Home appliances: Features vs efficiency
Is the cheaper plasma TV better? Are top-loaders less efficient than front-loaders? Is there any option besides the expensive electric geyser? We show you how to cut costs at home.
Big ticket purchases are often influenced by a discount or offer of some sort. If it’s good enough, many of us will skip a thorough examination, failing to notice that the type of product isn’t efficient at energy consumption or a cheaper alternative that even works better. Each home appliance has its pros and cons. Some are more energy efficient, while others have considerably cheaper rates and may offer better features. We demystify what each kind of television, washing machine and geyser will offer you and which one you should finally settle for.
LED televisions are LCD screens, but with more than a few better features. Best of all, they are super thin and produce more consistent looking images. They can also reproduce a wide range of colours and are power-efficient. Depending on what image is being projected on the screen, a 40-inch LED will only use around 75 watts worth of electricity, as compared to plasma’s 200 watts. On the downside, a 40-inch Samsung LED television would cost you around Rs50,000. An LED TV will lower your electricity bills, but not significantly if you don’t tend to have your set on all day.
Pros Energy efficient, super-thin and good image quality
Cons Costly and narrow viewing angles
A relatively old technology, plasma televisions use more electricity as they generate heat. However, these televisions are way cheaper compared to a LED set. A 42-inch plasma Samsung plasma television would cost you just about Rs35,000, Rs15,000 cheaper than an LED TV. Also, the image created by plasma TVs cannot be matched by LEDs as of now. Great contrast levels, colour reproduction and brightness levels are exhibited by plasmas. Unlike LED televisions, plasma TVs can be viewed from any angle without any deterioration in image quality. It can also produce better fast-moving images as compared to LED televisions. Go for a plasma television if you are looking at great picture quality under Rs40,000.
Pros Low priced and excellent image quality
Cons Not very energy efficient
Verdict: Plasma TVs offer better quality and are cheaper than LED TVs. TVs aren’t very costly to run to begin with, so opting for a plasma screen should be the cheaper option even over the long run.
Due to the convenience they offer, electric water heaters have become very common in households. They can be installed almost anywhere and don’t require ventilations for proper functioning. Electric geysers can also heat water quickly. However, the cost of running an electric water heater is far more than one running on gas. Even though they are much cheaper, at around Rs1,200 for a small capacity electric geyser, over a long period they would not be as economical to their gas counterparts. Buy an electric geyser only if you find it easy to use already and need water to be heated quick.
Pros Low priced and fast water heating capability
Cons Running costs are high over the years
As the name suggests, these water heaters run on LPG cylinders or any other natural gas to function. Gas geysers were very prevalent before electric geysers were introduced and were known for their low costs of running. As they are completely dependent on natural gas, electricity consumption is reduced. Also, they use small amounts of LPG to heat water. The geyser is priced at around Rs3,000 for a small unit. Go for a gas geyser if you want to save on electricity consumption over a period of time. Safety concerns have been raised over gas geysers, though if precautions are followed they are as safe as their electric counterparts.
Pros Economical to run, does not use electricity and are easier to repair
Cons Ventilation is required and gas geysers are bulky if you don’t have piped gas
Verdict: The cost of heating water using electricity is high, which is exactly why induction stoves are shunned by most. So why should it be any different while heating water? Accept the higher initial cost and save big in the years to come.
A top-loading washing machine is extremely common. However, they consume more energy and water than front-loaders. Top loaders work with an agitator in the middle, twisting and pushing your clothes through detergent and water. These washing machines require a lot of water to fill up its tank, and need to be refilled after every cycle to clean clothes. Also, the agitator takes up space, preventing larger loads. However, a bigger capacity is usually provided in top-loading washing machines. At around Rs13,000 for a medium top loader, they also cost considerably less than a front-loader. Top loaders are also capable of getting out heavy stains during a wash. Go for a top-loading washing machine if you are on a strict budget.
Pros Low priced, faster and stronger wash cycles
Cons Consumes more electricity and water, takes more space and can damage clothes easily
A front-loading washing machine’s greatest feature is its efficiency, with both water and energy. Known to use only a third of the water required by a top loader, front-loaders use gravity to tumble your clothes instead of an agitator. Gentler wash cycles provided by a front loader drastically increases your clothes’ life cycle due to lesser wear and tear. As they require less water, front-loading machines are also smaller and fit into cramped and small homes easily. The faster spin rates in these washing machines also allow clothes to dry quicker than they would in a front-loading machine. However, they are priced higher, at about Rs24,000 for a medium size machine and can also fail to remove heavy stains. For better energy efficiency and longer lasting clothes, a front-loading washing machine should be preferred.
Pros Energy and water efficient, takes less space, gentle on garments and clothes dry quicker
Cons Expensive compared to top loaders and can fail to clean clothes with heavy stains
Verdict: Front-loaders are much more expensive, so it’s obvious top-loaders are the popular choice. Particularly if your water bills are based on usage (rather than split evenly by your housing society), though, you may want to consider the high initial cost. Electricity costs would be lower, too.