Energy ratings on kitchen appliances explained
Everything you need to know about energy ratings to make an informed choice…
01 Mar 2021
If you’ve been shopping for a new kitchen appliance in the last few years, you’ll almost certainly have noticed the multi-coloured A+++ to G energy labels. But, as of March 2021, this system’s getting an overhaul. The new system will be much easier to understand- a simple A to G ratings scale. And, if you want to know a bit more about why things are changing, be sure to check out our Energy Efficiency Ratings page.
Many people believe that energy efficiency ratings tell you how well a machine performs, but that’s not the case. An appliance with a poor energy rating could still be very good at washing your clothes or getting the dirt out of your carpet. But a poorly rated machine will use more energy and ultimately cost you more money to run.
So, let’s take a look at what makes a good energy rating versus a bad rating.
How are energy ratings calculated?
Because kitchen appliances are all designed to do very different jobs, the tests used to work out their energy efficiency are very different for each type of appliance.
It’s up to the manufacturers themselves to carry out the testing. Plus, all appliances must have technical documents to prove the test results to the right authorities.
To figure out a washing machine’s energy efficiency rating, the amount of energy the machine uses is calculated (in kilowatt hours) over 100 cycles. The measurements are based on energy consumption during what’s called an ‘Eco 40-60 wash’.
An Eco 40-60 wash is good for cleaning your standard soiled materials like cotton, linen or mixed fibres. And it’s the most efficient programme for energy and water use too. So that makes it a good and fair cycle to test energy ratings for.
If you’ve got a washer dryer, things are slightly different. The label’s split into two parts. The right side covers just a wash cycle and will be the same as for your bog-standard washing machine. The left side will show the energy rating for a wash and dry cycle.
When it comes to fridges and freezers, the rating system takes into account a whole bunch of factors. Those are things like the type of appliance, how it works, the room’s temperature and how many and how big the different compartments are.
There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your fridge or freezer runs as efficiently as possible – make sure you don’t over-fill it, de-ice the freezer if it starts to build up. But because refrigeration appliances are switched on all the time, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to that energy efficiency label when you’re shopping for a new fridge or freezer.
The energy ratings on dishwashers are calculated by how much water they use, compared to the amount of energy they consume over 100 cycles. This is tested using the Eco programme on things like cups, pots and plastic utensils. So the test is basically mimicking how you’d use your dishwasher at home.
The energy ratings for cookers are staying just the same. When a cooker’s being tested, the size of the internal space is measured against the amount of energy it uses to heat a brick to 55°C. The less energy used to heat the brick, the better the cooker's energy rating!
The age-old argument when it comes to cooking is ‘what’s best, gas or electric?’ Well, when it comes to energy efficiency, the performance of gas versus electric tends to be roughly the same. Many people prefer the convenience of electricity, but with mains gas costing about 3 times less than electricity, it really comes down to what you prefer and how much you’re willing to spend.