The state of the technology used in our household appliances is advancing rapidly. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and other major appliances are becoming more sophisticated and energy efficient; some are even more durable -- though no appliance lasts forever. And if you have an appliance nearing the end of its life expectancy, you should consider how affordably you may be able to make an energy efficient upgrade.
Seek Out Savings
With a little smart shopping, you can replace an aging appliance with a brand-new model that uses significantly less energy. But homeowners aren’t the only ones who win in this exchange -- reduced energy consumption makes it easier for energy and utility companies to smooth out demand, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ease the strain on the nation’s electrical grid.
That’s why the federal government, along with several state and local governments, offer special tax credits and rebates on purchases of certain energy efficient appliances. The U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR program lists on its website up-to-date information on all the federal income tax credits available for ENERGY STAR-certified purchases.
You might be able to drive your purchase price down further by checking for rebates, which you can also do on the ENERGY STAR website. Rebates vary among the government authorities and utility companies involved, so you can search based on your zip code to learn about the savings opportunities available to you.
Between the expected energy savings and the available rebates and tax credits, you should be well on your way to maximizing your savings on your energy efficient appliance upgrades. But it doesn’t always make sense to immediately replace an appliance that is still in good working condition, even if it’s using more energy than a more modern model. In most cases, you’ll stretch your dollar the farthest if you wait until each appliance is due for replacement before buying something more energy efficient.
But if you really want a better idea of how much energy each appliance is using and how much you can save with an upgrade, you can begin with a process called energy disaggregation. With the help of special devices, you can disaggregate your energy data -- breaking down real-time energy use appliance-by-appliance -- so that you have the most accurate information driving your energy efficiency decisions.
With that information, you can prioritize your appliance replacement and compare your current energy use with the projected energy consumption of the most efficient models. You’ll find details on ENERGY STAR-certified appliances on the ENERGY STAR website, and when browsing appliances at retail stores, you can always look for the black and yellow Energy Guide stickers for the relevant data.
If you’re looking for even more ways to improve your energy efficiency and stretch your dollar, reach out to a licensed, local electrician today.