New Appliances: Are They Worth It?
Replacing old appliances with new ones can present a significant upfront cost. Is that investment worth it? We say YES. And here’s why.
Today’s energy-efficient appliances are a marvel compared to appliances of just a decade ago. According to the Energy Star calculator, just replacing a refrigerator manufactured in 2000 with an Energy Star compliant model could save nearly $400 in energy costs over five years alone. Imagine the savings if you replaced all your outdated appliances, not to mention the positive impact on the environment.
But have you ever wondered what technologies are behind these newly efficient appliances? You’d be amazed at the innovations and updated designs that go into developing these modern marvels. Here’s a look at the secrets behind energy-efficient home appliances.
While you might be attracted to the new front load washers for their sleek looks and higher capacities, an equally important reason to invest in them is that they are designed to be more energy efficient. Instead of filling a tub with hot water, these washers spin clothes through a smaller pool at the bottom of the machine, requiring far less water and electricity.
The redesigned top loading washers feature no central agitator and use a different washing action to clean clothes. Instead of rinsing in a tub of water, these washers use high-pressure sprays of water to rinse soapy residue from the clothes.
Both models use sensitive temperature sensors to minimize the electricity required to maintain water temperature, and they also use high-speed spin cycles to cut down on drying time, further cutting energy costs. These washers save up to 30 percent or more over older models.
If you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen, replacing your old refrigerator with a new energy-efficient one might be a good place to start, since they consume more energy than any other kitchen appliance. The new energy-efficient refrigerators use high-tech insulating materials to maintain lower temperatures and emit less heat into your home. They also include upgraded temperature sensors and defrost mechanisms for maximum efficiency.
Interestingly, while the compressors in today’s refrigerators are vastly improved over a generation ago, new technology is being developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that will cut energy use almost in half. A new linear compressor is under development that is incredibly tiny, uses no oil lubricants, and uses far less energy. Its tiny size may revolutionize refrigerator design so that big bulky refrigerators will be more streamlined and trim.
Energy efficient dishwashers start with newly designed high performance motors that spray smaller amounts of hot water more forcefully to cut down on water and electricity use. They also calibrate temperatures carefully throughout the wash and rinse cycle, using lower temperatures as the cycle goes on.
Sensors detect the amount of food particles in the rinse water to determine exactly how long the rinse cycle should run — and no longer. Super fine filters reduce the amount of food debris circulating in the water, cutting down on total time to wash and rinse dishes.
Getting better all the time
When it comes to better use of resources, and lower energy bills, the appliance industry has had to up its game. While these new appliances are huge upgrades over their energy-gobbling cousins of the past, new technologies are on the horizon that will revolutionize home appliances even more. But in the meantime, if your current appliances are not energy star rated, it might be time to talk about the next steps.