To Repair or Replace: Stopping Energy Waste

energy efficient refrigerator

Whether you are a new homeowner or you are a seasoned veteran, you may be wondering, how do I know when it is time to upgrade my appliances for energy efficiency? Some new homeowners purchase older homes. Some seasoned homeowners have new appliances. Regardless of your personal situation, there are a few things to keep in mind.

We live in a very disposable society, where many individuals are looking to upgrade their appliances just because they want the newest version. The truth is, if you appliances are newer than 1990, chances are they are meeting energy efficiency regulations. However, that does not mean that they are running at optimal function, which might not be good on either your wallet or the environment. Something to consider is instead of running just to replace your air conditioner, hot water heater, furnace, refrigerator, or other appliances because you do not think that they are running at their optimal efficiency, check out some local Electrical Services that may be able to do some simple maintenance that will get your appliances back up close to their original state. A little maintenance can go a long way.

First, know what you are looking for.

If you are looking to keep up with the Jones’s, chances are you are not looking for ways to save money or to create a more energy efficient home. However, if the latter two values appeal to you, you are in the right place.

How do you even know if you need to upgrade your appliances? The government has made it easy to calculate, and has made it law that any newer appliances must have the usage in watts or amps listed. You can multiply this out over time used, by the cost of electricity in your area, to find out how much it is really costing you. You would be surprised at how much your electricity your older refrigerator takes, if it is running at complete efficiency.

But let’s say, for example, it is not. We know, as a working mom or working dad, that you have plenty of time on your weekends to clean the coils, fix compressors and seals, and conduct routine maintenance on schedule. The same goes for removing lime on your electric hot water heater. Truthfully, when was the last time any of us did this? These small routine tasks make electrical appliances work harder, using more energy. So, even though the plate on the inside of your appliance may say one thing, chances are, if your major appliances aren’t being taken care of with routine maintenance, that number may be off a little bit.

Second, decide what your plan of action is.

The question is, do I repair it, or do I replace it? Most individuals don’t think about calling in a repairman unless there is a major issue. However, how many of us think about calling in someone to actually conduct maintenance to our major appliances?

You wouldn’t run your car nonstop without changing the oil, getting a tune-up, or filling up the tires, right? The same goes for your home appliances. Regular maintenance is important, not only for energy efficiency and for saving money in the long run by preventing major problems, but for safety as well. No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke due to wiring finally calling it quits on the compressor in their ice box.

If your equipment is costing too much to repair, and is beyond routine maintenance, it may be time to upgrade. Now, there are many choices for energy efficient appliances. There are plenty of places that you can look to that will give you some guidance as to what you should look for.

Just to give you an idea, here are some examples of how long average appliances last:

Room air conditioners: 10 Years

Central air conditioners: 15 years

Electric boilers: 13 years

Dehumidifiers: 8 years

Dishwasher: 9 years

Dryers: 13 years

Furnace: 15 years

Refrigerator: 13 years

Water Heater: 11 years

Third, know what your payback is.

If you are looking to save money, purchasing a new furnace or refrigerator could take years to see a financial return through savings in energy efficiency. A new coffeepot, however, could have a payback within a month. Depending on the type of appliance, examining what your current usage is, the cost of replacing it completely, and doing the math to see how much you will save and how long it will take to get your money back from your investment may be an important factor in your decision.

If you are looking to keep it green, it is much more difficult to put a quantitative value on your decisions. Every small decision that individuals make, even on a small scale, can make a difference. The question is, is it worth it to you to have another piece of equipment in the landfill? Can you take it to a recycling center? Is it a better idea to have it repaired if it is performing at a high efficiency? The payback may be greater than what you can see, or even what your children’s generation can see. But we all have to start somewhere.

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