Today’s technology offers a great deal of convenience, but it's also capable of taking quite an environmental toll through increased electrical consumption, greenhouse gases, and electronic waste. How does one upgrade responsibly? Install long-lasting, easily recyclable, energy-efficient appliances capable of reducing your monthly utility bills. How much are my kitchen appliances really costing me? For the average homeowner, large appliances such as your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, account for around 13 percent of monthly utility costs. Add on your hot water heater, and you’re looking at another 15 percent of your bill. Plus, usage costs can vary drastically depending on the age of your appliances. Appliances older than 10 years old are simply screaming for retirement –nearly doubling energy usage. Energy efficiency: learning the lingo Advances in today’s appliance technology adds up to savings for you, but only if you understand what you’re looking at. What’s the big deal about ENERGY STAR? The program was established by the EPA as part of the Clean Air Act to preserve the environment, as well as help individuals save on energy expenses. EPA labs test and certify ENERGY STAR appliances to signify equipment that perform above and beyond standard models. Top-of-the-line ENERGY STAR equipment bears the newly introduced “Most Efficient” label. Kitchen appliances that give you the most bang for your buck:
- Water heater (40-gallon): 4,500 – 5,500 watts. Compared to standard models, opting for ENERGY STAR water heaters can save you 10-50 percent on water heating energy costs, depending on the model. Gas, electric, and solar storage tank and tankless models are available.
- Clothes dryer: 1,800 – 5,000 watts. As significant energy users, clothes dryers are responsible for over four percent of total residential energy use. As a result, the EPA designed the Advanced Clothes Dryers with the Emerging Technology Award in 2013 to drive innovation in clothes dryer technology and efficiency. This new technology, released in Samsung’s DV457 dryer in the summer of 2013, introduces new features including software and hardware enhancements for improving the efficiency of moisture sensors, and a claimed reduction in energy use of 36 percent. Stay tuned as the rest of the US dryer industry takes part in the race to improve dryer technology in the upcoming years.
- Dishwasher: 1,200 – 2,400 watts. Today’s energy efficient dishwashers use less hot water, and consequently less energy than older models and hand washing. Replacing pre-1994 dishwashers with ENERGY STAR models can save you 10 gallons of water per cycle – that’s enough to pay for a year’s worth of dishwashing detergent!
- Refrigerator (frost free, 16 cubic feet): 725 watts. Pre-1993 refrigerators use more than twice the energy of new ENERGY STAR qualified models, and ENERGY STAR models use about 20 percent less than standard refrigerators. How much could you save by replacing your old refrigerator? Click here to calculate.
- Clothes washer: 350 – 500 watts. Old, inefficient washers can cost as much as three times more to operate than today’s energy efficient models. Opting for an ENERGY STAR model can save you even more, using about 20 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than standard models.
STOP! Don't just toss that old appliance! Electronic waste, or e-waste, is quickly becoming a global crisis. As the fastest growing waste stream in many countries, e-waste results in the release of extremely toxic substances that are contaminating both the Earth and our bodies. At this time, only 11 to 14 percent of US electronic waste is properly recycled and reused. Please dispose of your old appliances responsibly, as safe e-waste disposal is essential to preserving not only the environment, but your health as well. How to do I responsibly dispose of my family’s e-waste? There are many safe and responsible e-waste disposal and recycling options. If your retailer does not provide a free pickup service with the upgrade of your new appliance, Mr. Electric®, in cooperation with the non-profit organization HirePatriots, offers e-waste disposal solutions as well, including responsible recycling, e-waste packaging, pickup, and removal, secure data destruction, accredited repair and refurbishment, and more. Improve your efficiency and responsibly manage your e-waste with the help of Mr. Electric. The professionals at Mr. Electric have what it takes to handle all of your appliance upgrade and e-waste recycling needs.