The Green Appliance: How to Save Energy in Your Home

People are continually looking for ways to save money and preserve the environment, one way to do this is to buy and use green appliances. Replacing all the inefficient appliances with new energy-efficient models will reduce monthly utility charges. Experts agree that buying energy star appliances will reduce energy costs by a third for a typical family.

The energy star system was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help consumers easily identify energy-efficient products. Products that carry the energy star symbol reduce environmental pollutants by using energy more efficiently. Certain requirements must be met before the EPA awards the energy star label. If a manufacturer wants to earn the energy star, it must be able to substantiate the energy saving claims made for the product. The results need to be measurable and verifiable by independent agencies. All products with the energy star must provide increased energy efficiency and deliver on all claimed features. Some energy star products cost more than their less-efficient equivalents, but the savings provided by the energy star products is noticeable on future utility bills.

Common household appliances that carry the energy star symbol include water heaters, refrigerators and freezers, and washers and dryers. Knowing what to look for and how to save energy when buying these appliances will lead to huge savings on monthly energy bills. A typical water heater accounts for 14 percent of a family's energy costs. When hot water is being used, it fills the whole tank with hot water even if only a small amount is needed. Switching to a tankless water heater will save on cost by heating water on demand. The energy saved by not having to heat a whole tank of water can quickly add up.

Refrigerators and freezers are another common energy drain. While manufacturers have made improvements, it is still wise to look for the energy star symbol. Some things to consider when purchasing a new refrigerator and freezer are the larger the size, the more energy will be required. Choosing a refrigerator with the freezer on top or bottom, as compared to a side by side unit will save on energy consumption and leaving off the ice maker will save money and energy. Washers and dryers have also improved and can contribute to monthly energy cost savings. Energy star labeled washers require less water to be used making them extremely cost-effective. Many newer dryers are coming with moisture sensors that enable the machine to determine if the clothes are dry. If the machine senses that the clothes are dry, it will stop drying. This saves time and money and helps to limit the wear and tear on clothes.

Using the energy star label is a quick and easy way to find energy-efficient products. Switching from old, energy-guzzling appliances to new and improved energy-efficient products can make a huge savings on the pocketbook and the environment. Taking a few simple steps can make a noticeable difference in monthly energy bills. Turning the water heater temperature down and using less hot water are good steps to implement if an older water heater is installed in the home. When buying a new refrigerator, foregoing the ice maker can cut energy usage by about 15 percent. When washing clothes, using the warm water setting in lieu of hot water and not over drying clothes can both add up to significant savings. Just taking these simple steps and switching over to energy star labeled appliances will provide thousands of dollars in savings and contribute to protecting the environment. One other thing to consider is the tax incentives and rebates that are being offered by the U.S. and state governments. Many products that come with the energy star label come with tax rebates. Coupling the savings from the tax incentives with the more energy-efficient products can add to the savings.

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