Looking to save money in your home? One of the smartest moves you can make is replacing outdated kitchen staples with new, energy-efficient appliances. On average, home appliances account for 20 percent of your home electric bill, and if you’re the average American household, most of your appliances are more than a decade old.
Energy Star is the U.S.-government backed symbol for energy efficiency, and you’ll want to look for their light blue cursive-with-a-star logo when appliance shopping. More than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies and thousands of industrial, commercial, state, and local organizations have teamed up to develop this standard which delivers solutions that save consumers money, protect the environment and improve air quality. In fact, some energy-efficient upgrades will also help you save on your federal taxes. And, with potential rebates and incentives from companies and various government entities for more energy efficient practices potentially on the way from Congress, smarter homes may help your family be green, and save green.
Energy Star started back in 1992 and has already saved American families more than 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity and reduced greenhouse gas by 3.5 billion metric tons. In 2018 alone, Energy Star helped Americans avoid $35 billion in energy costs. Though the Energy Star appliance may at first seem more expensive, the amount you save in the end is worth it. Replacing older appliances with Energy Star appliances is an investment that will reduce your bill for 10 to 20 years to come, especially given that electricity rates increase each year.
Don’t forget to also check out your state’s rebate options. Some states have energy efficiency programs that offer rebates as high as $200, plus additional cash for recycling old appliances.
Let’s take a look at the major appliances in your home with tips on how to replace each for long-term fiscal health – and to reduce your home’s impact on the environment. It’s important to remember that every appliance comes with two price tags: the initial store purchase price, and the price it costs to use the appliance in your home (including water, gas, and/or electric costs).
Refrigerators: Residential refrigerators gobble up approximately one-sixth of a home’s electricity consumption. Replacing even just a 10-year-old fridge with a new Energy Star model adds up roughly $30 savings on annual utility bills. Expect to pay between $500 and $2500 for a new one, depending on your style choice. Side-by-side and bottom-mounted freezers are more expensive, with the traditional white freezer-on-top fridge coming in at least expensive. Newer models utilize LED light for even less energy consumption. Browse the most energy-efficient refrigerators here.
Ovens: This one is simple – if you have a choice, buy a gas range! Gas ranges, in comparison to an electric stove, heat up faster and cost less, subtracting daily from your energy consumption and cost. If you can’t use a gas range, settle for a convection oven instead of an electric one. Convection ovens work with a fan that continually circulates, cooking food more quickly at a lower temperature. These save between 20 and 30 percent on energy cost.
Dishwashers: It’s been said that a great dishwasher is worth its weight in gold. It means less time hunched over the kitchen sink washing dishes, but it also is all about using less water and less power. Prices range from $250 to $1000 with the quieter, sleeker models at the top end. An Energy Star dishwasher is 12 percent more efficient, saving you around $25 annually.
Check out great dishwasher options here.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star-certified model can cut your summer cooling and winter heating costs by more than 30 percent. Much like stoves, a gas heating system saves money. Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity to get through the winter. Your home’s insulation also plays a role in the system’s efficiency. Be wary of drafty doors and windows – and note that if you purchase a new energy-efficient air conditioner but connect it to an older furnace and/or blower motor, your system will not perform to its full efficiency. Look up your favorite HVAC models here.
Washers and Dryers: An energy-efficient clothes washer equals savings on both your water bill and your electric bill. Energy Star washers use 50 percent less energy and 55 percent less water. Dryers rival refrigerators for the most energy-hungry appliance in the house. You can save more than 20 percent on your bill with an Energy Star-certified dryer. If gas is an option, it will save energy and money in the same manner it does with a gas range and gas heating system. Browse the best washers and dryers.
You should also be aware that replacing older small appliances such as televisions and dehumidifiers will decrease your energy consumption.