Energy Efficient Appliances: Do You Need To Buy New Machines?

Home appliances and energy efficiency ranking. 3d illustration

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Many homeowners have decided to make their homes more energy efficient. The idea that people should take steps to conserve more energy has become more popular over the past decade.

One of the areas that are important for energy efficiency is your appliances. It’s one of the reasons why so many have invested in Energy Star appliances. These machines consume energy at a much lesser rate than other ones.

The benefits of energy efficient appliances are more than just environmental; they can make a positive impact on the lives of homeowners as well. These types of devices consume less energy, which means lower monthly energy bills.

Moreover, in some cases, homeowners might be entitled to tax rebate if their houses are more energy efficient. Lastly, better-running appliances require fewer repairs, which means more money saved.

While a large number of homeowners purchase energy efficient appliances, it might be possible for you to improve your existing machines in a way that makes them consume less power.

This post will give you some helpful tips to help you conserve energy without spending money on brand new appliances. It will also help you better understand what the Energy Star program is, and how it can help you do your part to protect the environment.

What Is Energy Star?

Energy Star
Image via WikiPedia

Energy Star is an initiative that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched in 1992. The EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are responsible for running the program.

The Energy Star program is designed to help American individuals and businesses conserve energy to protect the environment. The program provides information to consumers that enable them to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.

The Energy Star logo appears on a significant number of appliances that are built to use less energy. Many organizations have worked with Energy Star to improve their energy efficiency.

HVAC Units

HVAC units are notorious for consuming large amounts of energy. The energy-efficient models have grown in popularity because these appliances are responsible for increased energy bills. Additionally, repairing HVAC units could cost thousands of dollars depending on the type of damage they receive.

Energy efficient HVAC units also provide a comfortable environment. They tend to distribute air more evenly throughout the house, which means you won’t have some areas that are more affected than others.  Here are some tips for making your HVAC unit more energy efficient:

Use a Programmable Thermostat

According to the DOE, reducing your home’s temperature during the winter and increasing it by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours can save you about 5 to 15 percent each year. Naturally, you don’t want to make your home colder during the winter, and hotter during the summer when you’re at home. However, you’re not likely to care about the temperature of your home when you’re at work.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can make sure your home is consuming less energy while you’re not home. You won’t have to worry about continually resetting your thermostat’s settings every day.

Change Your Air Filters Consistently

As you might already know, it’s important to make sure you are changing your air filters on a regular basis. If you allow dirt and dust to accumulate on your filters, it will block the airflow through the system.

Naturally, this blockage makes the process less efficient. Additionally, it can cause serious health problems if your family has allergies or other respiratory issues. A good rule of thumb would be to change your filters every 60 to 90 days.

Keep The Coils Clean

The coils on the outdoor unit must be kept clean at all times. They tend to get dirty because the fans on the unit pull in dirt and dust while they are pulling in air.

Make sure that the outside of the unit is cleared of debris. Walk around the exterior of your unit once a week to pick up leaves, sticks, and other items. You might also consider removing any trees or bushes that are more than two feet away from it.

After clearing the debris, shut off the power and vacuum the fins using the bristle attachment. It’s also a good idea to rinse them off with a garden hose.

Ducts And Registers

Make sure that your air ducts are free of any obstructions. That is the pathway through which the air flows when you turn on your HVAC unit. If these pathways are full of debris and dirt, your appliance will have to work harder to make sure your home is at the desired temperature.

You also want to check for holes and other openings to make sure there is no leakage. If you see any holes, plug them immediately. That will ensure that the airflow is smooth.

Making Your Refrigerator More Energy Efficient

If your refrigerator is old and worn, you might want to consider just replacing it. However, if it is a newer model, there are steps you can take to make sure it consumes less energy.

Energy efficient refigerator
Image via Michael Shronk

First, you need to find out how your refrigerator is running. Determine whether the unit is running at all times or if it’s usually silent. Also, take a look at how your compressor motor is functioning. It should be running for short periods and then resting for more extended periods.

If you notice that your compressor is continuously running, your refrigerator might have some issues. The problem could be your door gaskets, coils or the space where your unit is located. If your door gaskets are not providing enough of a seal, air could be escaping which will force the compressor to work harder.

Dust on your coils can also place more strain on the motor. Lastly, if your refrigerator is in an enclosed space, the heat from the motor may not have anywhere to go.

After you have determined that your compressor motor is functioning correctly, check your freezer. Look to see if there is ice buildup in the unit. If you notice that frost has built up, it could mean that warm, moist air is leaking into the unit.

That can happen when the seal is not tight enough. If there is nothing wrong with the seal, then you should defrost your freezer to get rid of the ice buildup. Doing this will keep your compressor from having to work harder.

One way to check the seals on your fridge is the dollar-bill test. Open the door to create just enough room to slide a dollar bill halfway in and then close it. If the door is holding the bill firmly in place, you have a good seal in that area. Do this multiple times, moving the bill up and down to make sure there are no leaks.

If there is a leak, there are a couple of steps you can take. Fortunately, they are not too difficult or expensive. You might need to clean the gasket with a rag or cloth. If cleaning it does not solve the problem, you will need to replace the gasket. Fortunately, these items won’t break your bank, and they are easy to install.

A More Efficient Dishwasher

Dishwashers are another appliance that tends to use a lot of energy. Fortunately, it’s not hard to decrease the level of power your dishwasher consumes. Improving your dishwasher’s energy efficiency has a bonus: a lower water bill. Along with the energy savings, this step can help you keep more of your hard-earned money.

First, make sure that you’re only running your dishwasher when it is full instead of washing smaller loads. When you do just smaller loads, you have to run the appliance more often, which means you’re using more energy. Using your device less often also causes less wear and tear on the machine.

Another way to consume less energy is to start allowing your dishes to air dry instead of having them go through the dryer cycle. You can stop the drying cycles by turning off the heat-dry setting on the unit. Or you can just open the door after the wash cycle concludes. Using heat to dry your dishes uses up more energy, so air drying them makes it easier to conserve energy.

You should also think about the time you are running your dishwasher. This will help you put less strain on your other appliances. During the summer months, start running the unit at night, so you don’t have to turn on your air conditioning.

Conversely, during the winter season, try running it in the morning so that you don’t have to use the heater. This trick may not work in every home, but it’s worth a shot.

An Energy Efficient Home Is A Happy Home

Making your home more energy efficient requires much work, but it is worth it in the end. Consuming less electricity and gas will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Fortunately, it is easy to make the appropriate changes to your appliances instead of buying new ones. Using the tips in this article will help you avoid spending tons of money on energy bills and new large purchases.

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