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Energy Branch / Energy Solutions Centre

Appliance Operating Tips

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Appliance Operating Tips

Home appliances can consume a significant amount of energy. However, there are things that you can do at no cost to reduce the energy used by many household appliances.

Check the Manual!

Appliance manuals are often the best place to learn how to operate appliances as efficiently as possible. They will also provide tips on how to prolong the appliance’s life.

Cooktops and Ovens

  • Use small appliances such as a microwave, slow cooker, electric kettle or toaster oven as an alternative to the cooktop or oven when possible.
  • Use pots and pans with tight-fitting lids and match pots to the size of the cooking element.
  • Make sure the bottoms of your pots and pans are smooth and flat. Food will cook faster and you will use less energy when the pots make full contact with the cooking element.
  • Keep the drip pans under conventional burners clean.
  • Use the self-cleaning feature while the oven is still hot from baking. This method uses less energy than if you start the self-cleaning cycle with a cold oven.
  • Keep pre-heating to a minimum and keep the oven door closed during use, except when broiling.
  • Look through the oven window instead of opening the door. On average, you lose 20% of the heat in the oven each time you open the oven door.
  • Make sure your oven’s door seals are clean and tight. They should hold a slip of paper snuggly. If paper slips out easily, replace the seals. This test should, of course, be done when the oven is cool and not in use.

Clothes Washers and Dryers

  • Only use your washer and dryer with full loads.
  • Consider washing your laundry in cold water whenever possible. Detergents are now available for use in cold water. Studies show that clothes cleaned in cold water come out just as clean as those cleaned in warm water. Cold water washing will save you money on your water-heating bill.
  • A high-speed spin cycle in the washer will remove excess moisture from the clothes and reduce drying time in the clothes dryer.
  • Air dry clothes outdoors whenever possible. It saves energy and gives clothes a fresh-air smell.
  • Clean the lint trap in the clothes dryer after each load so that you keep the air flowing through the clothes. Reducing the air flow through the clothes increases drying time and uses more energy.
  • Use the moisture sensor setting on your dryer to avoid over-drying, which wastes energy, creates wrinkles and causes clothes to wear out more quickly.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer promptly and fold or hang them to prevent wrinkling and the need to use an iron.

Refrigerators and Freezers

  • Set your fridge and freezer to the Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency-recommended temperatures: fridge to 3.3º C (38º F) and freezer to -18º C (0º F). You can pick up a free thermometer from the Energy Solutions Centre and put it in the fridge and freezer to check the temperature and adjust settings as needed.
  • Defrost a manual-defrost freezer when the ice thickness reaches a 1/2 cm, or the width of a pencil.
  • Avoid using the microwave oven to defrost food. When you have time, thaw frozen food in the fridge. This is safer than leaving food out on the counter top. Also, the cold temperature from the frozen food thawing inside the fridge will contribute to the fridge's coolness.
  • The easiest way to keep the fridge cold is to keep the door closed. Only keep your fridge door open for the shortest time conveniently possible.
  • Don’t force your freezer to work harder than necessary. Don’t place it near a heat source, such as a radiator, heating vent, washer, dryer, furnace, etc.
  • Check to make sure the freezer and fridge doors are properly sealed. To do this, close the door on a piece of paper and then try to remove the paper. If it slides out or moves easily, adjust the door or replace the seal. Try this test in a number of places.


  • Air-dry dishes in the dishwasher or use the economy setting.
  • Only run full loads.

Other Appliances

Vacuum Cleaners

Empty or change the vacuum cleaner bag regularly. The vacuum has to work harder if the bag is too full. Bagless vacuums should be emptied before the dirt reaches the full line.


  • Stop standby power loss. Many electric devices such as printers, scanners, modems, televisions, set-top cable boxes and DVD players use power in standby mode.
  • Unplug such devices when they are not being used or plug them into a power bar that can be easily turned off at the end of the day and when you are away on vacation.
  • A plugged-in power adapter draws at least one watt of electricity at any time and a high-definition television can pull more than 10 watts of electricity even when it is not turned on. Set-top cable boxes draw 20 watts of electricity.

Contact Us

Energy Solutions Centre
206A Lowe St., 1st Floor
Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada)
Y1A 1W6

Phone: (867) 393-7063
Fax: (867) 393-7061