AC on the blink? Dishwasher dead? Many people find appliance shopping a necessary but frequently dreaded adventure. When an appliance unexpectedly breaks you’ll have to make a major purchase you may not have anticipated. If you have to take the leap remember that it the appliance has two price tags: what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy and water it uses.
Energy-Star qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10–50% less energy and water than standard models. The money you save on your utility bills can more than make up for the cost of a more expensive but more efficient appliance. Look for an energy star label on appliances such as washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, room ac’s dehumidifiers, and air filters.
A few tips when before buying a major appliance:
1. Refrigerators with freezers on top or bottom use 10 to 15 percent less energy than a side-by-side model of equivalent size
2. Energy star top loading washers can be as energy efficient as the front loaders that many people have switched to because of energy concerns. Be sure to purchase a washer with several choices of water levels and a faster spin cycle.
3. Look for dishwashers that have a energy-saving cycle that allows dishwashers to be air-dried with circulation fans, rather than heat-dried
4. If your central air conditioning system is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star model can reduce your energy consumption by at least 20 percent. And make sure all your ducts are sealed and insulated. (You’ll need a contractor to perform a pressure audit as they can’t be seen by sight
5. A gas water heater costs less to operate than an electric water heater. Check the units Energy Factor…a high-efficiency gas model has an EF around 0.8.
Dare I say that buying an energy-efficient appliances and knowing you’ll be saving money can make the experience fun. For more information on the Federal Energy Star Program see www.energystar.gov