Household appliances are a contributing factor to your energy bill costs each month. The good news is that with proper care, maintenance and use you can reduce the amount of energy each appliance uses, helping the environment and saving you money at the same time. Check out tips for all the major household appliances below.
Keep the unit away from direct sunlight and heat-producing appliances. Refrigerators are designed to stay in a conditioned climate, so the excess heat will make your refrigerator work harder to keep cool.
Consider keeping refrigerators with rear external condensers at least two to three inches away from the wall. This allows more breathing room and better air flow around the condenser coils, which helps the refrigerator cool more efficiently.
Clean the door seals with a mild soap twice a year to prevent them from drying out and cracking or splitting. If you notice cold air leaking around the door, it may be time to replace the seals.
Clean the condenser coils at least twice a year. Dirt, dust and pet hair accumulate and make the unit work harder to keep cool.
Limit the number of times you open the refrigerator door. The air suction created by the action of opening the door causes the refrigerator to lost more air than if the door were left open a little longer instead.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer moderately full. Cooled mass in the refrigerator and freezer helps them stay cool more efficiently.
Keep the lint filter clean to maximize air circulation and energy efficiency. Keeping the lint filter clean also prevents fire.
Dry full loads, and use the moisture sensor setting. Not only does this save energy, it also protects your clothes from heat damage.
Keep the dryer's outside exhaust clean to prevent dryer fires and reduce drying time, which saves energy. Keep the dryer at least four inches away from the wall to prevent kinks or tears from forming in the exhaust vent.
If you have an older top-loading washer, consider converting to a front-loading washer, which uses about 70 percent less water.
When appropriate, wash clothes in cold water. This saves the energy needed to heat the water.
Wash full loads. Washers use about the same amount of energy for all load sizes, so fill up the load to avoid wasting energy.
Use the high speed spin cycle, which takes more moisture out of your clothes. The drier they are coming out of the washer, the less drying time is needed, which saves energy.
Keep electric and gas burners clean. Clean burners reflect heat better use energy more efficiently.
Turn off electric burners two to three minutes before cooking is done and let residual heat take care of the rest.
Use a pot or pan that fits the burner. The correct size pot or pan will distribute heat more efficiently, and less heat will be lost into the air.
If your stove has radiant or halogen burners, always have a pot or pan on the burner when you turn it on to allow the pot and burner to heat at the same time. A cold pot coming in contact with a hot burner could cause a crack in the stove.
Leave the oven door closed. The more you open it to check on cooking food, the more heat you let escape, and the harder your oven has to work to stay heated.
If you're cooking a dish that has a long cook time, such as a turkey, put the dish in as the oven is heating up. Then turn the oven off and allow residual heat to finish the job.
If you're making two dishes that both require oven cooking at about the same temperature, put them in together to take full advantage of the energy used to heat the unit.
Run full loads. Dishwashers use the same amount of energy for all loads, so take advantage of the energy used in each one.
Use the air-dry setting or open your dishwasher after the wash cycle is finished. Air drying dishes saves more energy than the heat-dry setting. Use a water-sheeting agent, such as Jet Dry®, to allow your dishes to dry quicker.
Don't pre-rinse; scrape dishes clean instead to save up to 20 gallons of water.
Run your dishwasher after peak energy hours. In some cities, this can save you money on your energy bill.
How to Recycle Old Appliances
A 20-year-old refrigerator or freezer can consume two to four times more energy than a new model, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Contact your local electric utility company to see if they offer a bounty program in your area. If applicable, they will collect and recycle your old refrigerated appliances that contain refrigerant. Some utility providers may offer rebates or discounts on Energy Star® appliances.
Contact your local department of public works and ask about the procedures for collecting and recycling refrigerated appliances in your area.
Federal law requires that the refrigerant must be removed before the appliance can be disposed. If you are required to make sure it is removed, do not attempt to remove it on your own. Call a certified technician to safely and properly remove and dispose of the refrigerant.
Don't just leave your old household appliances on the curb for large trash pickup. It could be picked up by someone who will not dispose of them properly.
Make sure you know what will happen to your appliance. Appliances are typically recycled or landfilled, but they can also be refurbished and resold if in working condition.
Almost all of the materials in refrigerated appliances can be recycled, which reduces the need to produce new materials.
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