Energy Savings Tips: Appliances

Replace your old fridge with a new high-efficiency model Your refrigerator accounts for almost one sixth of your home's electricity bill. Depending on the age of your refrigerator, this figure may be considerably higher. A 20-year old refrigerator or freezer can consume two to four times more than a new Energy Star qualified model. When shopping for a new refrigerator, keep in mind that top-freezer models use 10% to 15% less energy than side-by-side models. The chart below will give you an idea of what you could save by replacing an older refrigerator with one of the most energy efficient new models.

Typical savings for replacing an old 25 c.f. fridge with the most efficient new model

Age of old fridge Annual savings
Pre 1976 $300+
1976 – 86 $219
1976 – 86 $125
1987 – 89 $125
1990 – 92 $115
1993 – 2000 $73
2001-2010 $35

What others have saved: up to $300 per year

Make your refrigerator run more efficiently

  • Keep your refrigerator at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and your freezer at 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit. A fridge that is 10 degrees colder than necessary can use 25 percent more energy.
  • Don’t daydream in front of an open refrigerator. To reduce the number of times you open the fridge, plan ahead and take out everything you'll need at one time.
  • A full refrigerator runs more efficiently than an empty one. Place jugs or other containers filled with water in the fridge to take up empty space. A greater mass of cold items enables the refrigerator to recover more quickly after the door has been opened. But leave some space between items to allow the air to circulate.
  • Let hot foods cool before placing them in the refrigerator.
  • All liquids should be covered. Evaporation of liquids makes your refrigerator’s defroster work harder.
  • Every three months, clean the condenser coils located underneath or in the back of your refrigerator or freezer.
What others have saved: Varies, but little things add up fast!
Do you really need that spare fridge?
Older refrigerators are huge energy hogs. If you keep an old fridge in the basement or garage, ask yourself how often you really use it. If you can get by without it you could save hundreds of dollars per year. But make sure to dispose of it responsively. Click here for information on how to safely dispose of refrigerators and freezers.

What others have saved: up to $475 per year
If your washing machine was made before 2000, replacing it with a new Energy Star model will save water and energy. Front loading machines use considerably less water and detergent than top loaders, saving you even more money. Learn more about ENERGY STAR appliances.

What others have saved: $130 per year
Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

Laundry detergents designed to work with cold water get your clothes just as clean as in hot water.

Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes - only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor.

What others have saved: up to $50+ per year
Use your clothes dryer efficiently
  • Don't over-dry your clothes. Dryers equipped with moisture sensors automatically turn off when clothes are done, saving energy.
  • One of the easiest things you can do to increase drying efficiency is to clean the lint trap before each and every load.
  • Regularly clean your dryer’s lint filter and exhaust vent. When they become clogged, your dryer works harder and uses more energy.
  • Dry full loads. If you are washing several loads of laundry, dry them all at once. And dry two or more loads in a row to take advantage of the heat that has built up in your dryer.
  • Fold your laundry immediately after drying to reduce the need for ironing.
What others have saved: Varies, but little things add up quickly!
Upgrade to a more efficient dishwasher When you are ready to purchase a new dishwasher, check the yellow energy guide labels to find the most efficient model. If your present dishwasher was made before 1994, a new Energy Star rated model will use 40% less electricity and save enough water each week to wash 3 loads of laundry in an Energy Star clothes washer. Select the no-heat drying option to save even more energy.
What others have saved: $40 to $60 per year
Don’t pre-rinse dishes Rinsing dishes can use up to 20 gallons of water before the dishes are even loaded. Just scrape food off dishes. Your dishes will get just as clean and you’ll save money on water and energy. If you do choose to rinse dishes, use cold water. If your dirty dishes sit overnight, use your dishwasher's rinse feature. It uses a fraction of the water needed to hand rinse.

What others have saved: Varies, but little things add up quickly!
More efficient dish washing tips
  • Don’t wash dishes by hand. Running a full load in your dishwasher uses less water and energy. Hand washing uses much more water and all that water needs to be heated. Use the shortest wash cycle that will clean your dishes properly and turn off the heated drying feature to save even more.
  • If you are buying a new dishwasher, look for ENERGY STAR qualified models with features like air power drying and overnight drying settings.
  • Scrape dishes instead of rinsing them in hot water before loading. If you choose to rinse your dishes, use cold water.
  • Keep your dishwasher drains and filters clean.
What others have saved: Varies, but little things add up quickly!
Energy efficient appliance rebate programs Your purchase of a new Energy Star qualified appliance may be eligible for a cash rebate. Clickhere to learn what rebates are available where you live

What others have saved: Varies
Microwave ovens save money Use your microwave or toaster oven to reheat or cook small portions. You can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80 percent when using your microwave for small portions. This also helps save on a/c costs in summer, since less heat is generated when compared to using your stove or oven.

What others have saved: 50% of cooking energy costs

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