When it comes to energy efficient appliances versus traditional appliances, here are a few things to consider. Look at the appliances being used in your home on a regular basis. Are any of these appliances 10, 15, or even 20 years old? If so, you can bet you’re spending more on monthly utility costs than you have to. Remember being environmentally conscientious not only helps preserve the earth, but can also save you money!
In recent studies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average family household is spending nearly $2,000 per year in utility costs and appliances are at fault for more than half of these expenses alone.
Appliance Energy Information
All types of home appliances have energy labels on them that provide energy information. The Federal trade Commission’s Appliance Labeling Rules require furnaces, water heaters, boilers, clothes washers, freezers, refrigerators, dishwashers, pool heaters, room air conditioners, central air conditioners and heat pumps to have energy labels. The labels are normally found on the inside or secured to the exterior of the appliance. The information on the label will include the model capacity, annual energy consumption for washers and dryers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators and water heaters, and the range of similar appliances.
The EPA, along with the US Dept of Energy (DOE), has created a classification system called Energy Star. This system is designed to pinpoint domestic appliances that are more energy efficient, boost air quality and decrease utility bills. Although appliances equipped with the Energy Star label (EnergyGuide) can potentially cost up to 40% more than standard models, they can save up to half of the daily energy you use. So not only are you saving money in the long run, you’re helping to protect our environment for a better tomorrow and future generations.
How Is One Model More Energy Efficient Than Another?
Most energy differences have to do with the inner workings of the appliance. Two appliances may have the exact same exteriors and look identical, but have very different energy efficiency. This is because the valves, seals, motors, pumps, compressors and gaskets in the machines are different. Energy efficient appliances will be made of parts that either require less energy or lose less energy than the average model. Most of these less obvious differences on the appliance will make a big difference to the utility bills.
Here are a few examples of the main appliances that you use in your home and how they measure up against their high efficiency Energy Star counterparts.
Compared to regular washers, high efficiency washers can actually reduce the wear and tear on clothes, by extracting more water from clothing in the spin cycle to help reduce drying time. They also can use up to 50% less water and 40% less electricity, which can equal up to $110 in savings each year.
Compared to regular refrigerators, high efficiency refrigerators can consume 40% less energy, which can equal a savings of $150 every year. There are even some refrigerators now on the market that use less energy a year than a 60 watt light bulb!
Compared to regular dishwashers, high efficiency dishwashers can use half the water and 40% less electricity. Also did you know a dishwasher made before 1994 can be costing you as much as $40 extra dollars a year in utility bills and wastes more than 10 gallons of water per cycle?
Range & Stove
Compare to a regular gas or radiant heat range, a high efficiency induction range uses less power by heating cookware more quickly and efficiently, while also not producing excess waste heat. Saving money on power and keep your kitchen cooler.
Here’s a surprising one, did you know a non-high efficiency hot and cold water cooler can actually use more energy than a refrigerator!
So now you know the benefits, but how do you choose an energy efficient appliance?
Many shoppers consider the lowest priced item, be it on sale or not, as the best buy when shopping for appliances. However, even if you are short on money, this is not necessarily the best buy. In many cases buyers will spend more money in the long run by buying a very inexpensive appliance versus one that costs more. So when considering a new appliance it’s important to take the three main factors of home appliance cost into account before making a purchase. These factors include the initial cost of the appliance, the operating costs and the maintenance and repair costs.
Calculating the Costs of Energy Efficient Appliances
The total costs of the three price factors over the lifetime of the appliance will show the actual cost of this appliance. Energy consumption and repairs can greatly affect the out of pocket expenses. Calculate out the cost of powering the appliance for a year and you will soon see how expensive the appliance is. A refrigerator that uses 600 kilowatt an hour versus one that uses 800 kilowatt hours annually will have an increased energy cost of about $20 a year. Therefore if the appliance will last 20 years then the savings will be $400. If the 600 kilowatt model has an initial price that is $400 more or less than the 800 kilowatt model then buying the slightly more expensive version is better.
Most home appliances will last from 10 to 20 years and operating costs should be calculated over this time. It is also important to ask about any other special energy efficient offers, as many companies may offer cash rebates or other incentives on energy efficient models. You may even qualify for refunds on your taxes!
Tips for a Lower Energy Bill Each Month
So let’s say you’re not in the market for a new appliance, but you’d still like to lower your energy bill each month. Here are a few quick tips that can help you accomplish just that.
Rearrange your kitchen so that the refrigerator is not near any heat sources (vents, stoves or other major appliances). If the refrigerator is near an area with a lot of heat, it has to work more to keep cool. Vacuuming the refrigerator’s coils each month to remove build up and dirt from the coils, which can also effect energy consumption. Using the energy saver option on dish washers will immediately reduce energy consumption.
Cook on the stove with pots that properly fit the burners and use lids. Food will cook faster and this way you can cook with a lower burner setting. Also match the temperature and water level in the clothes washer to the size of the load. The lowest level of water should be used for small loads and more water for larger loads.