Whether you’re upgrading the appliances in your current home, or purchasing and installing appliances in a new home, appliances offer homeowners the chance to improve their quality of life, save money on utility bills, and do right by the environment, all in one easy step. If you’ve been searching for a no-nonsense guide to purchasing green home appliances, look no further. You’ve come to the right place.
The Cost of Green Appliances
First and foremost, homeowners want to know what it will cost to go green with their appliances. The easy answer is that you’ll pay a little more upfront for energy-efficient home appliances than you will for appliances that aren’t included in this elite club. Then again, things aren’t always what they seem when it comes to going green. For starters, by replacing all of your appliances with high-efficiency units, you can cut down on appliance related energy use in your home by as much as 30 percent. And since new washers and dryers are bigger, new dishwashers are better designed, new stoves heat quicker and more efficiently, and new refrigerators and ovens are easier to access, you’ll reduce the time you spend doing laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and performing other appliance centered tasks. Finally, add to all that the satisfaction that comes in knowing you’re doing everything in your power to create a better world for your kids and grandkids.
How to Green Your Appliances
So what can you do to make sure your home is as green as they come when it comes to home appliances? Here’s a host of suggestions to help you find the most environmentally friendly appliances in the business.
- Purchase Horizontal Axis Washing Machines—A horizontal (rather than vertical) axis washing machine can save you $120 a year on your utility bills, offsetting the higher price tag in a few short years. Add to that the fact that they fit into tighter spaces, run quieter, and allow you to wash larger loads with less detergent, and going horizontal when you shop for a clothes washer should be a no brainer.
- Use a Sealed Combustion Clothes Dryer—Sealed combustion gas dryers save money over time by using less energy while drying your clothes. They’re also healthier since they reduce exhaust gases that escape into your home.
- Purchase Dryers with Moisture and Temperature Sensors—These dryers have moisture and temperature gauges that adjust or shut off the dryer as the load dries. In addition to reducing energy consumption, it’s also easier on your clothes, so you won’t have to buy new ones nearly as often.
- Install a Clothesline—The cheapest appliance is no appliance, and where drying your clothes is concerned, the most cost effective and environmentally friendly clothes dryer in the world rises in the east and sets in the west 365 days a year.
- Install a Low Water Use Dishwasher—Energy-efficient dishwashers use less water, which can equate to a 25 percent reduction in the energy usage attributed to cleaning your dishes, as well as a drop in home water usage. If you really want to cut costs, turn your water heater down to 120 degrees, as well.
- Buy the Best Refrigerator Possible—Refrigerators and freezers account for the single biggest draw of electricity associated with appliances in your home. If you replace a 20-year-old model with an ENERGY STAR rated fridge, you’ll save enough electricity in a year to light your home for three months! Unhook the ice dispenser, and you’ll cut your refrigerators energy consumption by another 20 percent. And as an added bonus: new units are also quieter and more reliable.
A Quick Word on ENERGY STAR Labels
If you do happen to find yourself shopping for a new appliance, finding an energy-efficient model has never been easier. Simply look for an ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR appliances, which have to meet set government requirements regarding energy efficiency, can reduce your household energy consumption attributed to appliances by 30 percent, and have the potential to save American households as much as $100 billion over the next 15 years.
Which Shade of Green is Right for You?
While thinking green when it comes to home appliances is a smart choice for your pocketbook and the environment, it’s not unusual for homeowners to feel a little overwhelmed when presented with the full scope of green appliance options. If you’re feeling unsure about how green you’re willing to go with your new appliances, there’s no need to worry. Going green isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, and any step you take in a green direction is a smart one, whether you put up a clothesline, buy a more efficient refrigerator, or upgrade your entire home with high efficiency, ENERGY STAR labeled appliances.
If you think green is the right choice for your appliance needs, talk with your contractor about purchasing energy-efficient models or seek out the services of a green consulting firm so that you can be sure your new appliances are as green as they come.