If you are trying to save money on energy, many people will recommend that you replace your appliances with energy-efficient models. However, savings with this strategy really depends on a few factors. How old and inefficient are your current appliances? Will the cost of new appliances outweigh the energy savings? Here's a closer look at how you can determine if energy efficient appliances will save you money.
Look at the Operating Costs
When you shop for energy efficient appliances, always look for ones that carry the Energy Guide label. This yellow tag should tell you the annual operating cost of the appliance. Compare this to the cost of operating your current appliance to calculate your annual energy savings.
If your current appliance is more than a few years old, annual operating cost data may not be available for it. In this case, you can assume that a new model uses far less energy since appliances made more than 10 years ago were much less efficient.
Consider the Age of Your Appliances
Should you take the cost of the appliance into account when calculating your savings? Well, that depends. If your appliances are old and need to be replaced anyway, then you are not really spending extra money to upgrade to more efficient models. On the other hand, if your appliances are only a few years old and are working fine, upgrading to a more energy-efficient model is a bit of a luxury move -- and it may not be worth it if you don't save a substantial amount on energy each month.
Ovens typically last about 15 years, dryers and refrigerators about 13, and dishwashers and microwaves about 9. If your appliances are older than this, upgrading to an energy-efficient model is certainly worth it.
Consider the Appliance
Some appliances are used more frequently than others and thus will result in greater energy savings. Refrigerators, for example, run all day every day -- and old refrigerators are also notoriously inefficient. So, upgrading your refrigerator will save you more than, say, upgrading the microwave that you use three times a week. If you need new appliances anyway, choosing the most energy-efficient models will save you a bundle. On the other hand, if your appliances are relatively new and working well, you won't save as much by upgrading. For more energy-saving advice, check out our post "Keeping Cool Without Breaking the Bank."
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