Appliances account for about 20% of your household’s energy consumption, with refrigerators, clothes dryers and washers at the top of the list. If you're looking for information about hot water heaters, clothes washers or dish washers, see our Water Heating section.
Make Your Refrigerator Purr: Gently brush away dirt and dust from the exposed coils at the back of your refrigerator, and make sure it has breathing room. Also, check the seals on the doors to make sure they are tight. If you can put a dollar bill in the door and pull it out after it is closed, you probably need new seals. If your fridge is more than ten years old, it may pay to get a new one.
Cost: Free to clean; new seals vary.
$35 Rebate for Old Refrigerators: If your old refrigerator is operational and more than 10 cubic feet, you qualify for this rebate. Contact the Appliance Recycling Center of America (ARCA) at 800-599-5792 for more information. You can use this incentive to purchase a new Energy Star refrigerator.
Clothes Line or Rack:Investing a few dollars in a clothes line or clothes-drying rack can cut your utility bill by as much as 20%. Check with your homeowners' association before installing. And remember, the lint that you collect from your dryer after every cycle used to be in your clothes! A clothes line or drying rack will keep your clothes more intact and help them last longer.
Cost: Less than $15
Energy Star Refrigerator: Can save you between $35 to $70 a year compared to models designed 15 years ago. This adds up to between $525 and $1,050 during the average 15-year life of the unit.
Cost: $500 or more
Energy Star Central Natural Gas Furnace: New central furnaces are available that use 20-30% less energy to heat your home than older models. Replacing your old furnace with an Energy Star furnace or an Energy Efficient furnace may qualifie you for a rebate, click here to find out.
Cost $500 to $1500
No need to keep the pilot light on your furnace lit during the hot summer months. Turn off the pilot until the cooler weather comes or contact the utility to come to your home to do it for you.
Energy Star Central Heat Pump: A heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating as much as 30% to 40%. If you use electricity to heat your home, consider installing an energy-efficient heat pump system. Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates, providing three times more heating than the equivalent amount of energy they consume in electricity by collecting heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrating it for use inside. Heat pumps do double-duty as a central air-conditioner. They can also cool your home by collecting the heat inside your house and effectively pumping it outside.
Cost: $100 to $500
Whole House Evaporative Cooler:Also known as a 'swamp cooler', this appliance uses significantly less energy than an air conditioning unit for those who live in drier, desert areas.
Cost: $300 to $700
If you need to purchase a gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic electric ignition, so that a pilot will not need to be continuously on.
Whole House Fan: A whole house fan allows hot air in your home to easily escape to your attic and out of your house. To qualify for the utility rebate, the whole house fan you purchase must move 1,000 cubic feet per minute or more and you must have existing air conditioning.
Energy Efficient Central Air Conditioner: Qualifying Central air conditioners must be listed by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and must have an ARI reference number obtained from the licensed contractor who installs the unit.