Out with the Old, in With the New - the Energy-Efficient Way

NYSERDA Offers Tips for Efficiently Managing Old and New Appliances this Spring

March 20, 2013

In springtime, our thoughts may turn to appliances – whether it’s to clean out the refrigerator or to shop for a new one. When replacing old appliances, ENERGY STAR® qualified models are always a great place to start. However, the ENERGY STAR is just the beginning. There are other identifiers to look for to ensure purchasing the most energy-efficient appliances. Similarly, if you’re ready to dispose of appliances this spring, there are actions to consider that will help make sure these inefficient products are not used again. Whether you’ll be shopping for new appliances or relying on your current ones this spring, these tips from NYSERDA will help you make sustainable choices that will save energy and money, and benefit the environment.

The Old.

It’s always important to be mindful of proper recycling and disposal when handling old appliances. The tips below will get you started:

  • Don’t keep your old appliances. Old, inefficient appliances continue to consume energy in your garage or basement, if they’re plugged in.
  • Contact your electric utility to determine if a “bounty program” for old appliances is offered in your area. Some bounty programs have appliance specification requirements so be sure to confirm your appliance is acceptable.
  • If no bounty program is available, contact your municipal department of public works for information on appliance collection procedures in your area.

The New.

The ENERGY STAR Label is a great place to start when looking to make efficient, new appliance purchases. However, the tips below will clue you in on what else to look for to assist you in making the most efficient choices possible:

  • In addition to looking at the price tag, look for the yellow EnergyGuide labelLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. on each appliance, as some ENERGY STAR models are more efficient than others. Found on many appliances, the EnergyGuide provides an energy scale to help you compare products and lists approximate annual operating costs.
  • By comparing the energy use and approximate operating costs of similar ENERGY STAR models, you’ll be able to identify which model is most efficient.

Manage what you’ve got.

Following the tips below can help you reduce energy use and cut energy costs of your existing appliances:

  • Clothes Washers: Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually with an electric water heater and more than $30 annually with a gas water heater.
  • Dishwashers: Rinsing dishes by hand can use up to 20 gallons of water before the dishes are even loaded. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers and today's detergents are designed so you don’t have to pre-rinse and can simply scrape food off dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.
  • Refrigerators: Keep your refrigerator at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit; temperatures colder than necessary will waste energy. In addition, to maximize efficiency of an older model, leave a few inches between the wall and the refrigerator, and keep the condenser coils clean. Check, and replace if necessary, the seals around the door.
  • Freezers: Keep the temperature at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure the seals around the door are airtight.

For more tips, visit http://nyserda.ny.gov.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.