HOUSEHOLDS may not be aware that they could save a small fortune just by adjusting the settings on their appliances.
Ditching the instruction manual too early and sticking to old habits means many of us don’t think of looking at alternative ways of running our gadgets.
This means there are settings that often get ignored, despite the fact that they might actually be pretty helpful.
This is particularly true for common, energy guzzling appliances like tumble dryers, dishwashers and washing machines.
But you can also make little-known tweaks to how you use your television and games consoles to save cash.
The Sun spoke to Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com, to find out which settings we should be using – and you could save up to £283.
The advice will come in handy because energy bills are expected to jump by £500 from £2,500 to £3,000 a year for the average household on April 1.
While this is what the average household should expect to pay – many will fork out more because the Energy Price Guarantee only increases the unit rate of gas and electricity.
So if you use more energy than the average household – expect to pay more.
Washing Machine – save £63
You may have seen an eco setting on your washing machine, which promises to reduce the amount of water your machine uses and lower energy consumption.
Ben says using an eco setting on a washing machine could save the average household £37 a year, based on average usage.
But this isn’t the only setting that could help you to save cash.
“People should also double-check what temperature they are washing their clothes,” Ben said.
“Turning the settings down from 40°C to 30°C can help people save around £26 a year.”
A temperature of 30°C should be sufficient for most clothes, with the exception of particularly dirty or stained items, underwear and bedsheets.
If you made these adjustments, you could save up to £63 over the course of a year.
Tumble Dryer – save £53
Big families who do three around loads of washing a week could be spending up to £104.52 a year tumble drying.
But there are a few tweaks you could make to your sweets to slash this cost by up to £53.
Ben said: “If your clothes are still very wet when you take them out of the washing machine, you could make use of the spin cycle setting.
“Using the spin cycle will remove excess water, meaning your clothes will dry faster in the tumble dryer or on an airer.”
As with a washing machine, you could also save cash by using your tumble dryer’s eco setting.
Dishwasher – save £28
A dishwasher is one of the most energy-hungry appliances in the kitchen, but changing the way you use the machine could save you a small fortune.
Using a dishwasher might mean you don’t have to argue over who does the washing up, but it’s important to use it as efficiently as possible.
Ben said that simply switching to an eco-mode could save the average household up to £28 a year.
Boilers – save up to £112
The average household sets their combination boiler water flow temperature between 75°C and 80°C.
But Ben says this is costing households unnecessary cash.
He said: “Reducing the flow rate on combination boilers can quickly knock money off heating bills, and you won’t even notice the difference.
“These types of boilers work best when the water going to radiators is heated at 60°C or below.”
Households can save an average of £112 a year by changing the temperatures on their combination boilers, according to the charity Nesta.
Televisions – save £15
An energy-efficient TV using 36kWh will cost you £12.24 to run for 1,000 hours, according to USwitch.
Unsurprisingly, the bigger the telly, the more expensive it is to run.
But even these bigger, more energy intensive models should have settings that could help you save cash.
Ben said: “Some televisions have power-saving modes, which you can usually access via their settings menu.
“Some TVs can adapt how much light they give off, depending on how bright your room is.
“There may also be settings which can adjust when your TV turns off automatically when you haven’t used the remote for a set period of time.
“If you regularly leave the TV on when not in the room, you could set it to turn off after three or four hours so it powers down by itself when not needed.”
Leaving a TV on standby for 24 hours costs around £14.56, so it could pay to have a fiddle with your settings.
Games consoles – £12
“Many modern games consoles are very energy-efficient, but can use varying amounts of power even when they are in standby mode,” Ben said.
A Playstation 5 uses 0.38 watts when it is in low power mode – but it can use four watts if it is supplying power to USB ports, such as when charging controllers.
But there are some settings that could help you to cut this usage.
Ben said: “You may be able to use the settings on your games console to set time limits on how long it charges the controllers for.
“That way, you can leave them plugged in overnight without worrying that they are actively charging the whole time.”
Households can save an average of £12.17 per year by making sure their consoles aren’t left on standby.
How else can I cut appliance costs?
Households can cut their energy bills further by ensuring that they’re not running their appliances if they’re not full.
Data from Uswicth estimates that not running your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher if they aren’t full will slash your energy bills by £40 a year.
Thousands could further slash their bills by ensuring that they don’t leave their appliances plugged in and on standby when not in use.
Devices that drain energy while plugged in and on standby include:
- Hi-Fi systems – £143 a year
- Computers – £95 a year
- TVs – £24 a year
- Set-top-box – £23 a year
- Printers – £20 a year
- WiFi router – £19 a year
- Microwave – £16 a year
- Games consoles – £12 a year
Appliances which use energy to cool things – like fridges and freezers – are also expensive to run and there are ways to cut costs.
Keeping your fridge freezer clean can also save £45 a year – dust on the condenser coils can reduce the efficiency by as much as 25% says Which?.
And failing to defrost it for instance could be adding on an extra £150 a year.
The nation’s love of brews could be costing us a lot.
Kettles – along with other kitchen appliances like cookers and blenders – account for 19% of the average home’s energy use.
So make sure you’re not overfilling it to save £55 a year.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]