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Upgrade Your Inefficient Old Appliances

If your appliances are more than 10 years old, they are probably using 70-90 percent more power than new models. You can significantly cut energy use by replacing them.
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Many people believe that keeping old appliances is a form of recycling. But this is only half right. True, you’re not clogging up the landfills, but keeping the old stuff isn’t necessarily the greenest choice either.

Appliances account for about 17% of your home energy consumption, with refrigerators, and clothes washers and dryers at the top of the consumption list. So, if you’ve got appliances that are more than 10 to 15 years old, they are probably using 70 to 90 percent more power than new models, and you can make a significant cut in energy use by replacing them.

And because many retailers will take your old appliances and recycle them (as will some collectors, like 1-800-GotJunk), you don’t have to fear that your old model will be lying in a landfill for thousands of years. Just ask a few questions before you buy.

When you’re shopping for appliances, think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price—think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You’ll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance.

When you do shop for a new appliance, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star products usually exceed minimum federal standards by a substantial amount.

This appliance shopping guide lists some of the major appliances that carry the Energy Star label and provides helpful information on what to look for when shopping for an appliance.

To help you figure out whether an appliance is energy efficient, the federal government requires most appliances to display the bright yellow and black EnergyGuide label. Although these labels will not tell you which appliance is the most efficient, they will tell you the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance so you can compare them yourself.

Saving energy is so important that Federal and State Governments have created tax credits of up to $1,500 as well as other incentives for purchasing Energy Star appliances—even Energy Star has a rebate locator.

With so many retailers offering great sales and incentives on appliances these days to get you to come to their store, now is a great time to save lots of money and energy!

This article was excerpted from my book Sustainability Starts at Home – How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. For more money-saving, planet-friendly tips, check out the book by clicking below.

About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.

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