Appliances account for about 20% of your household's energy consumption, with refrigerators and clothes dryers at the top of the consumption list.
When you're shopping for appliances, you can 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 will be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 20 years; room air conditioners and dishwashers, about 10 years each; washers, about 14 years.
When you do have to shop for a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR® appliances have been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and DOE as being the most energy-efficient products in their classes. They usually exceed minimum federal standards by a substantial amount. The 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.
10 Low Cost Energy-Saving Tips:
1. Install water flow restrictors and aerators in sink faucets. These measures can save you money by reducing water use (including hot water).
2. Replace air filters regularly. Replacing a dirty air filter can save money by reducing the amount of time your a/c or furnace stays on.
3. Seal exterior cracks and holes, and ensure tight-fitting windows. Small cracks or holes in the building exterior can really add up to substantial heating or cooling losses.
4. Shade sun-exposed windows and walls. Sunlight streaming through windows can substantially increase your air-conditioning costs. Use shading methods (like sun screens, awnings, and trees) wherever possible.
5. Replace your most frequently used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL). CFLs use only about a third as much electricity as standard light bulbs.
6. Replace outdoor lighting with a motion-detector equipped bulb or fixture. Outdoor lights that are left on all night add to your power bill.
7. Install a low-flow shower head. Low-flow shower heads will reduce the amount of hot water you use and the energy needed to heat it.
8. Perform low-cost fireplace modifications. Adding a flue-top damper or glass doors can save energy when the fireplace is not in use.
9. Install programmable thermostats. These devices will change the temperature setting when you are not home.
10. Install automatic room-lighting controls. Similar to programmable thermostats, these devices help optimize lighting use by automatically turning lights on or off, depending on occupancy or time of day.
- Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded.
- Let your dishes air dry; if you don't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse. If needed, prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.
- Run your dishwasher during off-peak hours. (Check with your utility company for off-peak hours.)
- Wash clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents when possible.
- Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
- When drying clothes, use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
- When possible hang clothes out to dry.
- Do your laundry during off-peak hours. (Check with your utility company for off-peak hours.)
Refrigerator/Freezer Energy Tips:
- Don't keep refrigerators or freezers too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5°F for the freezer section.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make your refrigerator work harder.
- Separate freezers should be kept at 0°F.
- Keep freezer full of ice when not full of food. An empty freezer cost more to run than a full one.
(Source: US Department of Energy)
Energy - Saving Tips:
- Time of Use
- Water Heating
- ENERGY STAR
- ENERGY STAR Recycle My Old Fridge Campaign
- EPA's GreenScapes