Many people think of the kitchen as the heart of the home. As the place where family and friends cook, clean and congregate, the kitchen draws a lot of power and water. So when it comes to saving energy and water in your kitchen, evaluating the state of your refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher is a good place to start.
The refrigerator is the most expensive appliance to operate in the kitchen and accounts for a big portion of a home's energy use and cost. Depending on the model year of your refrigerator, you could save up to $200 on your energy costs annually when you replace it with an ENERGY STAR® certified model. That's because refrigerators that have earned the ENERGY STAR are designed to operate more efficiently than conventional refrigerators. Thanks to a variety of advanced features, ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators use 20% less energy than conventional models, without sacrificing style and performance.
Technological innovations include:
- More precise temperature and defrost mechanisms that help the refrigerator operate more efficiently, while ensuring food is kept at the optimum temperature
- Improved insulation located in doors and exterior walls to help food stay cold and muffle noise
- High efficiency compressors that use less energy, run quieter and create less heat
Not sure if you need to replace your refrigerator? Here are some things to consider:
- Your refrigerator is more than 10 years old
- You have a side-by-side refrigerator (they use 25% more energy)
- Your household size has decreased and you could use a smaller model
- Your refrigerator has been unreliable or required repairs in the past
When you decide to upgrade to an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator, ask your retailer to help you choose the best size and style to fit your needs. The larger the refrigerator, the more energy it will consume. French door and side-by-side fridges are popular design options, however, they use more energy than top-mount freezer models.
Also, remember to do your part for the environment and recycle your old refrigerator! The refrigerant and insulation in many older refrigerators and freezers may contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are ozone-depleting chemicals that are required to be recycled so they are not released into the atmosphere. Many appliance retailers will pick up and recycle your old refrigerator when you purchase a new one. Some local recycling centers and transfer stations provide recycling services as well.
Purchasing food in bulk and storing it in a freezer is a great way to save money, but if you're using an old freezer you may be saving less than you think.
ENERGY STAR certified freezers use 10% less energy than standard models and feature removable lift-out bins, slide-out baskets and glass shelving to help you organize your frozen items. Many freezers offer automatic defrost, but you can use half the energy if you defrost your freezer manually. It's best to defrost periodically before frost builds up to more than one-quarter of an inch.
Ask your retailer to help you choose the best size and style freezer for your needs. The larger the freezer, the more energy it will consume. Also consider that a chest freezer is typically more energy efficient than an upright freezer because less cold air escapes from its top-mounted door.
ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers use 30% less energy and 800 fewer gallons of water per year than conventional dishwashers while providing superior cleaning performance and advanced features. If your dishwasher was made before 1994, you could save $40 per year on your utility bills when you upgrade to an ENERGY STAR certified model.
ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers include several energy and water-saving features such as:
- High-pressure jets that eliminate the need to pre-rinse dishes
- Internal water heaters that reduce water-heating costs by up to 10%
- Soil sensors that test how dirty dishes are throughout the wash and adjust the cycle to achieve optimum cleaning with minimum water and energy use
- Improved water filtration that removes food soils from the wash water, which allows efficient use of detergent and water throughout the cycle
- Innovative dish rack designs that maximize cleaning by strategically situating the dishes
So when you're in the market for a new dishwasher, visit a retailer near you and ask the sales associate to show you models with the ENERGY STAR and the yellow EnergyGuide label.
What about my stove?
There is no ENERGY STAR label for residential ovens, ranges or microwaves at this time. When you turn an oven on, it has to heat the elements and the air in the oven before it even begins to heat the food. This means that there is a great deal of energy wasted before the oven starts doing its job. Currently, there is no way to make ovens energy-efficient.
Boost your energy savings with these energy-saving tips.