Know When It’s Time to Replace Old Appliances

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The older the appliance, the less efficient they are. Photo: Flikr/Joakim Wahlander
The older the appliance, the less efficient they are. Photo: Flickr/Joakim Wahlander

Very few people look forward to buying new appliances the way they look forward to, say, buying a new car or new clothes. But hanging on to an old appliance could actually be costing you money.

Most consumers look at the price tag when considering purchasing a new appliance, but according to the National Resource Defense Council, it’s just as important to look at the EnergyGuide or EnergyStar labels to understand your long-term savings.

One of the best places to start saving money is with your refrigerator, which, depending on its age, may be a huge energy eater. If your refrigerator was built in the 1980s, you could easily save more than $100 every year in energy costs just by replacing it with a modern unit. (Make it an Energy Star-qualifying model, and you can expect to see at least an additional 15 percent savings.)

Other appliances to consider replacing include:

Clothes washer. Replacing one that was made before 1994 can save about $110 on annual utility bills.

Dishwasher. Today’s Energy Star units are about 25 percent more efficient than the minimum federal standards, and you can save about $25 a year on your utility bills.

Water heater. Did you know a water heater accounts for about 14 percent of your energy bill? If yours is more than 10 years old, it’s probably operating at less than 50 percent efficiency. A new, energy-efficient unit can quickly add up to big savings.

Weighing your current expenses vs. the cost of a new appliance could help make the decision easier. A little research can help you determine how to get the most bang for your buck — and make sure that you’re getting the appliance that’s perfect for you.