Although heating and cooling accounts for a large amount of energy costs, major appliances can also add to your electricity bill. In many cases, older appliances don't work as effectively as newer energy efficient models. Upgrading to new Energy Star certified models can be one way to reduce your energy costs. However, most homeowners can't afford to upgrade a dishwasher, refrigerator, clothes washer or clothes dryer all at once. One tactic is to target the most inefficient appliance and replace that one first. Although every homeowner has a different set of appliances, the U.S. EPA has provided an estimate for the consumption of each device. Ranked in order of highest energy consumption to lowest of the appliances evaluated, the appliances are:
- Clothes Dryer
- Clothes Washer
According to the EPA, the clothes dryer uses a massive 769 kWh (kilowatt-hours, a unit of energy). The refrigerator and clothes washer are a close second. Both utilize about 600 kWh. The dishwasher only uses about 200 kWh. Homeowners that want to reduce their energy consumption by replacing a single machine may want to target the clothes dryer. Energy Star certified clothes dryers are about 20% more efficient than their conventional counterparts. Although this doesn't sound like a big improvement, if all the clothes dryers in the U.S. were upgraded to Energy Star models, Energy Star predicts that the upgrade would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to 2 million vehicles. Homeowners can reduce their own small carbon footprint by upgrading to an Energy Star appliance.
Over the life of the appliance, Energy Star estimates that upgrading your clothes dryer will save about $200 in electricity costs. This number increases if you pair an Energy Star clothes washer with the dryer. The two are meant to work together. The efficient washers spin the clothes at a faster rate than conventional washers. The rotation pulls water out of the clothes. Therefore, the clothes are not as wet when they are put in the dryer. An Energy Star clothes washer is 25% more efficient than a conventional one and will also use less water. Together, an Energy Star washer and dryer should save homeowners a substantial amount of money in electricity costs.
Homeowners that want to decrease their energy consumption without replacing every major appliance can start by target inefficient clothes washers and dryers. Switching to Energy Star certified washers and dryers is an easy way to decrease energy consumption from doing laundry by more than 20%.
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