Choosing the Best Energy-Efficient Appliances for Your Home
There are many small changes you can make in your home to reduce your energy use, but it’s also important to think bigger. Energy-efficient appliances can make a significant difference on your power bill. Because they are a substantial investment, it’s key to do your research to understand which shapes, sizes, styles, and setups will work best for your home.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® label
When you shop for a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These products exceed minimum federal standards for energy efficiency by a substantial amount.
Check out the EnergyGuide label
The easiest way to compare each appliance’s energy use is to read the model's black and yellow EnergyGuide label. The label displays a sliding scale, which details the appliance's estimated annual operating cost within the range of costs of similar models.
Plan your layout
Before you purchase or install any new appliances, think about your layout. If at all possible, don’t put your refrigerator next to another appliance. Ovens, dishwashers, and other appliances that create heat make your refrigerator and freezer work harder to stay cool — wasting energy.
Consider these tips when choosing each appliance:
Washer — ENERGY STAR washers clean clothes using 40% less water and 25% less energy than regular washers. They also have a larger capacity, which means you can do fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry. Carefully consider the size for your family when choosing a washer, because while a larger model will hold more, it’ll also use more energy.
Dryer — When you’re looking for a new clothes dryer, be sure to select one with a moisture sensor. This helpful feature automatically detects when your clothes are dry and turns off the appliance to save you energy.
Refrigerator — Be sure to select the size that’s right for your household. Generally, the larger the refrigerator, the more energy it uses, so if you don’t need the extra space, choose a smaller fridge. Look for refrigerators with the freezer on top, as they are more energy efficient than models with the freezer on the bottom or side. Consider skipping features like icemakers and water dispensers that use more energy.
Oven — Gas ovens and ranges are more efficient than electric options. Look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system, which only turns on when you’re using the appliance, instead of burning continuously. Consider purchasing smaller appliances like a toaster oven or convection oven for small meals instead of using your large stove or oven — they use one-third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
Dishwasher — Choosing a dishwasher with several wash cycle options (like half load or light wash) will help you use the lowest amount of energy and water possible, while still getting your dishes clean. The size of your dishwasher can also help you save energy. If you have a small household, consider a compact model, which uses less energy but holds fewer dishes. Keep in mind that if you have to run it more frequently it may cause an increase in energy use, so in this case a standard model might better meet your needs.
When you’ve checked all of these projects off of your to-do list, check out our outdoor projects to make your home even more energy efficient.