Replacing household appliances with energy-efficient models leads to substantial savings on your energy bill, but it comes with a hefty initial investment.
Maybe you’re not ready to make that big-ticket purchase or perhaps you already have upgraded and are looking for other ways to save. The good news is there are little things you can do to cut back on energy usage right now — without buying a whole new appliance. Adopt a handful of these small strategies and they’ll help you save money with your household appliances.
If you are in need of an appliance upgrade, be sure to check for Best Buy coupons before you shop!
1. Got an old, half-full refrigerator in the garage? If you fully utilize it, great, but if not, you may want to consider getting rid of it because it’s sucking up valuable energy.
Savings: Use the Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator to determine how much you could save. A refrigerator manufactured before 1993 could be costing you close to $300 a year to run.
2. Keep your refrigerator around 38 degrees. At that temperature your food will stay safe without wasting energy. Test the temperature by placing a candy thermometer in a glass of water and putting it on the middle shelf for 24 hours.
Savings: A fridge that’s kept 10 degrees colder than necessary wastes 25% more energy.
3. Check for a tight seal. Test your fridge by closing the door on a piece of paper. If you’re able to pull it through easily, then it may be time to replace the seal.
4. Skip the hand washing. Energy star models wash dishes more efficiently. Also, avoid the urge to semi-hand wash. Scrape plates but skip the pre-rinse, your newer model dishwasher will do the rest.
Savings: $40 annually.
5. Let dishes air-dry. New models have an air-dry switch and will shut off automatically. Otherwise, you can manually turn it off. Using a rinse-aid can speed up air-drying and keep dishes spot-free.
6. Use the shortest wash cycle that will get dishes clean. Energy star models have soil sensors that adjust to the load.
Washer & dryer
7. Save hot water for grease stains. Clothes will get just as clean in cold water.
Savings: $30 annually.
8. Use the sensor-drying feature instead of timed dry. The dryer will automatically shut off when clothes are dry.
Savings: $34 annually when you reduce over-drying by 15 minutes per load.
9. Clean the lint trap. Not only can it be a fire hazard but it impairs your dryer’s efficiency.
Savings: $34 annually.
10. Water heaters should be set between 120-140 degrees. Most households can get away with 120 degrees, but check your dishwasher’s manual to see what temperature it requires.
Savings: $30 annually for every 10 degrees you turn it down.
11. If you’ll be away longer than a weekend, you may want to turn your water heater down. Many have a “low” or “vacation mode.” Be sure to give yourself a couple hours to reheat the tank before jumping in the shower when you return.
12. Switch to a low-flow showerhead. You can find them for less than $20 at home improvement stores. Look for one with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
Savings: Up to 16% on water heating costs.
Bonus: Energy Star rebates
If you’re upgrading to an energy-efficient model, be sure to check for eligible rebates. Check with your utility company to see if they have a recycling program for old appliances, too. In some cases, you may be able to get free pickup and even a cash incentive.