Energy Saving Home Improvements: 5 Appliances Worth Upgrading

Energy Saving Home Improvements

We have all noticed of late that there has been a steady increase in energy costs. With more and more electrical appliances flooding our markets, we are becoming progressively more dependent on electricity to help us function on a day to day basis. From warming our homes, to heating our water, to cooling our beer and even helping us shave, electrical appliances have gone a long way towards making our collective lives that much more comfortable and convenient, but this comfort and convenience has come at a cost.

Everyone from our government to Bono of rock n’ roll band U2 has been talking about sustainability, alternative sources of energy, renewable energy and going green. What gets lost in translation is that it isn’t just better for the environment if we show more responsibility in terms of energy consumption, it’s also beneficial to our own pockets!

So if you want to save the environment for future generations, and save money for yourself and maybe future generations too, there are some steps that can be taken to do so. In this article, I’ll focus purely on electrical appliances; which appliances consume the most electricity, which need frequent upkeep, and which can be aided to run more efficiently with external influences.

For the purpose of this article, I have relied heavily on the US federal government’s Department of Energy, particularly the content they have posted on their website regarding this topic. A point of reference for anyone who is interested in this topic is the power consumption chart, which tracks the most power consuming appliances in the year on an average across the nation, and also average cost in terms of energy bills of said appliances. So without further ado, here are the 5 appliances worth upgrading for higher energy efficiency.

• Water Heater. One of the most power consuming appliances of all time, the water heater is the first appliance you should consider upgrading if saving energy is your primary concern. It’s ridiculous how much power this appliance consumes, topping the table of the aforementioned national average appliance consumption chart. Consider investing in a solar water heating system which is heavy on investment but doesn’t consume any power, or a tank-less water heater which is the cutting edge in water heating technology and will save a lot of power costs as well. If you don’t want to, or can’t afford a new heater, you can at least insulate your heater’s tank to make it more efficient.

• Refrigerator. Your fridge is on all day and all night, so logically it will consume huge amounts of power. This is particularly evident in older models with big condensers, and obsolete temperature maintenance technology. Look for a high energy star rated fridge for power saving options, since refrigerators have relatively long lives, yours could be a veritable dinosaur in terms of technology, and consuming power to match the appetite of a dinosaur as well, so make sure your fridge has a high energy star rating, and if not, invest in a new one as soon as possible. Even if you get a new one, maintain temperatures of between 35-40 degrees for optimum efficiency, and make sure food is packaged properly to reduce loss of moisture which will inevitably increase the power consumption of the fridge.

• Central cooling/heating. You may have noticed a theme here, temperature control is high on power consumption, this is actually quite true, none more so than in the case of a heating system or air conditioner. They consume by far the most electricity at home if used throughout the day, as a lot of people are prone to doing. A top tip here is to keep your air filters and ducts clean so as to decrease strain on the heater or A/C, also invest in energy saving windows and make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to reduce the loss of temperature controlled air from your homes. This can have a significant impact on your utility bills! But make sure you get Energy-Star rated products – Champion Window and Doors has a unique Comfort 365® energy efficient glass you might want to check out. If you have an old heating or cooling system, don’t hesitate to switch it out for a new one, again technology has improved by leaps and bounds in this aspect, and you will save a whole lot of money by making the switch.

• Washing Machine. You may not have known this, but one load of clothes washed in warm water, and then dried in your washing machine’s drier (there’s that temperature control again) will consume a lot more energy than most of the other appliances in your home. Here, upgrading is your only option as there are no tips to improve washing machine efficiency in particular, so if your machine is old, get a new one; it’s the only way to save money.

• Computers. The only appliance on this list whose primary function isn’t to change temperature, the computer is a high energy consumer as well. IF you’re running an old system, that’s okay, but if you’re running an old monitor, that really isn’t ok. Monitors are the highest power consumption devices in a computer system, so keep it off unless absolutely necessary. Same goes for the computer itself, don’t buy into the myth that computers consume so much energy during start up that you’d rather just keep it on. For more information regarding computer efficiency, consult the department of energy’s website, where a page has been dedicated to this topic, and the tips mentioned are simple and helpful.

In general, your television, DVD player, stereo system, and many others such appliances consume energy even when off but still connected to a power source. In this situation it is advisable to connect all of them to one common power strip that you can turn off when not using any of these appliances so that you save on the latent energy consumption that they are prone to indulging in. The same goes for computer related products such as speakers, printers, and scanners.

Reference:

1. Nationwide power consumption chart for electrical appliances – US Dept. of Energy http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-appliances
2. Energy efficient computer news – US Dept. of Energy http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-computer-use

About the Author: Michael is a freelance writer who has had 12 years of experience as an interior designer. He has a natural flair for interior and exterior home decor. He believes home improvements should not only be aesthetic but sensible and energy-efficient as well.

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About Davy Greene
SEO analyst by profession, in addition to working with Search Engine Optimization(SEO) for more than 4 years.

One Response to Energy Saving Home Improvements: 5 Appliances Worth Upgrading

  1. Thanks for sharing this excellent reminder of ways to help reduce our energy consumption.

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