Saving money, saving energy and saving the planet? Sounds like a winner! That is what you can do when you use energy-efficient appliances in your home. If you think of how often you use your appliances — your refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, dryer, and oven — you can see how much electricity you’re using every day. Household appliances can use up to 20 percent of your home’s electricity. Investing in energy-efficient appliances can help reduce your electric bill and reduce the amount of energy you use.
Which Appliances Should I Focus On?
The three major appliances that are used the most and utilize the most energy are refrigerators, water heaters, and central air conditioners. The good news is, all of these, and many more appliances, are made to be more energy-efficient than older models. For example, if your refrigerator was manufactured before 1993, it’s time for a change. Purchasing a new appliance, such as a refrigerator, is an added expense, but an energy-efficient one will cost half as much to run as an older model. Central air conditioners that are more than 10 years old and not Energy Star certified, can cost 20 percent more on your energy bills than newer models.
Energy Star Designation
In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced the Energy Star program. What started as a voluntary labeling program to help consumers turned into a huge resource for buyers and sellers of appliances. Products emblazoned with the Energy Star logo are 10 to 50 percent more energy efficient than regular products. Companies cannot pay to have the Energy Star logo on their product; they must pass strict technical specifications. While these appliances have a reduced carbon footprint, they do not sacrifice performance and quality. The EPA’s Energy Star website offers an array of information and product listings of Energy Star-approved products and where to purchase them.
Consider What You Use
Consider what you use regularly. For example, if you get a refrigerator with an ice maker built in, you won’t need a separate one. Or if you find a refrigerator with a large freezer capacity, you can get rid of the old one in the garage. Many people run the dishwasher every other day or every single day, so an energy-efficient one that uses less electricity and less water will save you money.
While we have touched on the environmental benefits, there are many monetary benefits as well: Lower cost to run, lower cost over a lifetime of use, and lower bills overall. Did you know that you may also be able to claim some of your energy-efficient appliances on your taxes? Yes, you can! Appliances such as central air conditioners, furnaces, and water heaters can qualify. See the Energy Star website and your tax professional for more information.
When it’s time to choose a new appliance, do your research and choose the right energy-efficient model for you and your family. Once your new appliance is professionally installed, it’s also important to have routine maintenance in order to keep it running in optimal condition. Enjoy savings of time, money, and thoughtfulness to the environment.