These days, there’s a lot more to buying appliances than just finding the latest style and color. As energy costs continue to rise, smart shoppers also think about long-term savings and have learned to look at more than just the initial purchase price to see if new appliances are truly right for their budget.
Looking at the purchase price PLUS the cost to operate that appliance over its lifespan is a smart way to figure out if you’re getting a deal or a dud. In fact, oftentimes that lowest-priced bargain may end up costing several hundred dollars more over its lifetime.
Finding the right appliance is oftentimes a lot like online dating – you’ll initially be attracted to how it looks, but it’s what’s inside that is going to make or break the deal. Doing some research before you make a long-term commitment can save plenty of time and heartbreak (that goes both for the online dating and appliance shopping).
Need a place to start? Follow some of these suggestions:
Look at the label. Models bearing the Energy Star label will save you more money over the life of the product. And they are better products for our planet as well.
Remember that size matters. That means getting the right size appliance for your needs. Water heaters, refrigerators or air conditioners that are bigger than you need are simply a waste of money and energy.
Go with gas. Whenever possible, choose products that run on natural gas, which is more efficient and cost-effective than electricity. Dryers, stoves and water heaters are some of the appliances you could consider replacing with natural gas models.
Look for money-saving features. For instance, find refrigerators with freezers on top — they’ll use up to 15 percent less energy than their side-by-side counterparts. When buying a dishwasher, look for models with a “light wash” or “energy-saving” wash cycle. And, when buying a washing machine, make sure it has adjustable water levels so you can use less water for small loads.