With the cost of living crisis only getting tougher for many households, people could be looking for any means of cutting down expenses or saving, even if it’s a small amount.
These smaller savings can help combat the rise in costs elsewhere, such as the council tax rises, water bill surges and other bill increases that came into effect this April.
Some people might have cancelled gym memberships or stopped subscriptions to streaming sites like Netflix and Disney Plus, but are there ways you can keep your small luxuries and save?
Could switching your appliances to eco settings and power saving modes make a difference?
Does eco mode help save money on energy bills?
Most household appliances nowadays come with an eco mode – a setting we are told is better for the environment and more efficient on energy usage.
Some of this tracks with research and findings from various companies, such as Which?
The consumer magazine found that running your washing machine at 30°C uses 38% less energy than washing at 40°C.
And 38% less energy per wash could add up throughout the month.
Which? also suggest lower temperatures are good at helping to preserve colourful fabrics – so you might end up buying fewer clothes, potentially saving there, too.
Uswitch energy expert Ben Gallizzi tells Metro.co.uk that washing machines and dishwashers on eco settings can make a difference to bills.
He says: ‘Using a washing machine’s energy-saving mode can cut around £37 a year from household bills, while using an eco setting on a dishwasher can trim yearly running costs by about £28.
‘Eco settings on washing machines and dishwashers work by heating the water to a lower temperature, which uses less energy. This means washing cycles can take longer to ensure the appliances leave clothes and dishes clean.’
However, Ben also shares that you may want to think about when you switch to eco mode – perhaps opting against it if you’re washing out a particularly pesky stain or especially greasy dishes.
He notes: ‘If you have stained clothes, or dishes with a lot of caked-on grease, you may be better off using normal settings on your appliances, otherwise you may have to run them twice.’
It’s a similar situation for tumble dryers – Ben says this is the appliance that is most likely to save you money by switching to an eco setting, but it also requires some thought.
He explains: ‘Tumble dryers are one of the most energy-intensive appliances in our homes, but by using an eco setting, households could save around £53 a year.
‘Make sure you don’t overfill the drum when using a tumble dryer’s eco mode, as clothes are more likely to come out damp when the hot air does not have enough space to circulate.’
Again, this could result in you needing to run the cycle again, which negates the point of using eco mode.
It may be worth checking if your tumble dryer has a heat pump, as Uswitch’s expert says they may be the most effective on eco mode.
Ben adds: ‘Tumble dryers that contain a heat pump are the most likely to thoroughly dry your clothes while on an eco setting because they reheat air that is already hot from passing through the drum.’
So, we’ve discussed washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers, but do any other appliances have cost-cutting eco modes?
Well, if you’re going away on holiday or will be away from home for longer periods of time, an eco setting on your fridge and/or freezer is something to consider.
This Is Money reports that eco settings can save up to 15% on fridge-freezer costs.
However, it’s important to note that this isn’t the optimal setting if you’re using it regularly.
If you’re at home and making numerous trips to the fridge throughout the day, cold air escapes more. Eco settings mean that your fridge-freezer will take longer to get back to the ideal temperature, risking food spoiling.
Some appliances, such as ovens, don’t tend to have an eco mode, but you can still find ways to cut costs if you enjoy cooking at home.
Switching from ovens to slow cookers can drastically reduce costs, for example.
According to Uswitch’s website, slow cookers are among the kitchen’s most energy-efficient appliances and cost roughly 16p a day, or just £59 annually to run.
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