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Day 27

Today we’re going to talk about appliances. Do you know how much power you use? Do you know how much you could save?

Remember how you dutifully scrubbed out your fridge way back in week 1? It’s time to do a secondary inspection, but this time we’re looking at seals. Cracked seals can cause your fridge to leak cold air, which reduces its energy efficiency. I know this because I am living with a noisy motor that is crying out to be cooled! If I weren’t doing zero waste, I would probably assume I just had to replace the fridge. Not so! The seal can be removed and replaced and your fridge will be pacified because it will stop sucking up energy trying to frantically cool itself. Other signs to look for/ways to care for your fridge? I’ve got you covered – check the 9 tips listed here: http://www.momentumenergy.com.au/habitat/at-home/fridge-energy-efficiency-tips/

How about a washing machine? It depends how much you fill it – but don’t overfill! For me, I’ve noticed that since I’ve decluttered my wardrobe, I now have to wash fairly small loads because I end up running out of clean clothes. What I could do is wash the items I really need by hand while I wait for the load to fill up. If I did that, I think I could double the amount of time I went without having to use the washing machine. And when I do use it, it’s always on cold to save power (and to save my clothes from shrinking!).

One oft quoted fact is that a dishwasher uses less water than washing up by hand. Again, it really depends on how many dishes you wash in one load. If you wait to use your dishwater at full capacity, then it may be just as efficient. However, if you just put a few items in, or don’t bother to do a preliminary rinse of a food caked item, thus necessitating another round in the dishwasher to clear it of crusty food, then a simple hand wash will be quicker and use less water.

There are also some items that you don’t need to wash repeatedly if you’re going to keep using them for the same purpose. A bread or cake knife doesn’t need to be washed every time you slice yourself a new piece of bread and/or cake. You can just keep it in the bag or in the fridge beside your item. Why waste resources and time on chores if you really don’t need to? Less time for washing up, more time for having your cake and eating it, too!

Finally, the dryer. It’s winter, and a lot of people instantly switch to a dryer and don’t look back until summer. Is that necessary? Considering that a dryer uses as much energy as your washing machine, dishwasher and fridge combined, you may want to rethink this approach. If the sun is shining, make use of it – just get your clothes back in before sundown or else they’ll get damp. If your house is heated, then hanging your clothes out to dry inside will have the same effect. Do you really need your clothes dry in 25 minutes? Just because a dryer is preprogrammed for a certain amount of minutes doesn’t mean that’s as long as you really need. Try reducing the time by a third and just see what happens. I recently took my clothes to a laundromat, put them in for a 10 minute cycle and came back an hour later, only to find they were dried to a crisp! Just being in a hot dryer meant they absorbed the heat without the energy cost. Experiment and see what happens!