The main benefits of energy-efficient appliances include saving money on operating costs and utility bills and protecting the environment by conserving energy. Energy-efficient models save money with lower operating costs — using 30 to 50 percent less energy than many older appliances, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
When an old appliance breaks down, the cost of repairs can make replacement a better option. We recommend replacing instead of repairing when appliances are beyond their life expectancy or when repairs are more than 50 percent of the cost of replacement.
If your major appliance breaks down at a bad time for you financially, you may still be able to take advantage of the money-saving option of buying an energy-efficient model with the help of federal tax credits and state rebates and incentives that make it easier to finance new appliance purchases. States with sales tax incentives such as state tax credits or sales tax exemptions on Energy Star models include Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, and Oregon. For state rebates, loan programs, tax deductions and other financial incentives for energy efficiency, check the U.S. Department of Energy database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency.
Take a look at the Energy Guide labels on refrigerators at any appliance store to compare annual energy consumption and operating costs. Energy-efficient refrigerators use at least 50 percent less energy than older models and can save up to £100 per year on utilities. Keep the efficiency of different types of refrigerators in mind when comparison shopping. Remember that a large refrigerator uses less energy than two smaller ones, and refrigerators with freezers on top take less energy to operate than the same size side-by-side models, according to energystar.gov.
Water heating is one of the largest home energy expenses, making up more than 10 percent of your home’s total energy costs, according to Cashnet USA. They recommend replacing water heaters that are more than 10 years old even if they are still operational because they probably operate at less than 50 percent efficiency. Natural gas units cost less to operate than electric.
Central Air Conditioners
Did you know that if your central air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star model could reduce your air conditioning energy usage by up to 20 percent? That’s a big difference in your monthly utility bill during the hot summer months. Energy ratings for central air conditioners are seasonal efficiency energy ratings (SEER) and should meet new 2006 standards. For the most energy and cost efficient operation, ducts should be sealed and insulated.
Be a smart shopper when you are in the market for new appliances. The EPA’s Energy Star website lists Energy Star appliance models and where to buy them. If you want to know which are the most energy-efficient, check out the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s yearly list.
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.