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How to use your appliances more efficiently

By Rachel England Wednesday 15 May 2013

It’s no secret that upgrading to newer, more energy-efficient appliances can save you a tidy sum on your energy bills, not to mention drastically reduce your carbon footprint. But time, space and financial constraints often mean that simply refitting and replacing isn’t practical. Instead, take steps to do the best with what you already have. Here are our top tips for using your appliances more efficiently, whether they’re brand new or on their last legs.

Fridges and freezers

Fridges and freezers

  • Set your fridge to 3-4°c and your freezer to between -15°c and -18°c. Every degree lower than this uses up to 5% more energy
  • Keep your fridge away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat, such as ovens and radiators
  • Allow food to cool before putting it in the fridge. This stops the appliance from having to work harder to keep the interior cool (but don’t let food sit at room temperature for too long!)
  • Make sure there’s at least 7.5cm of space around your fridge. Restricting ventilation can jack up running costs by as much as 15%
  • Keep your freezer well-stocked. Food and packages catch and store cold air, reducing the workload of the freezer



Dishwashers already consume less energy than washing the same number of items by hand, but there are additional ways to keep costs and energy use down:

  • Avoid pre-rinsing dishes in hot water – scrape leftovers into the bin instead, or use the rinse cycle until it’s time to properly clean a full load
  • Use the shortest, coolest cycle if there’s no ‘eco option’ available
  • Only run your dishwasher once it’s full, but be careful not to overload the machine, as this may mean dishes aren’t cleaned thoroughly and you’ll just have to use more energy to get them sparkling!

Washing machines

Washing machines

  • Wash clothes at the lowest temperature possible – most good quality detergents will clean thoroughly at 30°c
  • That said, some claim that dissolving powder detergent before you add it to the washing machine will help improve its performance in cold water
  • Try to wash full loads where possible, but make sure to adjust the water level if you do have to run a smaller load

Tumble dryers

Tumble dryers

  • Spin clothes well before drying them. An extra spin in the washing machine will use less power than the additional time a dryer would require to get clothes dry
  • Don’t mix heavy clothes with lighter items, as this will increase the time needed to get everything dry
  • Don’t overload! More clothes mean longer drying cycles, which means way more energy consumption
  • Clean the dryer’s lint after each cycle and keep the area around it well-ventilated for optimum running efficiency
  • If your dryer has an auto sensor function – to detect when clothes really are dry – then use it! Otherwise, try setting the timer for 10 minutes less than usual to see if you’ve been overrunning your machine

Cookers and ovens

Cookers and ovens

  • Cook with a toaster oven or microwave where possible, as these appliances use less energy than an oven
  • Turn down stove heat after food reaches a boil – a faster boil won’t cook food any quicker!
  • Plan meals so that several items can cook at the same time – this might mean a bit of time/temperature mathematics, though!
  • If your oven has a self-cleaning cycle, only use it for major cleaning jobs when the oven is already hot. Otherwise, elbow grease will do the job nicely

O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

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1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 06/06/2017, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 06/06/2017, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings claims: Saving based on the estimated annual cost of OVO Two year fixed tariff for a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying monthly in advance by direct debit, including online discount. Comparisons made against the average of the Big 6 standard variable tariffs with equivalent features. All rates correct as of 04/10/2017.“The Big 6” are British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, Npower, E.ON and EDF.

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year for customers paying by advance direct debit.  The OVO Interest Reward is paid monthly based on   number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill,  and the credit balance on which you can earn the OVO Interest Reward is capped. Terms apply:

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Savings based on the average estimated annual costs for all new OVO customers quoted through the OVO website, compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/05/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT.

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.

uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year: OVO energy was voted and awarded  'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.

Which?: Achieved the highest score of 78% in the Which? Satisfaction Survey conducted in September and October 2016.

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