Did you know that October 5th has recently become known as Energy Efficiency Day in the USA?
The goal of this new “holiday” is to educate people on how they can cut energy usage and save money on their home power bills. Here at Gochnauer’s Home Appliance Center, we’re definitely into helping our customers save money. So, we’re taking a look at which major appliances are the biggest energy wasters in your home, and which ones you should consider replacing.
Great gains have been made in energy efficiency in most newly manufactured appliances, so if it’s been years (or even decades) since you’ve shopped, it may be time to consider new options, especially for the biggest wasters.
It may not be fair to call refrigerators “energy hogs,” but the fact that they are typically the only appliance in your kitchen that is plugged in and powered on 24/7 means that they use more energy than almost any other appliance or system in your entire home.
While it’s true that washers and dryers, dishwashers, and even smaller kitchen devices like coffeemakers and microwaves may use power at a higher rate when running than your refrigerator does, these other appliances actually spend most of their time powered off or in standby mode.
Of course, depending on many factors, including the overall size, condition, and especially the age of your particular refrigerator, it may certainly be an energy hog! For example, according to Energy Star estimates, the newest, most efficient refrigerators may use about 30 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month. That’s about 40% less than conventional refrigerators sold in 2001. And terrible news for those of us who still have vintage 1980s (or earlier!) fridges chugging away – some of those models consume hundreds of kWh per month, which adds unnecessary expense to your electric bill.
Are you one of those savers who keeps a spare refrigerator plugged in in the basement or garage to store extra drinks, ice, or food for entertaining? That old, extra fridge could be silently costing you hundreds of dollars per year! And, there are lots of specialty refrigeration options now available to better cater to your entertaining needs.
As you consider replacing your main kitchen refrigerator, it may also be time to cut the cord on that basement or garage-dwelling unit, especially if it’s not always full.
On the subject of added food storage space, many people in our Lancaster County, PA service area keep chest freezers in their homes for convenience and the ability to save vegetables, meats, and seasonal local produce for future use.
Of course, many of these freezers sit empty for long periods of time, but remain plugged in and powered on. Add that to the fact that many of these chest freezers are decades-old with failing seals and inefficient motors, and you may be unknowingly committing one of the biggest wastes of home energy there is by running that old freezer. You owe it to yourself to check out the latest upright and chest-style freezers from the best brands like Amana, GE, and Maytag.
It’s a fact – we have hot, humid summers here in central Pennsylvania, and that means many of us run dehumidifiers in our basements, garages, or other utility rooms in our homes to deter mold and mildew growth. With the unusually rainy summer we had this year, those dehumidifiers were working overtime, for sure! However, did you know that these helpful humidity busters may be one of the only appliances in your home to use more energy per month than your refrigerator? (That is, if you have an up-to-date, Energy Star-rated fridge and not a relic from 1987.)
Once again, the age of the unit, as well as its condition, has a lot to do with how efficiently it runs. Like the window air conditioners we’ll touch on next, most newer dehumidifiers feature air filters that need to be regularly cleaned to prevent clogging.
And, you should also be sure you’re not attempting to take the humidity in your home down to zero, which could cause your dehumidifier to run continuously instead of cycling on and off as it’s needed. 50% humidity is considered suitable for basements, for instance, and attempting to achieve a much lower number is not worth the cost.
Window Air Conditioners
While it’s true that many of our homes now have central air conditioning systems, some of our customers still rely on window or portable air conditioners for supplemental cooling or because their older home doesn’t accommodate a central AC system.
The newest window and portable air conditioning units are actually impressively efficient, and some even play double or triple duty as a dehumidifier and/or space heater, which may allow you to cut other single-purpose appliances out of your life. So, if you’re struggling with high electricity bills during the cooling months, your old, outdated AC unit could be the culprit.
Any old, malfunctioning appliances
As we’ve discussed, the biggest offenders for energy-wasting appliances -- no matter what kind of appliance it is -- are those that are old, outdated, and in poor operating condition. Unfortunately, it’s just a fact of life that our trusty household appliances wear out over time, and this often causes them to use more energy than they should to achieve the same output.
While we service what we sell and can obtain parts for almost every major appliance make and model, occasionally it’s just time to replace your old appliances.
And when you’re considering replacement vs. repair, it’s always wise to look at the total cost of ownership of any appliance. Just because the price tag has a higher number, or purchasing a new appliance would be more costly upfront than repairing it might be, you may end up spending more money than you’d intended in the long run.
Considering upgrading your old, energy inefficient appliances? Trust the experts at Gochnauer’s for honest advice and product recommendations to fit your budget and your needs. Stop in and visit our showroom in East Petersburg, PA or contact us today!