How buying the right appliances can save you hundreds

With appliances in the average Aussie household equating to around 33% of your total energy bill we asked Julie Moore, Co-founder & Director of Save Energy Save Money, to share her top tips for keeping your running costs down on two of the households biggest energy guzzlers the refrigerator and the washing machine. 

Did you know old appliances if not properly maintained could end up doubling the appliances running cost on your energy bills?

Let’s look at refrigeration in your home, these appliances run 24/7, therefore it’s important to buy the right one for your needs. Before you even think about how many stars an appliance needs, you first have to determine what size. Here is a guide for you to follow for fridge freezers:

Family size Fridge Freezer Size
1-2 200-400 litres
3-4 400-550 litres
5+ 450 litres +

Larger style fridges look very stylish in your home, however if you live alone and the fridge is going to sit empty most of the time you’re simply wasting energy. An empty fridge uses more energy to keep the contents at the right temperature than a full fridge. Look at the below example from the Save Energy, Save Money Website:

You can see in the above example that buying a fridge too big for your needs can cost you $114.21 extra on your annual energy bills.

The reverse is also true, buying a fridge too small for your family’s needs means you may need to throw out food or end up buying a second fridge. The below example shows you the energy cost of running 2 fridges opposed to buying one of the correct size:

Running 2 fridges will cost you $178.47, in comparison to the below example where one Fridge Freezer of the right size can save you $88.02 on your annual energy bills, not to mention reducing the cost of purchasing the fridges by $245.

Once you have established the size of fridge you want to buy you would then want to consider the number of energy stars you need, as a rule the more stars the more energy efficient the fridge would be. The below example demonstrates how much you can save on your energy bills, the difference between Fridge 1 and 3 is one star and equates to around $20 a year on your energy bills.

Washing machines

Let’s now look at washing machines, in most households they are used every few days, add kids into the mix and you’ll be using them every day, so shop smart. Buying the right size is important, too small and you’ll be wasting energy doing 2 or 3 loads a day, too big and you’ll be running your machine on a half load which is another energy waster.

Here is a rough guide of what size you should be looking to buy:

Drum Size Family Size
5Kg 1 - 2
5Kg -8Kg 3 - 4
8Kg+ 4 +

Think about the types of loads you wash, if you find yourself washing a lot of half loads buy a machine that has a half load function, saving you on water and energy. Timer switches are great, you can set the machine to come on during your off peak electricity tariff saving you further on your energy bills.

In the below example you can see the more stars a washing machine has the cheaper the annual running cost. Buying a machine with 4 stars instead of 3 stars would save you $30.78 on your annual bill. Let’s look at the life time cost of machine 1 and Machine 3, given the average life span of a washing machine is around 8 years.

Cost of appliance + (annual running cost x 8) = Life time cost of appliance

Machine 1 $645 + $604.80 = $1249.80
Machine 3 $509 + $851.04 = $1360.04

The least energy efficient machine would cost you an extra $110.24 over its estimated lifetime even though it was $136 cheaper to purchase. 

In summary, before you buy an appliance check which size you need for your family, review what functions you need to ensure it can meet your family’s needs, and finally review the efficiency of the appliance, this would usually be represented in the form of stars. Keep in mind there may be a higher upfront cost to buy a more energy efficient appliance, however think of the savings on your energy bills for years to come.

About Julie Moore

Julie Moore is Co-founder & Director of Save Energy Save Money, Australia’s first energy and price comparison website. With over 10 years’ exper ience in the corporate world Julie ensures Save Energy Save Money provides you with the energy information you need to make informed decisions. Helping to contribute to a more sustainable Australia. You can read more of her work at the Save Energy Save Money blog.


Compare Energy

Find energy plans available in your area in just seconds.