A few weeks ago we replaced a relic of a dishwasher (a Whirlpool made in the early 80’s) with a new Frigidaire model (the FDB2810LDC) for a mere $150. We weren’t in the market for a dishwasher at the moment but it was certainly on our To Do list. From a functional perspective, the Whirlpool was serviceable. It still worked, though the seals weren’t very good (ants could get inside, but no water leakage) and it was very loud. From an ecological perspective, it consumed a lot of water and electricity, since it was made in the Days of Yore™ before Energy Star was in vogue, so there was a financial incentive outside of the $150 price.
Dishwashers, if they are old enough, make a great candidate for replacement if you have the budget for it. Here are three other appliances you might consider replacing before their time.
Refrigerators, among appliances, is the number one consumer of energy, so it makes sense to start with it. Everyone is aware that refrigerator technology has come a long way in the last ten years and the advice to replace your refrigerator, especially during our skyrocketing energy prices, is a solid investment that can pay off in a year or two. Consider this: Energy Star qualified units have to use at least 20% less energy than federal standards and 40% less than units sold in 2001 , 7 years ago! If you have a conventional fridge made before 2001, expect a 40% savings in energy (of course, always check your unit’s manual or label for actual savings).
If you do replace your old fridge, remember to recycle it !
If you have an standalone freezer or compact freezer, switching to an Energy Star model means that you will consume 10% less energy (or 20% for compacts). You can save 100% if you stop using a separate freezer altogether, but the bulk purchasing savings might make having a freezer a smart move. Remember, a Frigidaire GLFN1326GW, a 12.9 cubic ft Energy Star-compliant chest freezer consumes 326 kWh a year, so unless you’re saving more than that in grocery bills… it’s not worth it.
Besides the energy savings that may come with a newer unit (Saladdin, I haven’t forgotten about the tankless water heater!), water heaters fail in one of two ways. One way is a nuisance, another is catastrophic. The annoying way they fail is by ceasing to heat water, so you’re stuck taking cold showers. The catastrophic way is if they leak or break, turning an otherwise dry room into a pool. Replacing an aging water heater could be a way to save some money and headache later. Replacing something on your own schedule is always more convenient than on someone elses. 🙂
Want an excuse to get a new television? Energy Star compliant televisions use less than 30% of the electricity their non-compliant friends use. Also, effective November 2008, Energy Star compliance will be much stricter, broader, and cover all television types (LCD, plasma, etc). Right now, they are only test in off/standby mode (who knows why!?). So, if you have one of those ancient set top boxes and have been eyeing a new unit, consider a newer HDTV that might use less power .
For anyone looking to convince their significant other about the ecological friendliness of a new television, feel free to print this out and show them. 🙂