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Using Appliances

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Try these no-cost, low-cost tips to use your appliances wisely

The cost of operating appliances typically makes up 15% of your total energy bill. And since some of them run all the time, a closer look can really help you save.


Your dryer’s sensor cycles help you save

Use the sensor cycles on your dryer instead of timed dry cycles to save energy. This helps save energy and avoid over-drying.


What’s in your fridge or freezer?

An uncrowded fridge works more efficiently than a crowded one. Freezers work best when they are two-thir​ds full.

​​Do you need to preheat the oven?

While preheating the oven is required for baking, it’s not necessary for other uses like roasts or casseroles.​

  Appliances On Counter

Wait until the dishwasher is full

Running a half empty dishwasher uses the same amount of energy as a full one. Save more by using the no-heat drying option.

SEE ALSO: Hot Water Tips

Now that you know how to use appliances more efficiently, get more tips to save on hot water arrow

Appliances With Numbers

Time for new appliances?
Think of the second price tag.

Appliances are built to last. On average:

  • Freezers last 21 years
  • Stoves and clothes dryers last about 18 years
  • Refrigerators last about 17 years
  • Clothes washers last about 14
  • Dishwashers last 13 years

If you have appliances that are older than the average, consider replacing them with more efficient ones.

Refrigerator and freezer energy efficiency tips

  • Put refrigerators and freezers away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, the stove or the dishwasher.
  • The best temperature to set the refrigerator section is about 3°C (37°F). The freezer should be about -18°C (0°F).
  • Check your refrigerator’s door seal by closing the door on a $5 bill. If it’s held tightly in place, the seal’s OK. If not, the door should be adjusted or the seal replaced.
  • If you require a stand-alone freezer, consider chest freezers as they are more efficient than upright ones.

Energy-efficient laundering

  • Avoid partial loads, but don’t overload. Organize your laundry so that you’re doing full loads.
  • Read the manuals that come with your washer and dryer. Learn how to use the features to your best advantage.
  • When it is time to purchase a new washer, consider a front-loading model. They use less water and, due to high-speed spinning, reduce drying time.
  • Never vent your dryer indoors. It can be very dangerous due to moisture, fibres and chemicals in the dryer exhaust.
  • Clean the filter between every load. A clogged filter can damage your dryer, reduce its efficiency, and become a fire hazard.

Use your dishwasher’s controls to save

  • Use the short cycle or econo-wash mode if possible.
  • If there’s an energy-efficient switch that turns off the heating element during the drying cycle, use it.
  • Run your dishwasher only when full.

Cook up some savings

  • When appropriate, use the broiler. It saves energy and requires no preheating.
  • For cooking small quantities, consider using the microwave, toaster oven or slow cooker. You can save up to 50 per cent of your cooking energy costs by using a microwave oven.
  • Self-cleaning ovens generally have upgraded insulation. Because of this, they tend to be more energy efficient.
  • Use pots that properly match the stovetop’s elements in size.
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Time-of-Use Tips

The cost of electricity over time can be more than the cost of the appliance itself. Be sure to read the EnerGuide label and plan when you use your appliances.

With Time-of-Use rates, weekdays are broken into three rates: on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak. All weekends and statutory holidays are at off-peak rates.

You can manage your electricity bill by time-shifting activities to off-peak hours. Be sure to pay special attention to appliances that use the most electricity.

Use appliances (washer, dryer and dishwasher) after 7:00 p.m. or other off-peak hours.

If your appliances have timers, set them to run during off-peak hours.

Tips Footer

Shopping for a new appliance? Consider the second price tag.

The cost of electricity over time can be more than the cost of the appliance itself. Be sure to read the EnerGuide label and plan when you use your appliances.

Shopping Tips

Let the EnerGuide label help you decide

All new major appliances carry an EnerGuide label to show that appliance’s energy consumption and a CSA label to indicate that it meets safety standards. EnerGuide labels tell you how many kWh of energy you can expect that model to use each year.


This number is the expected annual energy consumption of the appliance in kilowatt hours. The lower the number, the higher the savings.


The energy consumption indicator shows you how this model compares to others in its class. The bar below the indicator gives the energy-efficiency range for the class. The further the indicator is to the left end of the scale, the better.


This bar shows you the energy consumption of the most and least efficient appliances in this class. In this case, the most efficient comparable model consumes 136 kWh per year while the least efficient uses 1,032 kWh per year.


The 10-second EnerGuide comparison

Here’s how to be a smarter appliance shopper in 10 seconds. First make sure you’re comparing models in the same class. Next, check the kWh number. Lower is better. Lastly, make sure the indicator is as far left as possible. That’s it.


Look for the ENERGY STAR® for highest efficiency

The ENERGY STAR® program identifies the most energy-efficient appliances on the market.

ENERGY STAR®-qualified:

  • Clothes washers use 35 to 50 per cent less water and 50 per cent less energy than the average clothes washer.
  • Dishwashers can be almost 50 per cent more efficient than a standard dishwasher.
  • Refrigerators and freezers exceed minimum federal energy-efficiency standards by at least 10 per cent.
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