How to Actually Save Money With Eco-Friendly Appliances
Going green doesn’t have to break the bank. With some savvy shopping and smart usage habits, eco-friendly appliances can end up saving you money in the long run. Here’s how to make your appliance upgrades pay off.
Research Energy Efficient Models
The first step is to understand what makes an appliance energy efficient. The main factors are:
Energy Star certification – Appliances with the Energy Star label meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the EPA and Department of Energy. This is the best indicator of an efficient appliance.
Updated technology – Newer models incorporate advanced technology like inverter compressors in fridges and heat pump dryers. These offer big efficiency improvements over older designs.
Precise sizing – Avoid oversized appliances like a large fridge for a single person. Right-sized models use less energy.
Smart features – Look for auto shut-off, sensors, and app connectivity to optimize energy use.
Once you know what to look for, compare EnergyGuide labels on appliances to find the most efficient options in your price range.
Focus on the Big Energy Users
The refrigerator, clothes washer and clothes dryer account for the biggest chunk of appliance energy use. Prioritize upgrading these for maximum impact:
Refrigerator – Choose an Energy Star model. Features like multiple evaporators and variable speed compressors improve efficiency.
Clothes washer – Front loaders use 50% less water and energy than top loaders. Look for an Energy Star washer with high spin speeds – they extract more water to shorten drying time.
Clothes dryer – Heat pump dryers use about 60% less energy than conventional dryers. They have a longer cycle time but drastically cut energy costs.
Take Advantage of Rebates and Tax Credits
Many utility companies and states offer rebates and tax credits for purchasing qualifying energy efficient appliances and recycling old units. These can offset 25-50% or more of the initial cost. Be sure to research available incentives in your area.
Adjust Your Usage Habits
Your habits and practices have a big impact on appliance efficiency:
Run full loads in washers, dryers and dishwashers. Partial loads waste energy.
Let dishes air dry instead of using heated dry cycles.
Clean fridge coils every 6 months so the motor doesn’t work as hard.
Use appropriate temperature settings – you rarely need high heat.
Turn off anti-sweat heaters on refrigerators if not needed.
Calculate Long Term Savings
The higher upfront costs of efficient appliances pay back over time through dramatically lower energy bills. On average, Energy Star certified models are 10-50% more efficient than standard models. Calculate the estimated energy savings and payback period when shopping to see how upgrades can save you money in the long run.
Choosing efficient appliances and using them wisely pays dividends through lower energy costs and a lighter environmental footprint. Do your research and make the smart investments to maximize savings over the 10-15 year lifespan of most appliances. The planet and your wallet will thank you.