Out with the Old and In with the New…Appliances!

Image courtesy of magnetbox

As we already know, if you want to minimize your impact on the environment, you should reduce the amount of new purchases you make.  Basically, keep using your old stuff until it breaks.  There are times, however, when those rules can and should be broken.

Appliances are one of those rule breakers.  Because new appliances must meet stricter federal efficiency standards, today’s appliances use significantly less energy (up to 50% less!) than older models.  Imagine, you can have a new refrigerator, larger and with more features than your old one, and you’ll actually be saving energy.  If you buy a new dishwasher, forget pre-rinsing your dishes: if it’s Energy Star certified, the dishwasher will do it for you, saving about 20 gallons of water each time you load the dishwasher (WalletPop)!  New washing machines use less water than older models and wring more water out of clothes, so the time in the dryer is reduced.   All this adds up to less energy used and more dollars in your pocket.  In fact, over its lifetime, that new appliance will pay for itself with the money you’ll be saving on your energy and water bills.

A few things to remember when buying new appliances:

Buy the right size: If the unit is too big, it will waste energy; conversely, if it’s too small, you’ll be running multiple loads and using more energy than one large load.  And when the appliance is in use, it should be full.  A full fridge is more efficient because it loses less coolness every time the door is opened.  Dishwashers use the same amount of energy whether they are full or not and washing machines actually clean better when washing a full load.

Make sure your appliance is Energy Star certified: Energy Star products actually exceed the minimum efficiency requirements set by the federal government (NRDC).  Click to see how a product earns the Energy Star label.

Is it CEE rated?  CEE complements the Energy Star rating and is only applied to super-efficient appliances.

And don’t forget to check with your municipality for the proper way to dispose of old appliances.  You can also go on the EPA’s e-cycling page to find out more about recycling old appliances and where you can bring yours.

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