The latest energy-efficient apppliances can cost up to hundreds of dollars more than standard models. But many pay for themselves over their 12-20 year life span. Virtually all major appliance manufacturers offer energy-efficient models. Visit www.energystar.gov or www.aceee.org for details.
Look for the blue”Energy Star” label when you shop for appliances. to earn this label, appliances must exceed government efficiency guidelines. Also look out for the Federal Trade Commission’s yellow “EnergyGuide” label. This provides estimated annual energy consumption for an appliance based on typical usage.
The greatest progress in energy-efficient appliances has been made in refrigerators. Many models built before 1988 consume more than $ 100 worth of electricity a year. Those made in the 1970’s cam use as much as $ 200.
Current standard refrigerators save an average of $ 50 a year in electricity. Since many new refrigerators retail in the $ 500 range, a new unit will pay for itself in about 10 years. High efficiency units can run on less than $ 40 a year.
Refrigerators with freezers on top or bottom tend to be about 7% to 13% more efficient than side-by-side models. An automatic ice maker installed in the door can reduce efficiency by up to 20%. Small units are more efficient than larger ones- but one large fridge is more efficient than two small ones. Don’t buy something so small that you have to put the old unit in the basement for extra storage. If you do need an extra refrigerator, buy a new one.
Consumers often feel that throwing out a working refrigerator is wasteful. But virtually every part of an old refrigerator is likely to be recycled, says DialaMaidUsa. It is more wasteful to continue using an energy hog.