A kitchen clean-up that could save you money

Origin’s Energy Expert, Anne Armansin, says “Instead of getting rid of existing appliances and breaking the bank with upgrades, review the appliances that aren’t performing as well as they should be and perhaps you can save on your cash and energy consumption.”

“Most major appliances are expected to be operational for at least ten years, with some well- designed and maintained units still performing for up to 20 years. There are some really simple things householders can do to ensure appliances are operating efficiently— it’s just a matter of taking a few simple steps to care for your equipment.”

Food for thought when it comes to the fridge

 “Fridges and freezers are the biggest energy users in most kitchens. The cost of excess energy used by faulty refrigerators can really add up,” says Anne.

So here’s what to do:

Test the seals

Faulty door seals can allow cold air to escape, making your fridge work too hard. Test the seals by placing a piece of paper between the door and the seal and then pulling on the paper. If it moves easily you might need to replace the seals. 

Check the thermostat

Be sure to maintain the temperature between 2oC and 5oC in the fridge, and between -15oC and -18oC in the freezer.

Listen out

Manufacturers advise that refrigeration compressor units should only cycle about 30 percent of the day, so if you have a fridge that sounds like it’s continually running it’s time for a health check.

Don’t let it build

A build-up of ice in your freezer of more than 6 mm can act as an insulator, hindering the cooling process. Be sure to check this regularly and defrost if necessary. 

Get the right size

Fridges and freezers operate at peak efficiency when they’re full, so make sure you choose the right size fridge for your needs. 

Avoid the dreaded ‘dish duty’

Dishwashersare considered essential in many homes these days. Not only are they cheaper to use once a day, than washing up by hand three times a day, , dishwashers generally clean each load more efficiently. 

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your dishwasher:

  • Choose the right setting: dishwashers offer several programs and their energy rating labels are based on a ‘normal program’ with low wash temperatures usually between 40˚C and 50˚C. Energy costs are around 20 and 30 cents a load depending on your machine.1 Greasy and more heavily soiled items can be cleaned using a ‘pots and pans’ or ‘heavy cycle’ setting. These more intensive programs often heat the water to anywhere between 55˚C and 75˚C and have more rinse cycles, with an energy cost per load between about 45 and 60 cents.2 So make sure you’re using the right setting for your dishes to save costs.
  • Wait till its full: when possible, run your dishwasher at full capacity. If it takes days to fill up, use the rinse cycle at least once a day, which costs less than about two cents for most models.3
  • Use cold water: connect your dishwasher to cold water; it’s cheaper and more effective than using hot water. 
  • Ensure regular maintenance: make sure the filters are clean and free of any obstructions and check the hoses and tap fittings for wear and tear, making sure any cracked ones are replaced before they fail.

Be a clever cook!

Whether baking up a storm or simply preparing the family dinner, smart use of these appliances will help you to save energy:

Multiply your baking

If you’re using a fan forced oven, minimise energy use by cooking on multiple levels simultaneously: that’s your vegetables, roast, and apple crumble all in one!

Cover the hotplates

Be sure pots and pans completely cover hotplates to avoid wasting energy.

Use lids

It’s best to cook with lids on pots and pans. You’ll achieve better cooking results, including less evaporation, and you’ll reduce steam and cooking smells in the kitchen.

Switch it off

If using a microwave, turn it off at the wall when not in use to save on standby power. 

Don’t over do pre-heating

Preheat your oven for no longer than 20 minutes.

Retain the heat

Try to keep the oven door completely closed until food is cooked. Every time you open the door, the oven temperature drops by about 14°C to 20°C.

Life is busy and sometimes it might be easier to just replace something instead of investing in repairs, but taking the time to give your kitchen a good once-over could really save you energy and money in the long run.

Next time you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, take a second and see what savings you could make.


  1. Variations between machine type (front load, top load) and load capacity of machines listed as available from The Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Industry and Science), Energy Rating, viewed September 2015.
  2. Comparison of available data from the following machines:  Asko D5424Wh, Bosch SMS40M12AU, Miele G 4220 BRW, Dishlex DX301SK.
  3. Comparison of available data from the following machines:  Asko D5424Wh, Bosch SMS40M12AU, Miele G 4220 BRW, Dishlex DX301SK.

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