May is an Ideal Month to Make Energy Efficient Upgrades
Are ENERGY STAR appliances worth the investment? At Walton EMC, we hear that question a lot. Our answer: In most instances, yes they are.
Since May is an ideal month to make a major appliance purchase, now is a good time to examine the facts about ENERGY STAR products and their potential value to your energy budget.
Many of the appliances for sale in the U.S. bear the ENERGY STAR label, a mark indicating that it is certified by the U.S. Department of Energy. The certification means an appliance uses less energy than its conventional, non-energy efficient counterparts that are available in stores.
These energy efficient appliances often come at a price premium, so it’s reasonable to wonder if they’re truly worth it.
First, consider this: Major home appliances – including clothes washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers – account for about 20 percent of the average home’s monthly electric bill.
Now, do the math: The average home appliance lasts for 10 to 20 years, and an ENERGY STAR-certified appliance will use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy each year than a non-energy efficient equivalent.
Reduce your electric bill by replacing older appliances
with ENERGY STAR certified models.
You can reduce your energy bill a little each month by replacing major home appliances — especially those over a decade old — with ENERGY STAR certified models. The investment can add up to significant energy savings over the normal life of the appliances.
Facts and Figures
To nail down the details, Walton EMC energy advisors compiled these noteworthy facts and figures from Energystar.gov for some of the most popular major home appliances.
Dryers are the biggest power guzzlers in the average American home. ENERGY STAR certified dryers use about 20 percent less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features or performance. This averages $180 in energy cost savings over the lifetime of the dryer.
Certified models use innovative energy-saving technologies, such as moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry and automatically shut off the dryer. These electricity-saving stars don’t skimp on the good stuff, either. Many include convenience features, such as steam cycles that help prevent wrinkles.
Fast fact: About 80 percent of American homes have a clothes dryer. If all clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified, American consumers could save more than $1.5 billion each year in utility costs.
The average American family washes
about 300 loads of laundry each year.
The average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry each year. Cleaning up with an ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washer uses about 25 percent less electricity and 33 percent less water than standard washers.
Energy-efficient clothes washers typically have a greater tub capacity, which means you can wash fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry. Top-load models clean using sophisticated wash systems that include sensors to monitor incoming water levels and temperature.
Fast fact: There are about 76 million top-loading washers, 25 million of which are at least 10 years old, still in use across the country. Any washer over a decade old costs an additional $190 in energy and water each year.
If you have an old refrigerator in your kitchen — or worse, the garage or basement — it might rival your clothes dryer as an energy hog.
Thanks to improvements in refrigerator technology, ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators use up to 40 percent less energy than models sold before 2002. They are about 9 percent more energy efficient compared to other current models that only meet the federal minimum energy standard.
Fast fact: More than 69 million (about 36 percent) of the refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers currently in use in the U.S. are over 10 years old, costing consumers $4.9 billion a year in energy costs.
Dishwasher technology has improved dramatically over the last decade, and new ENERGY STAR certified models include innovations that reduce energy and water consumption as well as improve performance.
ENERGY STAR dishwashers are 12 percent
more energy efficient than non-certified models.
ENERGY STAR dishwashers are 12 percent more energy efficient than non-certified models currently for sale. Installing an energy-efficient dishwasher is estimated to save around $25 a year in utility bills. A certified model also saves, on average, 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.
Newer models feature innovations such as soil sensors that test how dirty dishes are and adjust the cycle to achieve optimum cleaning with minimum water and energy use. Also, more efficient jets use less energy to spray detergent and water over the dishes.
Your overall returns on investing in an ENERGY STAR appliance are dependent on how inefficient the replaced appliances were. Though replacing newer models can lower operating costs, savings are more drastic when energy-efficient alternatives are substituted for older conventional appliances.
To help you make an informed buying decision, the U.S. Department of Energy offers savings calculators for a variety of ENERGY STAR appliances and products.
For energy savings calculators and product listings,
Shop in May
Every appliance comes with two price tags: the purchase price and the cost of operating the product. ENERGY STAR certified appliances help consumers save money on operating costs, but strategic shopping can significantly reduce what you initially pay for those appliances.
During Memorial Day weekend, consumers can expect big box stores to rival their Black Friday prices. Last year, retailers discounted select appliances by about 40 percent.
Rebates are also plentiful. Check out the May is Maytag Month promotion, during which the manufacturer typically offers its best rebates.
May is the very best time to buy a refrigerator, reminds moneycrashers.com. The reason: Most manufacturers roll out their new refrigerator models in the summer, so last year’s models are deeply discounted during the Memorial Day sales period.
If you plan to say “yes” to ENERGY STAR appliances, the ideal investment time is fast approaching. Be ready for May sales by using the ENERGY STAR Product Finder to search for model specifications, current pricing and local retailers.