The appliances that are in our homes – washers, dryers, fridges and stoves – play a major role in our lives. They do a lot for us, from cleaning dishes, clothes, storing food, and more, but what you may not realize is they add to your monthly electric bill and they put increasing power demands on your local power company.
Buying energy efficient appliances and using your existing appliances in a more responsible and eco friendly manner will help you to lower your monthly power bill, take pressure off your local power company and help reduce your impact on our environment. Here are some tips and suggestions about making your appliances as eco-friendly as possible whether that involve buying new appliances or using and maintaining them in an environmentally friendly and responsible way.
Ready to Buy
Buying a big ticket item like a new home appliance is a major commitment. When you’ve decided that it’s time for a new appliance then look for a few things that will make your appliance eco friendly:
Features/Settings: The latest appliances have a lot of extra features, buttons and settings that you may or may not need or want. A few common energy efficient features you will need are: cold water setting on the washer, air drying for the dishwasher, and energy saving for the dishwasher.
Size: The larger the appliance, the more power that will consume when working, so think twice about getting that heavy-duty washer.
Energy Star: This program was designed by the US Department of Energy and the Environment Protection Agency. The label appears on many home appliances that these two agencies have designated as being more energy efficient than their older counterparts. Appliances with the Energy Star label can cost more than 40% higher than regular appliances; however, they will reduce by half your daily energy usage.
Energy Saving Tips
Your current appliances can be transformed into energy efficient machines by looking at how they are used in your household.
Disconnect: Appliances such as the coffee maker, microwave and other devices continue to draw power even when you hit the ‘off’ switch. This is a known energy waster referred to as phantom loads. You are paying to power these devices that are supposedly ‘off.’ Unplug the appliances that are not being used.
Frequency: Start with taking a calendar and for one week write on it what appliances were used. Now, ask yourself a few questions: Could those dishes have been hand washed? Do I really need to do laundry on three different days? Depending on your family/lifestyle it can be possible to cut down on the frequency you use your appliances which will help to power your energy and power consumption. For example, only run the dishwasher, washer/dryer when you have full loads of items that need to clean. Instead of using the stove’s burners for boiling water, dig out the electric kettle or use the microwave (microwave’s use much less power than the stove). Use the microwave to reheat leftovers.
Settings: Most of our appliances have a lot of features that you may or may not need to use. For example, if you pre-rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher then there is no need to use that setting on the dishwasher. Also, select the no-heat drying option as the dishes will dry in the dishwasher like they would air drying on the counter.
Laundry: Laundry is a common chore that is a big user of water and power in our home. To help lower the power bill then here are a few suggestions: Wash clothes in cold water to reduce power consumption. When you wash clothes in hot water about 90% of the power goes to heating the water. Instead of using the dryer to dry clothes, hang them outside and give your clothes that clean fresh smell. If you have more than one load to do each day then do them together to use the heat from the first load to dry the next – thereby reducing the power used to dry the next load.
Care and Follow-Up
Be aware that your appliance use is a big part of being an eco friendly appliance owner. This is important to provide your appliance with a long and happy life.
Appliance Checkup: You take your car into the garage for regular maintenance, so why not give your appliances a proper tune up? Read your appliance’s owner manual, as it will explain regular cleaning you can perform to maintaining your appliance such as, cleaning out the dryer vents, vacuuming the fridge’s coils, using vinegar in the dishwasher, coffee maker as a natural cleaning product.
Repairs: When your car has a bad spark plug you don’t get a new car – you fix the plug. The same principle applies to your appliance. If the dishwasher starts acting up (i.e. not cleaning the dishes) then begin by researching the problem. You will be able to locate information about the issue and discover the steps to help you get your dishwasher or any other appliance back in tip top shape. Repairing your home appliance will keep it around that much longer, and it’s one less item that ends up in the landfill.
Being an eco friendly appliance owner means being aware of the decisions we make and the impact they have in our lives. Making small modifications to our lifestyle will go a long way to helping our precious earth and future generations. Start today to make changes to help build a greener future and a brighter tomorrow.
Jeremy Godfrey works at EasyApplianceParts as a Community Coordinator. He is passionate about the environment, saving money and doing it yourself.