycles between heating the water and waiting for it to cool to the level where it needs reheating again.

When you do use hot water in any quantity, cold water flows back into the tank to keep it full. This has the effect of actually lowering the temperature of the water, requiring even more energy to heat it up again!

A tankless water heater simply heats the water on demand. Water pipes are heated directly when the hot water tap is turned on and the water keeps being heated until it is switched off.

This is extremely efficient and minimizes waste, saving you money and minimizing the negative impact on the environment at the same time!

A tankless water heater will cost a bit more to install, but you will make your money back within a year or so. After that you can expect to save up to 50% on all your water heating bills every year.

4. Insulate your water heater

Insulate your water heater tank with an insulating blanket if you still use that system. You can save half a ton of carbon dioxide emissions escaping every year by simply doing this. You'll save money big time too.

Don't stop with the tank though, insulate the pipes leaving the tank as well. Usually the hot water has to heat the cold pipes before it is able to provide hot water at the sink faucet, which may be some distance from the tank.

The better insulated the whole system is, the more you save both in cash and reduced CO 2 emissions.

5. Use cold water detergent

Your washing machine puts 90% of its energy consumption into heating up the water. You can save considerably on this by using a cold water detergent and switching to a cold, or at best, warm water setting.

If all washing machines in the country ran on cold water, clothes would get just as clean as they do now, and we'd save 1% on CO2 emissions nationally as some 30 million tons of CO 2 would no longer be poured into the atmosphere.

Makes sense, doesn't it?

You may be able to get discounted rates if you run your washing machine and other appliances during off peak hours, typically during the night. Check with the utility company for this.

6. Stop using fabric softener

Stop using fabric softener in your washing machine. You don't need it, but there's a more compelling argument against it: fabric softeners contain damaging toxins that will be released into the environment.

There are ecofriendly softeners available that will soften, but do not contain toxins. Use them instead if you still feel the need for softening your clothes.

7. Stop using a dryer!

Don't use a dryer! These are the greatest energy guzzling appliances there are. Your grandmother used a clothes line and air dried her clothes.

The amazing fact about this method is that it works! And it's free! And it doesn't hurt the environment not one single drop of CO2 or any other greenhouse gas escapes from clothes freely drying on a line!

Imagine that...

However, if you MUST use a dryer you can lessen the negative impact by taking a few simple common sense measures:

  • Use a large super absorbent towel in the drier. This will cut down the drying time by up to 10%, saving money and energy.

  • Keep the lint filter super clean. Check it after every drying cycle.

  • Make use of the cool down cycle. This lets the clothes finish off drying with the residual heat in the drier as it cools down.

  • Check the drier vent regularly and clean it out if necessary. Keeping your drier in tip top condition will lessen its negative impact on the environment and cost you less. Though it will always be better to stop using the drier altogether.

8. Check your fridge settings

Your refrigerator should not be kept too cold. This appliance is for keeping food cool and it should do this at a temperature of between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many refrigerators have a freezer compartment too. This should be kept at 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

To check these temperatures you will need a good thermometer. Place it in a glass of water in the middle of the fresh food storage area of your fridge and leave it for 24 hours.

If it reads outside of 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, adjust the setting and check again until you get it just right.

You can check the freezer compartment of your refrigerator by placing a thermometer between two frozen packages. Packs of frozen peas are ideal for this.

9. Deforest regularly

Defrost your refrigerator on a regular basis. I've seen fridges with two inches of solid ice at the back of the freezer compartment. Do you have any idea how much extra energy is wasted by this?

Ice build up in a fridge should never exceed one quarter of an inch, and even that is too much. You'll save a surprising amount of money by keeping ice build up down, and you'll use less energy too.

10. Check your fridge seal

Is your refrigerator door seal working properly?

You can test it with a one dollar bill, or even a hundred dollar bill if you prefer. It's not the value, but the paper that makes the test effective.

Open your fridge door and close it again on the dollar bill. With the bill half in and half out of the fridge, try gently pulling the bill free of the door. If you can do this easily, you may need to reseal the door.

If there is a fair lot of resistance, then the seal should be fine.

11. Always cover food/liquids in your fridge

Never leave food or liquids uncovered in the fridge. Apart from a burning effect a fridge may have on uncovered foods, they may also release moisture.

This will have the effect of making the compressor work harder, using more energy and costing you more.

12. Turn off appliances!

Most of your appliances can become vampires, sucking the power from sockets even when switched off.

This is especially true when an appliance is placed in standby, such as with a TV. Don't be lazy; get up off your backside and actually switch off the TV at the set! Then unplug it from the socket when you have finished watching it for the evening.

