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Appliances are the most common labor-saving devices in our homes. Whether helping to keep us clean, comfortable, or nourished, appliances are an essential part of daily life. Although they can save us a lot of time and effort, their use comes with an energy cost.

Below is a table to help you understand the energy usage of the most common major kitchen appliances, and how you might save at home: 

  Average Lifespan Efficient Use & Maintenance Shopping Tips Potential Energy
Savings Per Year
Refrigerator 15-20 years Make sure there is clearance between the fridge and the wall, and that there are no large ice accumulations in the freezer.

Replace the door gasket if it no longer seals tightly.

Set fridge temperature to 38-40 degrees and freezers to 0-5 degrees; any colder is not necessary and wastes energy.
The most efficient models have the freezer compartment on the bottom.

Look for ENERGY STAR models to get the best efficiency.
$140 for a new model versus a 20 year old model
Dishwasher 10-12 years Wash only full dishloads.

Avoid pre-rinsing (it is unnecessary).
Consider models that will let you adjust water temperature, or ones that can automatically sense how soiled the water is.

Use the ENERGY STAR website to compare the efficiency of different models.
$40 for a new model versus a pre-1994 model
Oven Range 14-20 years Open oven doors only when you need to. The temperature can drop 30 degrees in just a few seconds! Choose the features that most appeal to you, as there are currently no ENERGY STAR standards for ovens. Negligible
Washer & Dryer 12-14 years Make sure your wash loads are neither too small nor too large.

Clean the lint trap before each dryer use.

Use cold water whenever possible. Reserve warm water for heavily soiled loads and bedding.

Air dry your clothes whenever possible.

Nearly all HE washers are front-loading, a design choice that allows them to conserve water, move clothes more gently in the wash cycle, and dry clothes more fully in the final spin. HE models will extend the life of your machine, your clothes, and your budget.

Choose an ENERGY STAR model.

Look for dryers that time cycles based on how much moisture is detected by an internal sensor.
$135 for new model versus 10 year old model
Microwave 10 years Cook food in stages, stirring in between. Choose the features that most appeal to you, as there are currently no ENERGY STAR standards for ovens. Negligible

ENERGY STAR saves money and energy 

ENERGY STAR ® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. Many appliances, lighting products, and electronics can earn the ENERGY STAR label by meeting these energy-efficiency requirements:

  • Deliver features and performance demanded by customers, in addition to increased energy efficiency 

  • Allow for recovery of investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings within a reasonable amount of time

  • Produce measurable and verified energy saving results 

When shopping for lighting, electronics, and appliances (including heating, cooling, and water heating), always look for the ENERGY STAR label. To find qualifying products that are ENERGY STAR labeled, visit  

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