Eventually, we are all going to need to replace old/broken appliances in our homes. Selecting the appropriate energy-saving models can save homeowners money in the long-term.

Energy Star appliances are generally accepted as the best energy-saving appliances on the market. Energy Star regularly updates the its criteria -- meaning that every year the requirements to be considered Energy Star Certified become a bit more strict -- saving you more energy and money.

The life expectancy of major home appliances vary. Below is guidance on how long appliances typically last.


New, standard refrigerators operate with 40-60% less energy than models prior to 2000. The average cost of a new refrigerator is $1,100 -- a significant investment, but one that can pay for itself within a few years ($100-$200 a year) if your current refrigerator is from the 1990s.

However, if your current refrigerator model was manufactured after 2000, the likely energy cost savings will be between $5-$20 a year. Unless you are already replacing a broken refrigerator, upgrading to a newer model in this circumstance is likely not going to yield significant energy cost savings.

TIP: Still looking to increase the efficiency of your refrigerator from the 2000s? Do the following:

  • Make sure your refrigerator temperature is kept between 37-40 degrees
  • Make sure all food kept in your refrigerator is covered -- moisture from uncovered food can cause the compressor in the refrigerator to turn on more often
  • Avoid leaving the refrigerator door open too long, or opening it unnecessarily. This will decrease the energy the refrigerator may need to maintain a consistent temperature inside the appliance


New Energy Start dishwashers can use up to half of the water older standard dishwashers do, saving homeowners money on water heating and operation costs. These dishwashers are also more quiet and can clean your dishes more efficiently and effectively. The average cost of a new Energy Star dishwasher is around $550.

Unless your current dishwashing machine is broken or defunct, you can anticipating similar energy cost savings by practicing good dish washing techniques:

  • Only run full loads of dishes to maximize the water and energy used per cycle
  • Make sure that your water temperature is set low -- approximately 130 degrees
  • Soak dishes in hot water in the kitchen sink for a few minutes before loading the dishwasher. This decreases the likelihood of needing to run a second cycle
  • Make sure to turn your dishwasher off when not in use
  • If you have the option, choose a short wash-cycle time

Washing Machine

Do you have a front-load or top-load washer? These two styles of washing machine are a good indication of the age and efficiency of your current washing machine.

Traditional, top-load washers fill with water from the bottom, making more water per load necessary. Newer washing machines have moved to front-load models -- using around 50% less water and 37% less energy. The average price of a new, energy efficient washing machine is $750.

If your washer is over 10-years old or is a top-load machine, you can save up to $135 per year by switching to a new, front-load washer -- only taking you 5.5 years to make your money back! However, if your current washing machine is already a front-load model, expected energy savings will be lower and it might be in your best interest to wait to purchase a new front-loading wahsing machine until your old one breaks.

Here are some tips to make your current machine more efficient:

  • Only wash full loads of laundry, and not partial loads. This will ensure that all of the water filling to the basin of the washing machine is being used
  • Soak and pre-treat garments when necessary, and avoid double-washing
  • Use warm or cold water if your clothes are not heavily soiled

Websites We Love

Find Energy Star Appliances - Energy Star
Learn what to look for - Energy Savers, US Department of Energy
Calculate what you're using now - Energy Savers, US Department of Energy


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