As winter continues, we’re all likely to be spending a little more on our kitchen appliances – whether that’s through cooking more hot meals, tumble drying more clothes or drinking more warming cups of tea.
Following the pinch of Christmas, this extra spend can be far from ideal and leave you looking for ways to get the most out of your appliances for less. It’s estimated that you can save over £43 a year by using your kitchen appliances more carefully – so it’s well worth making some changes. Here are some of our top tips.
According to British Gas, gas ovens are one of the cheapest appliances to use. However, whether your oven is gas or electric, it’s important to make sure that you use it as efficiently as possible. Some good tips are:
- Cook as much as possible at once– reducing the overall energy used.
- Don’t open the door more than necessary – every time you open your oven door it loses heat, resulting in more energy being required to return it to the correct temperature. Try keeping the window clean, so that you can easily see how cooked food is.
- Prepare foods – par-boiling foods such as potatoes (the hob is more energy efficient) before placing them in the oven, will reduce the amount of time they take to cook. Cutting food up into smaller pieces, defrosting frozen food overnight and spearing joints of meat or potatoes with cooking skewers will also speed up the cooking time.
- Turn the electric oven off ten minutes before food is ready – as it will maintain the same temperature during this period.
- Use glass or ceramic dishes – as they are the most efficient way to cook in an oven and can reduce the required temperature.
- Select the fan assist option – as this means that you can set the oven at a lower temperature than the static cooking option.
There are a number of ways in which you can use your gas or electric hob more efficiently.
- Always put lids on pans – to keep more heat in.
- Choose the right sized pan for what you’re cooking – and place this on the right sized hob.
- Regularly clean the cooker – as dirty rings or burners may not heat up as efficiently.
- Turn down the ring or burner – once you have achieved the required temperature. It’s more efficient to cook in simmering water than boiling water.
- Choose copper-bottomed pans – as these will heat up faster than cast-iron pans.
- Use flat bottomed pans on electric hobs – as they will heat up faster.
Heating or re-heating food in the microwave uses a massive 80% less energy than a conventional oven. So it’s worth utilising the appliance as much as possible.
- Steam, braise or poach foods – as this can all be done in the microwave much faster than in the oven.
- Cook baked potatoes – as this will take around four minutes, compared to the hour or more they can take in the oven.
- Prepare food for the grill – by partially cooking them in the microwave first.
- Steam vegetables – such as broccoli, as this is much faster than boiling them. Simply lay them in a dish, cover in cling film and cook on full heat.
The Tumble Dryer
Wet, wintery weather makes it impossible to hang your clothes to dry outside. However, electric tumble dryers are one of the biggest culprits for guzzling energy.
- Regularly clean lint filters – as blocked filters will force the motor to work harder, using up more energy. If you have a vented dryer, it’s also worth checking the vent hose for lint build-up as well.
- Untangle clothes and bedding – as this can reduce the drying time.
- Don’t overload – as this will reduce efficiency and can cause damage to the machine.
- Sort laundry by fabric type – and use the suggested heat setting for each.
- Get rid of excess moisture – by putting clothes back on spin in the washing machine if they feel too damp.
The Washing Machine
Regular use of the washing machine is essential, whatever the weather. So using it more efficiently can make a big difference to your energy bills.
- Work out the correct cycle and water level for the wash– so that you’re not using more energy and water than you need.
- If possible, stick to cold water or a 30 degree cycle – you should only need warmer temperatures for particularly dirty clothes or stains.
- Deal with stains before placing in the machine - by soaking clothes and applying stain remover. This will prevent you having to run a wash twice because they didn’t come out.
- Only wash full loads – to save energy. Of course, if you completely run out of socks you might have to make an exception.
- Use a high spin speed where possible – as this will mean that clothes come out dryer and will take less time to tumble dry.
The fridge freezer is one of the most expensive appliances to run in your house. So how can you make sure it’s not costing you more than necessary?
- Vacuum the back of the fridge– lots of people forget to do this but it really does make a difference. The back of the fridge can get covered in dust and dirt, which then collects on the condenser coils, making it harder for them to remove heat.
- Replace the door seal – hold a thin piece of paper next to the closed fridge door and see if it flutter at all – if it does, the seal is allowing air to escape, which will make the appliance less efficient.
- Cover food – uncovered food releases moisture into the air, resulting in the compressor having to work twice as hard to remove it.
- Make sure food is cool – before you put it in the fridge. Waiting might be a pain, but if you don’t your fridge will have to work extra hard to cool things back down.
- Fill empty space with water – if your fridge is relatively empty, fill bottles or jugs with water and place them inside. This can help to keep things cold, meaning that your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard.
The kettle is an easy appliance to overlook, but lots of warming cups of tea could take their toll on your bank account.
- Boil only the water you need – according to Which, boiling a litre of water can use twice as much energy as boiling the minimal amount.
- Regularly descale – a kettle full in limescale will use more energy to boil the same amount of water.
For many of us the dishwasher has become an essential kitchen appliance, which we use on a daily basis. Consequently, they can have a noticeable impact on your electricity bill.
- Use an economy or eco programme – modern dishwashers should have an energy-efficiency setting, which uses less power to heat the water.
- Fill the dishwasher before use – washing a half empty dishwasher wastes energy.
- Load properly – don’t overload and place large items at the back or in side racks. Otherwise dishes may not be cleaned properly, which will result in you having to run the cycle again.
Repair Not Replace
It goes without saying that if you replace your kitchen appliances over the winter months it’s going to have a dramatic impact on your finances. Here at Ransom Spares we promote a ‘make and mend’ culture, as it’s often far more cost effective to repair a broken appliance than to throw it away.
As well as supplying the parts you need to fix your appliance, the Ransom Spares Advice Centre will show you how to do it – so there’s no need to feel daunted. Head to our ‘Kitchen Appliance Spares, Parts & Accessories’ page to browse our range of kitchen appliance spare parts.
Have you got any more tips on how to stop kitchen appliances draining your bank account? Let us know in the comments.
By Lee Gilbert