UK householders are being urged to embrace a little knowledge to make simple changes to the way they use their home appliances to save money and benefit the environment.
The advice from AMDEA comes amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, and with a typical dual-fuel household bill set to be just under £2,000 for the next three months.
As the clocks go back and nights draw in, AMDEA’s award-winning Know Watt’s What campaign is explaining how people are short-changing themselves by hundreds of pounds by sticking to old domestic routines.
By adopting small changes in their habits, however, householders can save money while also fulfilling their aspiration to contribute to net zero and reduce their carbon footprint.
For example, £80 can be saved each year by always washing clothes and dishes on the eco-cycle, while £60 can be saved by cooking food in the microwave rather than the oven.
Taken together, this conserves almost enough electricity to power a washing machine on eco-mode for two whole years. Other small maintenance tasks, such as descaling the kettle, can help maintain efficiency and extend appliance lifespan.
A new YouGov survey underlined that people are keen to save energy to help achieve net xero and reduce their carbon footprint, with more than two thirds (68%) saying they would this even if energy prices went down.
However, the survey found that two fifths (40%) had made no changes to the way they used their appliances to save money since September last year, when electricity prices hit an all-time high.
Even though adopting ways to save money and energy in the use of home appliances was found to be successful, according to 57% who did make changes. Only 53% of respondents who made changes over the past year had used the eco-setting on their washing machine, and 32% on their dishwasher.
As regards a little TLC to keep their appliances ticking over efficiently, 24% of UK adults said they never ran a service wash on their washing machine, 18% never cleaned its filter, 20% never descaled their appliances that come into contact with water and 17% never defrosted the fridge and cleaned the door seals.
The new campaign from AMDEA follows the recommendations of an in-home study conducted in seven homes over three months by the UKRI CE-Hub, University of Exeter Business School.
The study found that explaining why behaviour changes resulted in savings prompted participants to adopt an average of 22 distinct habits once they understood why the changes made a difference.
AMDEA’s Know Watt’s What website advocates four routes to save money:
- Use to save – use installed tech, such as eco-mode on washing appliances or smaller cooking appliances such as microwaves to cook smaller quantities.
- Maintain to save – look after machines to prolong efficient performance and lifespan.
- Repair to save – consider repairs before replacement.
- Replace to save – replace wisely by buying appliances that are the highest affordable on the rating scale and consider replacing fridges and freezers over 15 years old.
Professor Fiona Charnley, Professor of Circular Innovation and Co-Director, Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy, University of Exeter, said: “Our research shows that people often stick to the same behaviours and are unclear of how they can make a difference.
“The study gave participants the chance to learn about small changes they can make to their daily routines and the impact they can have on extending the life of their appliances and reducing their household bills. We found that once they were provided with the evidence, they were quick to change their behaviour.”
AMDEA CEO, Paul Hide, added: “Many people don’t really treat their appliances as they might. Once fitted, the appliances are often forgotten about, regarded as self-supporting. But they are machines that benefit from small acts of care. So, by thinking about how appliances are used and giving them a little attention, households can save themselves money by using less energy and extending the lifespan of valuable assets.
“Why not stick a note on a washing machine to always use eco-mode or have a quarterly descale schedule? These are not grand life changes: a minimal effort can save a lot – and help the environment.”
Possible cash savings include:
- £600 on replacement appliances by cleaning lime-scale from washing and coffee machines, kettles and irons
- Limescale builds up on heating elements, reduces efficiency, and, ultimately the appliance’s lifespan
- £100s with prompt repairs
- Pay heed to your appliances – ignoring a knock or a rattle from your machine can develop into a bigger more costly problem
- £100 in running a heat pump dryer instead of a condenser tumbler
- Heat pump technology can reduce drying costs by a third or more
- £40 by choosing ‘C’ over ‘F’ rating when replacing a fridge
- Fridges with higher ratings use less electricity every year of their lives
- £70 a year replacing a 15-year-old fridge freezer
- Modern fridges are far more energy efficient than old ones
Further useful information on AMDEA’s Know Watt’s What includes:
- Why eco cycles are able to use less energy than other washing cycles.
- Why heat pump tumble dryers are the most energy efficient.
- An easy-to-use directory of genuine spares and expert repairs for over 60 leading brands .
- A savings calculator to help those buying new appliances to evaluate the savings attainable by buying best in class.