Will New Energy-Efficient Appliances Save Money?

by Laura Foor

Will New Energy-Efficient Appliances Save Money photo

Many people assume that replacing old appliances with new energy-efficient appliances saves money, but that isn’t always the case. Make sure to do the math before you buy!

How old are your major appliances? More than 20 years?

The longer you’ve owned an appliance, the more likely it’s using more energy and costing you more money to run. In fact, you can expect your older model household appliances to cost you a minimum of 15% more when compared to a newer version.

Because older appliances can easily account for 20% of your homes total energy consumption, buying a newer model that’s been certified as an energy rated appliance can help you save big. Although you’ll initially spend a little more to buy the appliance, you’ll be saving much more in the long run, making it worth this initial cost.

So just how good are you at conserving energy? Do you only use the dishwasher when full? Do you run your appliances during non-peak hours? Doing a little here and there adds up over time, which could easily save you hundreds of dollars every year.

The dollar amounts shown in the following lists are the estimated yearly costs to run a 20-year-old appliance versus a new energy star rated appliance.

Not every energy-saving appliance is going to be worth the extra expense. List #1 shows appliances that can save you money, while List #2 shows appliances that aren’t worth buying if your goal is saving money.

Also, remember that if you’re adding the cost of the appliance to your credit card balance that you’ll need to subtract the extra interest from any savings you might get from the new appliance.

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List 1: Appliance Purchases That Will Likely Save Money

These buys are likely a good money-saving investment for you if your current appliance is old.

Refrigerator

Old Appliance – $368
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $158
Cost of new refrigerator – $800
Savings over 10 years – $2100

Tips: Never put a refrigerator in direct sunlight or next to the stove. Dirty coils make the refrigerator work a lot harder, so clean often.

Oven

Old Appliance – $182
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $79
Cost of new oven – $500
Savings over 10 years – $1030

Tips: Cook more food at one time and freeze the extra. Cutting up large pieces of food will make them cook faster. Cooking in two smaller pans rather than one large pan will also reduce cooking time.

Freezer

Old Appliance – $398
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $157
Cost of new freezer – $400
Savings over 10 years – $2410

Tips: Although using a freezer is an extra expense, if you put it somewhere very cool so it doesn’t have to work as hard keeping everything inside frozen, it can be worth the cost.

List 2: Appliances You Shouldn’t Consider Replacing

Hang on to these appliances as long as you can. You likely won’t see much savings by replacing them with a new model. When you do replace them, consider buying used.

Dishwasher

Old Appliance – $92
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $68
Cost of new dishwasher – $400
Savings over 10 years – $56

Tips: Always use the air dry option, as heating is costly. Based on a 10-year life span, a new energy efficient dishwasher can easily use thousands of gallons of less water when compared to an older model, so you’d be saving on your water bill, too.

Clothes Washer

Old Appliance – $82
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $26
Cost of new washer – $470
Savings over 10 years – $560

Tips: Wash/rinse in cold water whenever possible, as the heating of water is the main cost when washing clothes.

Clothes Dryer

Old Appliance – $132
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $79
Cost of new dryer – $510
Savings over 10 years – $560

Tips: Stopping the dryer 5 or 10 minutes before clothes are completely dry adds up over time. Clean the lint trap after every use.

Water Heater

Old Appliance – $526
New Energy Efficient Appliance – $320
Cost of new heater – $750
Savings over 10 years – $560

Tips: Do everything you can to use cold water. Summertime? Let the sun warm it for free.

All prices and savings are approximate. Electricity is based on the national average.

It’s good to know that new energy-efficient appliances often come with a rebate, adding to your overall savings. You may even qualify for federal income tax credits, which will save you even more.

Also, when you upgrade your old energy-consuming appliances to a newer efficient model, you’re doing your part to help the planet because using energy-efficient appliances means less greenhouse gas emissions.

Reviewed March 2021

About the Author

Laura Foor is a freelance writer who specializes in writing quality articles for online publication for 6+ years. Graduating from UCB with a degree in Environmental Sciences in 2009, she also works part time as a Farmers Market manager where she focuses on healthy food education.

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