Do you want to save money on your utility bills – and save the environment at the same time?
Energy efficient appliances are a great way to give your home a DIY upgrade. You’ll save money in the long run, and you don’t need to spend much up front, especially if you learn to install the appliances yourself.
In this handy guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about installing energy efficient appliances, including how to find good deals on them. Keep reading to learn how to lower your energy bills each month.
Why Use Energy Efficient Appliances?
There are many compelling reasons to replace your appliances with efficient ones. Let’s take a closer look at four of them.
1. You’ll Save Money
Who wouldn’t want lower utility bills every month? Buying energy efficient appliances is well worth it, because they’ll quickly pay for themselves by saving you money over time.
Even if you pay slightly more to get them, they’ll save you money each time you use them. Efficient appliances can save as much as 30 percent on your electricity bills. At this rate, it doesn’t take long for the savings to outweigh the upfront costs.
Of course, the amount of savings depends on the appliance you get. Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system takes up 40 percent of your energy costs. As shown in the infographic below, swapping out your HVAC gives you the most bang for the buck. However, other appliances, like washers and dryers, make a smaller but still measurable impact.
2. Raises Your Resale Value
If you’re using DIY projects to boost your home’s resale value, installing energy efficient appliances is a great choice.
Many buyers want a home with efficient appliances. If they know they won’t have to buy and install new appliances themselves, they’re more likely to spring for the purchase.
3. Saves the Environment
You’ll feel good about living in a more sustainable home with energy efficient appliances. Even a single household can make a difference by making this change.
In fact, energy efficiency is one of the most significant ways to reduce CO2 emissions. These relatively small changes have a huge impact. Try the EPA’s handy Carbon Footprint Calculator to see where your household currently stands.
4. You’ll Enjoy New Technology
When you invest in efficient appliances (even if they’re lightly used), you’re likely getting an upgrade from what you had before. Not only are these more efficient, but they tend to be more effective as well.
Efficient appliances are usually more high-tech and top-of-the-line. Efficient washers get your clothes cleaner, for example, in addition to using less energy. They’re easier to use and can get more done in a shorter amount of time, too.
What are Energy Star Appliances?
While researching energy efficient appliances, you’ll likely see a lot about Energy Star appliances.
Energy Star appliances meet efficiency standards set by the EPA. The EPA’s requirements are strict, so these are the most efficient appliances money can buy.
The Energy Star program was created to save money for households and businesses, as well as help save the environment. The EPA established the program in 1992. It’s basically a voluntary labeling program: if an appliance meets efficiency standards, manufacturers can choose to put the Energy Star logo on it. This helps them sell more appliances while ensuring that customers get the efficiency they want.
When shopping for energy-efficient appliances, look for the Energy Star logo. This logo has become synonymous with efficiency and shows that the appliance meets the highest standards.
How to Save Money with Energy Star Appliances
You don’t have to break the bank buying energy-efficient appliances. Here are a few ideas to save money.
One of the best ways to save money is to start by replacing only the appliances that will save you the most on your energy bill. Let the savings accumulate as you pay your energy bills month by month. Then, you can invest those savings into more energy efficient appliances later on.
Energy Star appliances do tend to cost more than non-efficient appliances. If you already have functioning appliances that aren’t efficient, the cheapest option is usually to wait until they break down before replacing them with efficient ones.
You can save more money by making additional changes to your home. For example, an efficient HVAC system will work even better if you also caulk and weatherstrip the house.
How to Save Money on Energy Star Appliances
Try watching the clearance areas of your favorite retailers if you aren’t too picky about color or style. Especially if you don’t mind a ding or dent. Places like Lowe’s have a clearance section online. Home Depot has a section of their website featuring appliances you can save on. Best Buy also sells open box and clearance appliances.
You can also call your local home improvement or appliance store and ask if they have any scratched or dented energy efficient appliances to replace your old, inefficient ones.
Finally, keep in mind that more expensive doesn’t always mean more efficient. You can shop in the lower price range of Energy Star appliances and still get the value of energy savings.
How to Install Energy Efficient Appliances
Appliances cost money, but you can save more with DIY installation. Fortunately, it’s not hard to install many basic home appliances on your own.
If your home has built-in appliances (such as a dishwasher), size is the first thing you’ll want to consider. The most efficient appliance will do you no good if it doesn’t fit!
Measure the appliances you currently have, and measure the size of the openings for them before choosing your new energy efficient appliances. It’s often best to look for a newer Energy Star version of the appliance you already have. That way, you’ll likely find one in the same size.
While shopping, you may also notice that some appliance retailers offer free installation. If so, take advantage!
Once you’ve bought the new appliances and had them delivered, it’s time to install them. Let’s take a look at the process, step by step.
1. Cut the Power
Avoid electrocution by cutting the power to the old appliances before you get started. Each appliance typically has its own breaker.
2. Disconnect Appliances
Besides the important step of cutting the power, there are other safety precautions you should take when disconnecting old appliances.
Wear thick work gloves to protect your hands. Pad your floors so they aren’t scraped or dented by heavy appliances.
While disconnecting the electrical connections, pay attention so you know how to reconnect the new appliances. Some appliances with an electrical connection have four wires: black, red, white, and green. Other appliances simply plug into a wall outlet.
To remove the electrical, you may need to remove an electrical box cover or clamp and use pliers to carefully disconnect the wires.
Certain types of appliances will have certain types of connectors. For example, if you’re replacing a range top oven, you’ll need to disconnect the exhaust duct from the exhaust system.
3. Remove Appliances
Once everything’s been disconnected, it’s time to remove your old appliances.
Some will be light enough for one person to handle. However, most common appliances such as ovens and dryers are too heavy for one person. Enlist the help of a family member or friend for this step – otherwise, you risk injuring yourself.
4. Install New Appliances
Now, take a moment to clean out the spaces where the old appliances were. This may be your only chance for a long time to get in there and remove dust, dirt, and debris (and maybe even pick up some loose change).
Place the new appliances where they belong. Connect everything that’s necessary, such as electrical wiring and exhaust ducts. If you pay careful attention while disconnecting the old appliances, and follow any instructions the new ones come with, this step should be easy.
Now, you can enjoy your new energy efficient appliances and save money with every use.
How to Install Kitchen Appliances
While the details of installing kitchen appliances can vary, here’s an overview of the process.
How to Install a Washer and Dryer
When you choose and install laundry appliances, some of the steps may vary, depending on the brand.
Installing a New HVAC System
No matter what kind of appliances you currently have, they will break down at some point. When that time comes, you’ll want to be ready to install new, energy-efficient appliances.
Even if you only change one appliance at a time, the savings will accumulate each time you use it. And with no money spent on installation, you only need to worry about the cost of the appliance itself.
Once you’ve mastered appliance installation, you’ll probably want to take on some bigger interior DIY projects. Check out these posts for more inspiration.
Featured Image CC by 0, by stevepb via Pixabay.