Household appliances, their electricity consumption and hidden potential for savings

According to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE, households accounted for 29.3 percent of total final energy consumption. After transport with 32.8 percent, these are thus the second most energy-intensive sector. In addition to heating and hot water, which are heated with different energy sources, household appliances account for a large share of the electricity demand. But what consumes how much energy*?

Household appliances for cooking and baking

Kitchen appliances for cooking and baking, including appliances such as a coffee maker, account for an average of eleven percent of electricity consumption. The appliances with the highest energy demand are the stove and the oven. Old cast iron stovetops in particular are downright power hogs, while induction stoves are the most efficient and ceramic glass stoves with other energy sources fall somewhere in between.

Woman bakes to save electricity with household appliances

There is an energy consumption difference of about 40 percent between the two extremes. When cooking, consumption can be controlled not only by the technology but also by the way the pots and pans and the extractor hood are used. Cooking with closed pots, for example, saves energy on both the stove and the fume hood. To heat water, kettles are much more energy-efficient than stoves. For all cooking methods, calcification and contamination increase resource consumption.

When operating an oven, the type and age of the oven also play the most important role. But energy can be saved with simple tricks. The simplest tip is to always bake with convection instead of top and bottom heat. This saves around 15 percent energy, while the baking time remains the same – and you can even use several trays at the same time. For most dishes from the oven, preheating also represents an unnecessary waste of 20 percent more electricity consumption. As a rule, the residual heat is sufficient if the oven is switched off five minutes before the end of cooking.

Saving electricity in the refrigerator

Similar to cooking and baking appliances, a refrigerator (with or without a freezer section) consumes about one tenth of the total electricity used. A separate freezer would add another seven percent to the bill. However, a lot of energy can also be saved by using refrigerators correctly: look for the energy label when buying, install in the coolest room, set the temperature to seven degrees Celsius or -18 degrees in the case of freezer compartments.

Regular defrosting and cleaning can also reduce energy consumption. In addition, you should store food properly. This means that food leftovers should first be allowed to cool, put away on the appropriate level and frozen food should be defrosted in the refrigerator compartment. These tips not only reduce electricity consumption, but also increase the shelf life of food.


It is now common knowledge that a dishwasher is more efficient in terms of water and electricity than washing dishes by hand. Nevertheless, this accounts for a further nine percent of electricity consumption in the kitchen. Proper handling is of course also crucial here. The dishwasher should only be used when well filled, but not overloaded. In the meantime, it is not necessary to pre-wash the dishes, only coarse residues should be removed.

When choosing a program, go for low temperatures or economy programs. Despite the longer rinsing time, these clean more thoroughly and protect the environment. In addition, the machine should always be filled with sufficient regenerating salt. Preventing limescale buildup and the resulting loss of efficiency.

Consumer electronics

Various entertainment appliances also account for a large share of around nine percent. This includes televisions, DVD players, game consoles and various hi-fi equipment. Home theater systems in particular are energy-intensive and can more than double power consumption. This applies in particular to appliances that are not switched off after use and remain in standby mode.

In addition, the rule of thumb is that battery-powered electronics consume less electricity than mains-powered ones. A special feature of consumer electronics is that, in contrast to kitchen appliances, it is not worthwhile to switch to a new appliance in terms of energy consumption. This is because the resources consumed by the electronics during their service life are less than the gray energy required for manufacture and transport. Consumer electronics of any kind should be used for as long as possible.

Washing machine and tumble dryer

Almost on a par with entertainment appliances comes the washing tower. The washing machine consumes about eight percent of the electricity, while the tumble dryer requires as much as nine percent when two-thirds of the clothes end up in the dryer. The total electricity consumption can be reduced by always filling the washing machine, dosing the detergent appropriately, choosing low temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees and no short programs.

Low temperature and economy programs spare as a side effect also the clothes. At best, do without the tumble dryer altogether or at least use the "extra dry" program. When purchasing tumblers, you can pay attention to the sensor technology. Models equipped with it measure the moisture of the laundry and automatically adjust the drying time.

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