Cool Ideas

Lower Your Bills With Efficient Appliances and Rebates

Is your water heater, refrigerator or washing machine old, on the fritz, inefficient or in need or constant repairs? If so, an investment in a brand-new energy efficient appliance can save you a ton of money over time! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, if a refrigerator or washing machine is over 10 years old, you're spending a lot more on energy than you need to.

Because of federal efficiency standards, any new appliance you buy today has to use less energy than the model you're replacing. In fact, one of today's energy-efficient refrigerators uses less than half the energy of a model that's 12 years old or more.

You’re doing your part to help the environment from needless pollution and saving your family a lot of money when you invest in a shiny new appliance. And because you are helping the planet, you may be eligible for a rebate. So before you shop, check out information on rebates in your state.

Here are some pointers to help you determine which models use the least energy:

  1. Look for the Energy Star label. These models actually exceed the energy efficiency minimums set by the federal government. In some parts of the country, utilities and state governments offer rebates on Energy Star-rated models. Check for details.
  2. Use the EnergyGuide label. Some salespeople might tell you that a model you're looking at is the most efficient because it has an EnergyGuide label. Not true. All new appliances must carry the EnergyGuide label, because it allows you to compare the typical annual energy consumption and operating cost of different models of any type of appliance you're shopping for.
  3. Get the right size. Oversized air conditioners, water heaters and refrigerators waste energy and money—and often, they also don't perform as well.
  4. If possible, choose appliances that run on natural gas—not electricity. It's usually more efficient to burn natural gas at the point of use – your home – than it is to burn it at a power plant, convert the heat to electricity, and send the electricity miles away to your house. So look for dryers, stoves and water heaters that use natural gas.
  5. Think ahead. Energy-efficient appliances cost more initially, but they'll save you money in the long run. Expect to keep most major appliances between 10 and 20 years. A more efficient appliance soon pays for itself, and lower monthly utility bills over the lifetime of the appliance will more than make up for a higher purchase price. In addition, the latest laundry washing machines and dishwashers not only save electricity, they also use a lot less water and can reduce your water bill.

Visit Energy Star’s Savings Calculator.

Read the entire Natural Resources Defense Council article with specific tips for each type of appliance.