Many of the appliances for sale in the U.S. are ENERGY STAR certified, meaning they use less energy than their conventional, non-energy efficient counterparts.
However, energy-efficient appliances often come at a price premium, leaving many homeowners to wonder: are energy-efficient appliances worth it?
In most cases, the answer is yes. The amount that you’ll save depends on your electricity costs and the appliances you are looking to replace, as well as the incentives available for energy-efficient products in your area.
ENERGY STAR appliances can significantly reduce your electric bills.
On average, home appliances – including washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, etc.– will account for 20% of your home’s total electric bill. ENERGY STAR appliances, which are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy, can reduce that share. The average home appliance lasts for 7-10 years, and an ENERGY STAR-certified appliance will use anywhere from 10-50% less energy each year than a non-energy efficient equivalent.
By replacing the appliances in your home with ENERGY STAR certified appliances, you are making an investment that will reduce your energy bill for years to come, which is especially important when you recognize that electricity rates are increasing annually. That being said, some appliances use more energy than others. The amount you save is also dependent on the age of your current appliances and the electricity rates that you pay.
Dryers are the most energy-hungry appliance that can be found in the average American home. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a typical dryer can consume as much energy per year as a new energy-efficient refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher combined – and if you have an older model, that number could be even higher. ENERGY STAR certified dryers use 20% less electricity than a conventional model, which will save you on average $210 in electric bills over your energy-efficient dryer’s lifetime.
If you pair your energy-efficient dryer with an energy-efficient washing machine, you’ll see additional savings on both your electric bill and your water bill. An ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer uses 40-50% less energy and about 55% less water than standard washers.
When you replace your conventional washing machine with an energy-efficient model, you can expect to save up to around $50/year on utility and water bills. Energy-efficient front-loading clothes washers also require less laundry detergent than top-loading washers, so you save more money from week to week.
There have been significant advances in refrigerator technology over the past 15 years, which means that old refrigerators are one of the biggest energy hogs in many U.S. homes. The ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators available on the market today are nearly 10% more energy-efficient than models that meet the federal minimum energy standard. If you have an older refrigerator, you can save even more on your energy bills with an energy-efficient refrigerator: ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators to use up to 40% less energy than the conventional models sold back in 2001.
Dishwashers may not use as much power as a constantly-running refrigerator or high-heat clothes dryers, but the electricity and water that is needed to run a dishwasher cycle add up. ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers are 12% more efficient than non-certified models currently for sale, and installing an energy-efficient dishwasher will save you around $25 a year.
Energy-efficient appliance rebates can increase your savings
While energy-efficient appliances can come at a price premium, they’ll save you money in the long term by reducing your electricity bills. In many cases, there are also state, local, or utility rebates that will decrease your out-of-pocket costs. Plus, if you’re getting rid of an older appliance, you may even be able to get a rebate for recycling it.
When should you invest in top energy-efficient appliances?
When you replace the appliances in your home with energy-efficient upgrades, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bill. The savings you achieve from a single energy-efficient appliance may seem small on its own, but your home appliances will last anywhere from 7-10 years – and those small monthly savings will add up over time, and in most cases, the price premium you pay will more than offset your energy savings.
That being said, the amount of money you’ll save with energy efficiency measures is dependent on how much you’re willing to invest. For example, you can shave a few dollars off your bills by replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs, but if you want to cut your bills more significantly, you’ll have to replace the appliances and systems that use the most energy.
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