Many families are looking for new ways to tighten their belts and stretch their dollars to make ends meet. While this is not always easy, frugal living can help families accomplish their personal financial goals. Appliances are responsible for nearly sixty percent of the average home’s utility bills. One way to save money on utilities is by purchasing energy-efficient appliances.
What to look for in energy-efficient appliances
When comparing energy efficiency in appliance models, buyers can check out energy guide labels that display energy use and operating costs between like appliances. The comparison scale model shows the least and the most amount of energy used by similar appliances, along with energy usage for the labeled model. The energy guide is based on U.S. Government tests and national average costs for electricity usage and can be found on many appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dryers, water heaters, central air conditioners, heat pumps, and pool heaters. Buyers will want to purchase an appliance model that uses the least amount of energy while still performing satisfactorily. Buyers can find energy-efficient appliances by searching for models with the “Energy Star” label.
Shopping strategy for energy-efficient appliances
Once shoppers make up their minds to start saving money on utility bills by purchasing energy-efficient appliances, they need a good shopping strategy to find the best appliance deals.
- Determine the size and style of the appliance before making a purchase. Buyers must measure the space where the new appliance will be stored, to make sure it is a good fit. It is important to have enough room for the appliance to operate efficiently, including sufficient space for ventilation purposes.
- Have an idea of where to shop for a new energy-efficient appliance. Appliance stores, local retail discount stores, and electronics stores all carry energy-efficient appliance models. In addition, check the internet and store catalogs, where buyers can sometimes find these models on sale.
- Decide which features are desirable in an appliance such as noise level, safety features, energy usage, and reliability. Find out about extended warranties (they are generally not worth the cost) and whether a repairman will come to the home if there is an issue after the appliance is purchased.
- Do not base appliance purchases on cost or the attractiveness of the appliance alone. Many people make this mistake and end up paying more overall. It is important to also consider how much it will cost to operate the appliance. The Energy Guide label can help make this information easier to understand.
- Ask the retailer about special incentives for purchasing energy-efficient appliance models and how buyers can qualify to receive these deals. The local energy utility company may be a good resource of information about energy-efficient appliance incentives available in the local area.
How much money can I really save with energy-efficient appliances?
Home owners may wonder if the savings are really worth the extra expense that comes with the cost of new energy-efficient appliance models over traditional appliances that were manufactured without energy efficiency being a top priority.
Washing machines and dishwashers use far less water than models that are only five or ten years old. A refrigerator is also an appliance that can use a tremendous amount of energy in the home. Compressors are located at the bottom of a refrigerator. As the heat rises, the appliance must work harder to keep the food cold. The compressor also releases a large amount of heat, which makes it more difficult to cool the home. Newer, energy-efficient refrigerators are better insulated with superior compressors to help keep energy costs down.
Older heating and cooling systems are also “energy hogs.” The new Energy Star heating and cooling systems use approximately 10 percent less energy than older traditional heating and cooling units. Once a home owner has replaced all his old, inefficient appliances with energy-efficient models; he may find he is saving several hundred dollars a year on utility bills.
It only makes sense to replace older appliances that use energy inefficiently with new energy-efficient appliances. They are good for the environment and will also save on energy bills. With appliances, the best deal is not always necessarily the lowest price. The newer, energy-efficient models may cost more to purchase; however, the savings in energy bills in the long run will be well worth the cost.