If your laundry machine, dryer, refrigerator or dishwasher is making mysterious rumblings, it might be time to go appliance shopping. When you’re ready to buy, think about the following to save on both energy and money with an efficient upgrade.
No matter what appliance you're replacing, look beyond the purchase price. Some appliances can have a lifetime of 15-plus years, so think about how the operating cost of each will affect your monthly utility bill.
Pay attention to features that will lower an appliance's operating costs, like those mentioned below. Sometimes paying more upfront on the energy-efficient model will save you money in the long run.
One of the biggest home culprits for water usage—after toilets—are laundry machines. Look for models that use a high-pressure water spray, which eliminates the need for soaking your clothes in an entire tub of water. Each load in an Energy Star washer can save up to six gallons per wash compared to a standard model*.
Look for dryers with a moisture sensor feature that shuts the machine off when clothes are dry. This prevents loads from cycling in heat for longer than is really necessary. The feature saves energy and reduces wear on your clothes. Pay attention to the types of cycles available on the machine as well. Opting for a machine that has a longer cycle with lower heat also saves on energy costs.
Dishwashers with sensors for grime can adjust water and energy use based on food soils on dishes. Look at labels to compare different models’ energy- and water-use specifications—today’s washers only use 4.25 gallons per cycle versus those in the early '90s that use more than 10 gallons**!
When choosing a refrigerator, size matters. If your compartments aren’t full, your fridge or freezer has to work extra hard to cool that space after the door opens. Look for models sized at 16 to 20 cubic feet for maximum energy efficiency, and consider selecting a fridge with the freezer on top, rather than the side-by-side option.
It’s also worth noting that it takes extra energy for add-ons such as water dispensers or icemakers. When it comes to electricity usage, a simpler fridge is usually the more cost-effective option.