When thinking about your energy consumption you have to take a multifaceted approach to lowering your footprint. Both for environmental and sustainability reasons, but also for your wallet.
Not only do you need to cut down on your consumption, but you have to be able to get creative with how you take measures to do so. Things get complicated when you already have your house and appliances and are trying to find ways to cut down on your bills and live more sustainably than if you are setting out to build your house and start from scratch.
All this to say that you should consider upgrading some of your appliances to better comply with current energy usage recommendations. You may spend more money in the short term by switching to newer, energy efficient appliances, but eventually it pays for itself in energy savings.
In this article, I will go over several of the appliances that you should consider upgrading and lower your carbon footprint.
1 – Air conditioner
Getting through a summer without using an air conditioner is not an option for many people. The heat is just too unbearable for most to be able to get by and it can even be downright dangerous for some.
The problem is that when you have several box air conditioners that go right in the window is the most inefficient way to cool your house down. They might be nice for cooling rooms separately rather than the whole house, but this is not much of a benefit when you consider how much energy is wasted trying to cool a large area with this type of unit.
The better type that is far more efficient, and as a bonus a lot quieter, is the one that is ductless. These kinds have the compressor outside the home and then the fan inside. You can often split the incoming line and have a couple of units inside working off of the compressor.
A good example are these Mitsubishi mini split air conditioners. There are various sizes for the compressors with the largest able to split into five different zones. This gives you the ability to have multiple ones working throughout the home without running a bunch of different units.
2 – Water heater
One of the biggest energy wasters in the home is the hot water heater. A traditional tank heater heats water all the time so it is ready to go when you need it. The problem is that for almost the entire day, you don’t need any hot water. Yet, the heater continues to heat it all day and night.
The better option is to go with a tankless water heater that only heats the water when you actually turn it on. These are more expensive than the traditional tank style, but they pay for themselves as you only heat the water on demand.
You just need to find the right size for your hot water demand so you have enough for the whole house when you have multiple fixtures running at once.
They also use just about all of the energy at the moment it is turned on to heating the actual water. Very little heat loss happens with a tankless water heater. And when you have them installed, you can see up to a 30% reduction on your energy bill.
The most effective ones for big households are gas as they can handle high BTU needs. But, there are smaller, more efficient electric ones available when you have low hot water needs.
3 – Refrigerator
Kind of like a hot water heater, a fridge is running all day and night. The difference is that you need it to unlike a hot water heater. If it didn’t, then your food would spoil.
This doesn’t mean that they have to be energy hogs, however. In fact, new models use up to 60% less energy than older ones that you may still be using now. So, upgrading can see immediate benefits and lower electricity bills. Of course, it depends on the age of the refrigerator. If it is less than 10 years old, then your savings will likely be less than $100 per year. Older ones can save you hundreds per year when you upgrade, however.
New refrigerators are also very smart so you have more control over the settings which adds to the efficiency. Look for fridges with the freezer on top rather than side to side as they are the most efficient.