Appliances are the most common labor-saving devices in our homes. Whether helping us keep clean, comfortable, or nourished, appliances are an essential part of daily life. And although they can save us a lot of time and effort, their use comes with an energy cost.
Cooktops, ranges, and microwaves
The energy-related differences between the various ways to cook and bake food usually have very little to do with either the device or its fuel. Although there may be incremental energy savings between different devices, the overall energy used to cook and bake food in most homes is relatively small—$50 to $75 per year on average. There are presently no ENERGY STAR standards for these appliances.
At one time dishwashers were relatively rare in households; today they are a common component of many kitchens. Aside from obvious convenience and timesaving, dishwashers can also help to sanitize dishes, potentially reducing the occurrence of illness. In addition, an efficient dishwasher will also use less hot water than washing dishes by hand.
The typical household in America cleans and dries about 400 loads of laundry in a year. Up to 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat water, and the energy use of dryers is directly related to the moisture content of the clothes; these two factors illustrate the energy-saving opportunities in a typical laundry room.
Refrigerators and freezers
Refrigerators are one of the appliances that use a lot of energy in a typical home. In fact, in most Minnesota homes a refrigerator is the largest user of electricity, after air conditioners.
This guide describes the basic components of a house that separate the outdoors from the indoors. It contains ways to reduce energy use with insulation, air-sealing, windows, and doors. Information is included on how to assess the current operation of your home through an energy audit and how to begin the process of tightening your home to curtail energy consumption.
A significant portion of home energy use is for all of the common things that make our lives easier and safer. The Appliances, Lighting, and Electronics guide discusses options for reducing energy consumption of these devices by changing when and how we use them. Additionally, there is information on what to consider when you are repairing or replacing these items.