Major appliances can be expensive. It’s not every day that you casually “window shop” for a new refrigerator or just “pop into” the store to pick up a washing machine. That’s why choosing the right one — one that’s energy-efficient — when you truly need it is so important.
The difference between a run-of-the-mill fridge and one that’s ENERGY STAR®-certified could mean hundreds of dollars in wasted electricity in the long run. While you might prefer the less expensive option now, the amount of electricity it will waste will cost you much more in the long run.
Though we aren’t saying you should drop $3,000 on a fridge, you should look out for certain things to know which appliances are legit (and affordable) and which ones are worth skipping.
1. Your Refrigerator
An average refrigerator is the fifth most energy-consuming device in your home, making up about 7% of your utility bill every month. Moreover, 1 out of every 4 Americans owns a second fridge, which means around 15% of their electric bill goes toward cooling down their food and beverages.
Our recommendation for lowering your energy bill? Besides potentially donating your second refrigerator to a family or nonprofit in need, review the Annual Energy Use (kWh/year) for your potential new appliance. This is how much energy the appliance will likely use in an average year. Ideally, you want to find one around 300 kWh/year. To put this number into perspective, an average Texas resident uses around 1,000 kWh per month.
An easy way to spot this is to look for the blue ENERGY STAR label — AKA the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. While many people believe that ENERGY STAR appliances aren’t affordable, innovations in energy efficiency have utterly changed the appliance game. ENERGY STAR appliances are affordable and for everyone.
2. Your Washing Machine
If you had to pick one appliance to switch over the ENERGY STAR label before your current one’s out of commission, it would be your clothes washer — hands-down. High efficiency (HE) washers not only use 33% less water than regular ones, but they also use a quarter of the electricity and save on average $370 in energy costs over their lifetime!
Moreover, your current washer could actually be costing you money. Studies show that washers that are 10 years old (or older) can cost you on average $185 a year more than their counterparts.1 Yikes!
Now, washers aren’t cheap, but check out the ENERGY STAR clothes washers page for the most energy-efficient washers of 2021. You’d be surprised at how affordable some models can be given their energy-saving benefits and technology.
3. Your Dryer
It’s true that ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes dryers aren’t as efficient as their washing machine counterparts, using only around 20% less energy. But they definitely should not be looked over, as you can save approximately $215 in energy costs over the appliance’s lifetime.
A few extra things you should be looking out for when choosing a dryer include:2
- The ENERGY STAR emblem
- Whether the machine uses timed drying or sensor drying, which can help with reducing wasted electricity
- A low heat setting, which uses less energy than high heat dryers
4. Your Dishwasher
You’re not going to believe this, but an ENERGY STAR dishwasher will cost you a whopping $35 to run — for an entire year!3 These devices are loaded with cool gadgets, such as soil sensors that detect how dirty your dishes are, so they can use enhanced water filtration and efficient jets that use less water.
However, the catch is that dishwashers are one of the more expensive home appliances on this list. So, unlike your washing machine (where we recommended you consider purchasing it before your old one retires), you might not want to purchase a new dishwasher until you really need one.
5. Your Freezer (if Applicable)
Arguably the most luxury item on this list, an extra freezer is not commonplace in many households today. Not only does your refrigerator already have one, but it’s just one more appliance you have to buy.
However, if you just can’t quit your love for your deep freeze, then you might want to consider an ENERGY STAR version the next time you need a new one. On average, these devices use a little bit more electricity than a refrigerator, but replacing your old freezer right now with an ENERGY STAR one can save you just under $200 in just the next five years.
Why Energy Efficiency is So Important Now, Tomorrow and Forever
Our environment is important. We must take care of it, and that includes choosing appliances that help avoid wasted energy and cut down on emissions. It’s a classic case of voting with your dollars.
Not only will these appliances save you money, but they’ll also save the environment — a benefit near and dear to our hearts at Chariot Energy. We’ll always advocate for cleaner energy and a greater understanding of energy efficiency. Because that’s the way forward to a better, brighter and cleaner future for us all.