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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. By choosing energy-efficient models, you can help both your bank account and the environment when you replace your old appliances.
Old vs. New Appliances
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 electricity costs by replacing them.
You don’t need to splurge and replace all the old appliances at once. Choose the worst offenders first. And if you’re worried about what to do with the old ones, many retailers will recycle them (as will some collectors, like 1-800-GotJunk), so 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.
Here’s five reasons why you should replace your inefficient appliances.
1. Energy Efficiency
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 greatly exceed minimum federal standards for energy efficiency, and can save you hundreds of dollars in electricity costs every year.
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 efficient appliance.
To help you select products, the federal government requires most appliances to display a 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.
2. Wrong Size Appliances
If you bought your house with appliances already in it, they might be the wrong size for your family or your space. For example, if your large refrigerator is almost always half empty, you’re paying to refrigerate space you’re not even using.
Or if you had an air conditioner installed in a window when you moved in, the unit might be too big or too small to properly cool the square footage of the room. Replace incorrectly-sized appliances with models that fit your home and lifestyle.
Sometimes an appliance’s performance will just slowly worsen over the years. The machine just doesn’t clean as well, or keep things as cold as it did when it was new. This is a sign that while the appliance technically may be working, it’s probably best to start researching replacements.
4. End of Lifespan
All home appliances have an estimated lifespan. If your machine is approaching its maximum life expectancy, it is probably time to replace it. Dryers, refrigerators, and electric stoves should last for about 13 years. Washing machines should function well for a decade, and dishwashers and microwaves should have a lifespan of roughly nine years. This of course depends on how much the appliance is used. Daily-use appliances might need to be replaced sooner.
5. Environmental Concerns
Old appliances aren’t just energy inefficient, they often also contribute to pollution and wasted resources. For example, if your dishwasher is old, you’re probably wasting water by rinsing your dishes in the sink before you load them. Many new models of dishwashers can clean a dish without needing to be rinsed first, and use much less water per load than if you washed them all by hand in the sink.
By choosing energy-efficient models, you can help both your bank account and the environment when you replace your old appliances. With so many retailers offering great sales and incentives on appliances throughout the year, plus available Energy Star rebates, it’s a great time to save lots of money and energy!