You should do this with every appliance you have, regardless of what the manual may tell you. How long can it take to plug in and switch back on again anyway? It's easy and quick to do.

According to CNN, while each appliance, TV, VCR, DVD, computer, printer, blender, etc, etc, may only drain a very small amount, all together they can account for up to 5% of your electricity bill.

That's $5 for every $100 you pay. It adds up! So, unplug every time, or invest in a power strip that can be completely switched off.

This is the easiest way to do it, and the laziest too. But it will save you money, and help the environment too.

13. Lower your heating just a bit

I'll bet you have the heating turned up in winter higher than you need it to be. Try lowering the thermostat just one degree. You won't notice the slightest difference. Believe me. But you will notice a difference on your electricity bill.

Lower it two degrees. You'll still be warm. Say you start off at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, a common room temperature, and you lower it to 70 degrees. That's still comfortable, very comfortable!

I'm willing to bet you could survive in a room temperature of a mere 68 degrees. Try it for a few days and see. You'll save a lot of money over the winter, and you'll help the environment too.

14. Use air conditioning smartly

It gets hot in summer. Americans especially have so conditioned their lives that they virtually live from air conditioned room to air conditioned room.

We leave the air conditioned house, step into the sir conditioned car, drive down to the air conditioned mall and shop for whatever we want probably an air conditioning unit or two...

Try turning the temperature control up on your air conditioning unit this summer. Think of it this way. If the outside temperature is a quite hot 90 degrees, then an indoors temperature of 85 degrees will feel relatively cool.

You don't need to have your house every single room set to 70 degrees in summer. It will still fee l cooler at a much higher temperature.

Try slowing increasing the temperature a degree at a time until it feels uncomfortable, then set it down a degree or so and leave it at that.

You'll be amazed at how much heat you can comfortably stand, and how much you save too. Try it!

15. Save water while showering

You can save water in your shower in several ways. The obvious one is to take shorter showers, but by fitting low flow attachments to your shower, you can save an amazing amount of water, saving money and energy into the bargain.

You want figures? OK, a low flow shower head will save around 3,000 gallons of water for each person every year. That's a lot!

Remember, you can (and should) fit low flow attachments to all your sink taps. You can fit a low flow toilet too. This will save even more water for you and your family.

16. Change your light bulbs

Change your lighting. You may not think of your house lights as appliances, but they are. If you use incandescent bulbs, the old standard light bulbs, then you will benefit all roun d from changing to CFL bulbs, or compact fluorescent light bulbs.

They use around 75% less energy and will last around 10 times longer.

They also produce 60% less heat, most of the energy they use goes into producing light.

That might seem obvious. I mean, that's what a light bulb is designed to do. Well, the older incandescent light bulbs produce more heat than they produce light.

That's a measure of their

inefficiency, so change to CFL bulbs and save on everything.

You should also check out the newer LED lights. You may not find them entirely suitable as main house lights, though many people do.

But the good news is that LED's are even more efficient and cost even less to use than the highly efficient CFL light bulbs.

17. Prevent leakages

Your entire water system can be costing you money if there are leaks. A single steady drip can account for up to 250 gallons a month!

That's 3,000 gallons a year, and you will be charged for it water you didn't use or even see.

Check your toilet system for leaks by adding a few drops of bright food coloring to the toilet water tank. Don't flush for at least 30 minutes and see if the color appears in the toilet bowl.

If it does, then you have a leak and it will need to be repaired. If the color doesn't appear within 30 minutes, then everything is fine.

However, you'd better flush the food coloring away or the next person to use the toilet may wonder what's going on.

18. Save water in the toilet

If you don't have a low flow toilet, then you can improvise by filling a half gallon plastic bottle with water, securing the cap on firmly, and placing it in the toilet water tank.

This can reduce the toilet flush by up to 40%, but still leave enough water to flush everything away efficiently.

19. Use machines when it's cool

In summer, use the dishwasher, washing machine and any other large appliances in the morning or later afternoon when it's cooler.

These appliances give off heat, which will only make your air conditioner work harder if you use them at the height of the day.

Conversely, in winter you should use them at the cooler times of the day to help heat up the house and take some of the burden off the heaters!

20. Stop using a hair dryer

Don't use a hair dryer! This appliance is among the top three of power guzzling appliances. Besides, it's better for your hair to be gently dried with a soft towel before being left to air dry.

What's that? You don't have time to wait for your hair to air dry?

Of course you do! Make time. You are saving money and helping the environment here. Make time.


This article discussed 20 ways to be more sustainable and save energy with your home appliances. From reducing energy to saving water, there are many ways to be more sustainable at home.

Let us know which ones you are using in the comment section below!

#sustainability #savetheplanet #greenliving