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Improve efficiency of home appliances


October 11, 2017 | View PDF

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Upgrading to new energy efficient home appliances can reduce your bills and add value to your home.

Home improvement projects often involve remodeling. But homeowners can improve their homes without ever picking up a hammer. Upgrading a home's appliances with products that are more eco-friendly can add value to a home and make the home more attractive to buyers who want their homes to look good and pay dividends for the environment.

The United States Department of Energy says the average American family spends about $2,200 each year for energy costs, and large, inefficient appliances no doubt contribute heavily to those expenditures. Appliances that are several years old, including refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and even ovens, may no longer meet the stringent energy-saving specifications required of new items. That means such appliances are negatively affecting the environment and their owners' bottom lines.

According to the Energy Star program, a refrigerator that is at least 15 years old may be consuming twice as much energy as a newer Energy Star-rated refrigerator. Even though purchasing new appliances will require a financial commitment, such items may help save money while benefitting the environment at the same time.

Read the label

Familiarize yourself with the "EnergyGuide" label that appears on most appliances. This label gives consumers an idea as to how much it will cost to run the appliance, as well as how much energy the unit uses on average. Use this label to compare the different models you are considering.

Choose appliances that are part of the Energy Star program, which helps consumers find products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The biggest piece of advice I would give is to make sure that it is Energy Star certified," said Scott Sammon, marketing implementer at Puget Sound Energy.

"That way you are sure to get the latest and greatest in terms of energy efficiency," he said.

Look for the best energy-efficiency

There are a variety of appliance options out there. The Snohomish PUD's website at let's users filter for options they want to find appliances with the best energy features.

"People can use our Smart Rewards website that allows you to find a energy-efficient product that best matches your needs," said Hillary Olson, retail program manager at the Snohomish PUD.

Downgrade to a small model

Large appliances tend to consume more energy than small appliances. Scaling down the size of the appliance can reduce energy consumption. Empty nesters may no longer need a refrigerator capable of holding food for a family of four, while those who routinely dine out may find they don't get much use out of their larger refrigerator.

Look for rebate programs

Rebate and recycling programs can help reduce the initial cost of purchasing new appliances.

The Snohomish PUD provides rebates for some appliances.

"We do have varying levels of incentives," said Olson. "There's cash incentives for the highest level of efficiencies and LED incentives for those appliances with not quite as much efficiency," she said.

Their rewards are available at

Rebates have also been streamlined with an online process at the Snohomish PUD.

"The reward can all be done online now, you can even do it in the store by taking a picture of the receipt," said Olson. Paper applications for rebates are still available as well.

The PUD also adds new items frequently to their incentive list, like a recently created reward for a smart thermostat.

"These are thermostats that have a learning algorithm to customize the heating around your house's needs," said Olson.

The PUD also provides a number of other incentives for various forms of energy-efficiency.

"In addition to appliances, weatherizing and having efficient heating can also provide incentives," said Neil Neroutsos, corporate communications for Snohomish PUD.

Think about future salability

Homeowners who do not intend to stay in their homes much longer may find energy efficient appliances make their homes more attractive to prospective buyers.

Energy efficient appliances can reduce homeowners' carbon footprints while also saving them considerable amounts of money over the life of the products.


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