Fridges/Freezers are one of the few appliances that are on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days in a year. A few bits of know-how can help you keep the running costs low.

Make sure these aren’t over full or empty – either will make it work harder and therefore cost you more to run. Older fridge freezers can be high consumers of energy and responsible for driving your bills up. Think about changing particularly old models where possible (before e.g a washing machine which is used less of the time). There are some trust funds which can help those in financial difficulty access energy efficient white goods.

Top tips

  • Close the doors as quickly as possible when using the fridge freezer
  • Check the temperature is set right – too cold and you will waste energy, too warm and food may go off
  • Never put warm food in a fridge / freezer. It makes it work harder to cool down and pushes costs up.

What you can do

  • Check the fans at the back of the appliances to ensure they are dust free. This will stop them from over-heating and then working harder to keep cool.
  • Defrosting your freezer (if not a frost free model) will help the air circulate and therefore improve the efficiency. Some freezers are frost free and won’t need manual defrosting – check your handbook or look online for details of the model.
  • Look for energy ‘A+’ rated appliances when replacing old with new. Size will affect the rating too.
  • If you find that the door doesn’t close properly on a regular basis then replacing the door seals should be a relatively straightforward job if you can find the right seal for your appliance.


Eating is a daily occurrence so learning how to cook efficiently can save a large portion of your bill.

When buying or replacing cookers, think about how you use it. If it is sometimes for 2 people and at other times for 4 consider a double oven. Don’t forget to look for A rated appliances when replacing.

Top tips

  • Keep the right pan to the size of the ring so you don’t let heat escape into thin air.
  • Always use lids on pans to help things cook quicker and cost less.
  • Try cooking in batches and freezing down to maximise efficiency.

What you can do

  • Using pressure cookers and microwaves can be very efficient ways of cooking depending on the size.
  • Consider double ovens if you sometimes only cook a small amount and the small size can be used.
  • Steaming veg on top of pans can help make best use of the energy.


Collectively the UK wastes £68 million each year through overfilling the kettle alone. With a nation full of tea drinkers it’s easy to see how!

Filling the kettle when you have finished using it can allow time for the cold water to get to room temperature meaning less time is needed for boiling. The downside is you may not know how much water is needed for the next boil (you can always add but it may be wasted water)

Top tips

  • Only fill as much as you need (not right to the top)
  • Descale regularly if needed
  • Boiling a kettle to use for cooking is more efficient than boiling on the stove

What you can do

  • Look for efficiency ratings when buying new or replacing appliances, quick boil tends to be more efficient than a regular boil but it will depend on the wattage.
  • Keep excess hot water in a thermos flask or use a tea cosy.
  • Consider using excess boiled water for another purpose – such as into your washing up bowl.

Washing machine

Families find themselves doing a lot of washing. In trying to keep costs down there are two considerations both the electricity and the water.

Modern machines allow for better customisation of wash cycles, which means you can choose the most energy-efficient option for your needs. Some even have weight sensors for accurate loading, and to determine how much water and heat to use. If you mainly use low temperatures, it’s a good idea to run a hot wash once a month to keep the machine hygienic. Think about the type of clothes you buy; if you frequently do washes because you haven’t got enough clothes of a particular type, then it may make sense to invest in a few more. This applies not only to washing machines, but also to washer-dryers. They consume a lot of additional water in drying mode, as they use a continuous run of cold mains water to condense the warm vapour from the drying clothes.

Top tips

  • It’s cheaper to do one full load rather than 2 half loads
  • Use a high spin speed so clothes come out of the washing machine almost dry
  • Soak tough stains before washing, and rub collars with soap first to avoid washing twice

What you can do

  • Use cotton wash instead of synthetic wash. To avoid creasing, synthetic wash programmes use 50% more water than cotton washes.
  • Use a cold water or 30°C cycle where possible. It’s only for particularly dirty clothes, stains or underwear that you are likely to need warmer temperatures
  • Consider choosing standard lightweight bath towels and bedding to save on energy
  • When replacing appliances always look for ‘A’ rated energy-efficient washing machine, check the water icon on the energy efficiency label

Clothes drying

Washing clothes is only half the story – then they have to be dried. No easy feat with the great British weather! If you have little ones this is likely to be a daily occurrence or sometimes several times in a day. So getting this down to an art could shave lots off your bills.

Saving on the drying begins at the washing… try to plan it so that all items you would like to tumble dry are washed in the same load and dry similar fabrics together. If there isn’t space in the drier it may be a better bet to hang up those fabrics that dry quicker. Make sure the machine is full and if possible do all drying in one go. If there are extra damp items it’s better to wait until the end of a cycle and dry wet clothes together. Only dry clothes as much as necessary rather than making them very warm, some machines will continue spinning and therefore use more energy, so remove clothes from your dryer once they are dry.

Top tips

  • Spin washing on the highest speed before drying to remove the majority of moisture and it will then dry quicker
  • Hang your clothes outside to dry wherever possible, even if for part of the drying time
  • If you have to dry inside, use an airer and put it in the bathroom or kitchen. Close the door and open a window to prevent moisture spreading
  • If you do have to use a dryer we’ve put together some top tips for drying your clothes in a budget-friendly way

What you can do

  • When replacing old appliances with new, look out for ‘A’ energy rating – particularly with washers and dryers there are sensors to auto-dry rather than a timed cycle, it will stop as soon as it is dry.
  • Clean the fluff from the filters every time you use the dryer. To ensure it is most efficient check the outside vent for dust and debris regularly
  • If there is a second load, doing it straight after can take advantage of the heat that has already built up in the machine.
  • Fore more information on efficient ways to wash and dry clothes click here

Washing up

Washing up uses both energy and water – trying to keep clean can quickly become really wasteful, here are a few tips to avoid that.

Top tips

  • Try washing glasses first of all whilst the water is at its cleanest
  • Leave tougher items like cutlery to soak in the bowl whilst washing other items
  • Washing up before the food dries may not be possible every time but it takes less effort

What you can do

  • Scrape plates first of leftover food
  • Washing up in a bowl helps reduce wasted water
  • Leaving the tap running can also run up the cost of washing up
  • Use eco cycles on dishwashers if you have one – often more efficient than washing by hand!