8 Shopping Tips for Energy-Efficient Appliances
There’s no getting away from the fact that our dependence on energy increases daily. With energy-dependent technology driving our lives, ecologists continue to search for ways to save our environment. Focusing on energy-efficient appliances is one way to do that.
Your monthly electric bill may not itemize the specific usage of each appliance in your home. If you are interested in a breakdown, though, you can ask your local electric company for a listing. But about 30% of the charges on your statement stem from your electrical appliances. That’s why the government, as well as most of appliance manufacturers, encourage consumers to replace standard devices with new energy-saving ones.
So, if your dishes aren’t coming out clean after a run in the dishwasher, or if the ring around your shirt collar has not disappeared after a hot laundry wash, you may be in the market for a new appliance.
There could be some good years left in that 10-year-old refrigerator or oven. But, prices for electrical appliances have come down across the board over the years. And once you consider the cost of a new part for your old apparatus, plus the charge for the visit, it just might be worthwhile to chuck the old and buy new.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the new energy-efficient appliances save you money on a monthly basis because they use far less electricity. They also help the environment by cutting down on greenhouse gases emitted into the air.
So what does it really mean if an appliance is energy-efficient? In simple terms, it means the process used to make the appliance function — spin, clean, cool, heat, etc. — is using less energy.
Now that you have decided that a modern and energy-efficient refrigerator is what you need, how can you be sure you’re choosing the best product at the most reasonable price?
Here are some tips to guide you in your search:
1. Determine the total cost. Since the purpose of your new purchase is to save on monthly energy costs, the first thing to consider is the operating costs. That, along with the actual purchase price, should give you the real cost of the appliance.
2. Look for the energy rating. There are several reliable rating services that provide information about appliance energy consumption. The federal government uses the yellow and black Energy Star Standard sticker to inform consumers about operating costs and annual energy consumption. This helps buyers compare one clothes dryer to another. Energy Star tests each item independently.
3. Select the right size appliance. Running a large machine – even the most energy-efficient one – uses more electricity than a compact one, so don’t buy something bigger than what you need.
4. Look for economy choices. Many dishwashers and washing machines offer a variety of different cycles. If you find one with an economy cycle, that will save you money when you need to wash only a small load of clothes or dishes.
5. Stay Simple. When it comes to choosing a refrigerator, go easy on the add-ons. According to one independent rating service, a water dispenser or ice maker uses a lot of extra electricity. Also, top-to-bottom fridge/freezer models are more energy-efficient than side by sides. The auto-defrost feature uses heat to speed up defrosting and makes running the refrigerator less efficient. This holds true for self-cleaning ovens as well, so consider the value in this upgrade.
6. Contact your utility supplier for the latest ways to save on utility charges. With today’s smart devices, appliances can be programmed to use less energy at certain times of the day.
7. Check out your home. If you have the time and the extra cash, it may be worthwhile to call in a home assessor to help identify ways you can save on your overall energy and water costs. He or she may be able to tell you how to use your appliances at the most energy-efficient times of day.
8. Comparison shop. Never buy the first model you see. Household appliances are not cheap, and to find the most energy efficient one at the best price, shop around. Well-known name brands are always more expensive than lesser-known companies. However, they don’t always offer a better product. If you check carefully, you may find that heating element in the name-brand laundry dryer is exactly the same as the one in a model selling for hundreds of dollars less. Compare the details. You might be surprised.