When Should You Buy Energy Efficient Appliances?

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You’ve heard the spiel from the salesman at your local appliance store. Your neighbor continuously talks about her new top-of-the-line dishwasher. The ads keep popping up in the newspaper. But how do you know if and when you should buy an energy efficient appliance?

Are Energy Efficient Appliances Worth the Cost?

energy efficient appliance energy star rating.
energy efficient appliance energy star rating.

Everyone knows energy efficient appliances are, well, energy efficient. But does it always make sense to buy them? On paper, they look good. However, there are always dozens of other factors to consider. For example, does it make sense to purchase energy efficient appliances when you already have working ones? Do the future savings cancel out the upfront costs?

These are all important questions to consider, so let’s take a look at a few of the things you need to know:

  1. Now vs. Later

If your appliances are currently working, the most pressing issue is probably related to when you should buy. Well, it probably makes the most sense to wait until your existing appliances need to be replaced. However, there’s more to it than that. If you think your current models are so inefficient that they’re draining excess money every time they’re used, then it may be smart to speed up the process.

It should also be noted that the prices on energy efficient appliances are better than ever before – and there’s no guarantee that the market will stay this way. Browse a reliable dealer like AJ Madison and check out some of the top of the line LG brand energy efficient appliances. Then compare them to the price for standard models and analyze the differential. If the variances are minimal, now may be better than later.

  1. Product Rebates and Special Offers

Another thing to consider is whether or not there are product rebates and other special offers available in your area. Depending on where you live, there may be county or state programs designed to incentivize customers to purchase more efficient appliances. It’s not uncommon for these rebates to be worth $50, $80, or $100-plus. Plug your zip code into the ENERGY STAR website to learn more.

  1. Personal Responsibility

It’s not all about financials. While the cost savings do exist – and it’s smart to figure out your break-even point – buying energy efficient appliances is also about reducing your carbon footprint and benefitting the environment. If these are important issues to you, then you’ll definitely want to factor these elements into the decision-making process.

Cost savings are great, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing your part to promote sustainability and reduce your carbon footprint is even more valuable. Keep this in mind when weighing the various pros and cons.

  1. Looking at Different Appliances

Not all appliances are created equal. Assuming you can’t afford to replace all of your appliances at once, where would your money be spent best?

One of the first things to look at is your air conditioner. If you have an air conditioner that’s 15 or 20 years old, an upgrade may save you up to $85 per year. Considering that air conditioners are designed to last a while, these savings will eventually cancel out the price. If you have an old refrigerator – manufactured before the 1990s – an energy efficient upgrade could save you $100-200 per year. Again, this upgrade makes sense.

  1. In Case of Emergency

It should be noted that, in case of emergency, energy efficient appliances are always preferred over standard appliances. This is especially true when it comes to something like a refrigerator.

You see, every time you open your refrigerator, you’re actually allowing warm air to pour in and mix with the cold air. By the time you get what you’re looking for and close the door, the internal temperature of the refrigerator may have risen by a significant amount. According to research, poor door-opening habits can increase a refrigerator’s energy use by 5-10 percent (and as much as 28 percent in one study).

What does this have to do with an emergency situation? Well, let’s say a natural disaster sweeps through your area and your home is without power for a week. Every time you open the refrigerator to get out food, the appliance is losing its ability to cool. By the time you open it up 10 or 15 times, it’s essentially the same temperature as the room.

An energy efficient appliance solves this problem by keeping more of the cool air inside. This makes it a much more reliable refrigerator for everyday life, in addition to emergencies and disaster situations.

Make the Right Decision

So, when is the right time to buy an energy efficient appliance? There’s no surefire answer. Review all of the factors affecting your decision and then make a calculated choice based on the cost savings.

Sometimes it makes sense, other times it’s better to wait.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.