Appliance Efficiency Strategies


Upgrading inefficient appliances to modern ENERGY STAR® models can significantly reduce energy bills and lower your carbon footprint. Your new appliances may even qualify for an energy efficiency rebate from a local utility company.

According to ENERGY STAR®, 70 percent of energy consumed in homes is used to power appliances. Lowering that 70 percent with some modern equipment can save you hundreds of dollars per year. There’s a wide range of cost and energy efficiency even within ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, so check out our Tips and Tricks before replacing a home appliance to get the most out of your purchase.  

Energy efficient refrigerators, washers and dryers offer the biggest opportunity to save. These appliances alone account for 80 to 90 percent of household appliance energy consumption. If you decide to replace your washers and dryers, a front loading washer and dryer are your best choice for saving energy and water. Some new dryers even have moisture sensors, which allow them to automatically shut off when your clothes are dry.

The best way to find the most efficient model is to compare the Annual Operating Cost on the Energy Guide sticker across different models. Find the one with the smallest annual operating cost that still meets your needs.

Second Refrigerators

Garage or basement refrigerators are often old kitchen refrigerators that are currently being used for extra storage, and are typically partially full and may not have any frozen foods. These older machines have low efficiencies and have an estimated annual electricity use of 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year. This occasionally used appliance can consume twice the energy of your more modern kitchen refrigerator.

If you decide to continue using your current extra refrigerator, consider the following tips:

  • Check the door seals by sliding a piece of paper in the door. If the paper falls, it means the door seals are not functioning properly and should be replaced to avoid wasted energy consumption.
  • Unplug the unit when not in use and remove the door or lock it open. This will save electricity and reduce chances of mold and mildew.
  • Keep the refrigerator’s heat exchange coils clean. Remove dust with a light brush and get rid of grime with a soft dampened cloth. This will improve cooling capability and reduce operating costs.
  • If your garage or basement refrigerator is idle and unplugged, make sure to plug it in periodically for a two hour duration or longer to keep refrigeration seals from drying out.
  • If your extra refrigerator is running but not kept full, consider replacing it with a smaller ENERGY STAR® refrigerator that can be kept full.

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