Modern technology has changed the way home appliances are designed – and in many instances for the better. There are several energy-efficient appliances that will help lower your utility bill and help protect the environment. But the marketplace varies greatly in quality, efficiency and price. Expensive doesn’t always mean “better,” but many of the most energy-efficient designs do reflect a higher retail price. Always be mindful of big box sales, manufacturer and government rebates and wholesale distributors.
For our energy-efficiency week, we have put together a list of important steps to follow when shopping for the ideal energy efficient appliance for your needs.
If you’re replacing an older appliance, be aware of the available space and take complete measurements. You’ll also want to take into account new design features that might not be compatible within the space. For example, a new front-loading washer and dryer that are the same dimensions as the old set will need extra room to accommodate the lower openings. If your old set was in a tight space, make sure you account for the extra room needed. New refrigerators, dishwashers, freezers and other large appliances should all be given similar consideration.
Some of the most energy efficient models are more expensive, but will save you money in the long run. When choosing which brand and model to buy, it’s important to understand how much you will potentially save versus the upfront costs.
You can also save money with cash rebates and incentive programs to encourage purchasing more energy-efficient models. You find rebates in your area by using the Energy Star Rebate Locator and searching by zip code.
If cost-savings is the main motivation for the purchase, appliances that save water as well as energy are a smart buy. There are dozens of dishwashers and washing machines on the market that use less water and have high Energy Star ratings. It is recommended to replace dishwashers every 10 – 15 years and washing machines every 10 years.
A refrigerator is usually the appliance that uses up the most energy in a kitchen. Energy Star approved models use roughly 50 percent less energy than refrigerators made before 1993. A typical modern refrigerator with an automatic defrost and a top-mounted freezer uses less than 500 kWh per year.
Ovens have the longest life of all appliances. A well-made model can last as long as 20 years, so finding the right replacement model is essential. In addition to the choice of electricity or gas, there are a few other as to consider. Self-cleaning ovens have more insulation than other models while convection ovens can cook food faster and more efficiently. Both types of ovens cost a bit more, but if they are Energy Star approved you will end up saving money in the long term.
Replacing an appliance simply because it’s older or not as efficient as a current model is not recommended. It is always a good practice to wait until an appliance needs to be replaced before seeking out something more energy-efficient. There are other ways to save money in the short term and replacing a functioning appliance doesn’t make solid financial sense.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to shop around. A new appliance is an investment and it’s essential that you do the research and find the ideal model that fits the needs of your household.
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For information on HVAC efficiency, give Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 405-794-8900.
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