We'll help you cut your carbon and costs with the right model for you.
Every situation is different, but ... if you depend on a major appliance, avoid waiting until it dies to replace it, so you don't end up with whatever is left in your retailer's warehouse.
Repairing a failed appliance might be an option if parts are available, but --- between "planned obsolescence" and efficiency improvements --- a new, Energy Star-rated model might not cost much more, would last longer and could be prove more cost effective.
Start considering which replacement model you'll choose if your appliance is older than these averages:
The typical kitchen stove lasts 13-15 years; refrigerators and dryers average 13 years; washers, 10 years and dishwashers, only nine years. If your refrigerator, laundry equipment or dishwasher aren't Energy Star-rated, treat inefficiency as a tie-breaker, since newer models use fewer utilities.
Avoid buying any major appliance any bigger than you need on a regular basis. As examples: If you can get by with a smaller refrigerator and supplement it with a couple of coolers when hosting family gatherings, you'll save on both the purchase and operating costs. Don't buy a large washer and dryer solely for laundering a king-sized comforter once or twice a year; take the comforter to a laundromat and save money and resources year-round. That said, if you don't need a stacking washer and dryer to save space, skip them and pay less for them.
Explore Options Before Visiting Retailers
Before visiting manufacturers or retailers' web sites, visit these sites for helpful, detailed information:
SmarterHouse.org offers guidance on replacing your appliances and tips for operating them more efficiently and cost effectively.
Enervee.com provides efficiency on numerous models currently on the market, as well as current costs. While it also links you to on-line purchase options, LCAN recommends you buy from a brick-and-mortar retailer, preferably locally owned. You will get better service and installation, and may be surprised by their competitive prices.
Nickel is required to make both stainless steel and Ni-Cad batteries for hybrid autos. The biggest reason the cost of replacement hybrid batteries hasn't dropped as expected is competition from stainless steel appliances. Painted models save money and lower battery costs.
More Shopping Tips
Front loading washers use less water --- especially important when washing in warm or hot water --- and power than top-loading models.
The most efficient dryers no longer require venting outside! (Extracted water is drained into the washer's standpipe.) Their extra cost offsets the cost of venting if such an opening isn't already in place.
If you wash fairly full loads, running an efficient dishwasher uses less water and water heating than hand-washing! Load according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use its "eco" or air-dry mode to save even more on your utility bills. (Also, if you're keeping your water heater at a higher temperature solely for your dishwasher, you may be able to lower it and let the dishwasher's heater make up the difference.)
The most efficient range uses electric induction heating. You'll be limited to cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans, but its efficiency means your kitchen won't become overheated in summer. It boils water faster. It's safer, too, since its glass top doesn't get nearly hot enough to burn little one's fingers. Consider a model with two ovens and use the smaller one for day-to-day and the larger one only when needed.
The most efficient refrigerators have the freezer on the top. If you want to keep your old fridge in the basement, leave it unplugged except for when you really need it for get-togethers; otherwise, you'll increase your carbon footprint year-round. Going on vacation? Fill a few emptied and washed gallon jugs with water and store them in the largely emptied refrigerator to lower its operating costs while you're away.
Look for the blue Energy Star logo, and pay attention to the yellow Energy Guide stickers.