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Time to Let Go? The Appliances You Need to Replace (and Why It's Time)

When it comes to appliances, replacing an older model with a newer, more energy efficient version could add up to big savings. Even though a new unit might cost more, over time the energy it saves could easily offset its purchase price.

“We didn’t want to keep pouring money into repairs, so it seemed like it would be more prudent to buy a newer, more efficient model,” said Huldah Brown, who recently replaced an 11-year-old washing machine. The added bonus of getting a new clothes washer? Brown instantly began saving money on her energy bills.

Appliance age matters

Most consumers look at the price tag when considering purchasing a new appliance, but according to the National Resource Defense Council, it’s just as important to look at the EnergyGuide or Energy Star labels to understand your long-term savings. (Don’t forget the thermostat, either.)

One of the best places to start is with your refrigerator, which once was a huge energy consumer. If you replace a refrigerator that was built in 1980 with a modern unit, you’ll save over $100 every year on your utility bill. (Make it an Energy Star-qualifying model, and you can expect to see at least an additional 15 percent savings.)

Other appliances to consider replacing include:

  • Clothes washer. Replacing one that was made before 1994 can save $110 on annual utility bills.
  • Dishwasher. Today’s Energy Star units are about 25 percent more efficient than the minimum federal standards, and you can save about $25 a year on your utility bills.
  • Water heater. Did you know a water heater accounts for about 14 percent of your energy bill? If yours is more than 10 years old, it is probably operating at less than 50 percent efficiency. A new, energy-efficient unit can quickly add up to big savings.

In addition to replacing appliances, an energy audit can save you money.