Thursday, March 8, 2012

Energy savings could pay for a new Refrigerator or Freezer!

In with the new...but did you go out with the old?

In the past few years many consumers got federal rebates for new appliances. About 1.7 million rebates were redeemed, and the U.S. Department of Energy estimates these appliances will cut $65 million from electric bills every year.

Great news, right? Sure, if people really follow the adage, "Out with the old, in with the new." But for one in five households, that's not the case. A national survey by the Cooperative Research Network, an arm of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, found 19% of homes have two refrigerators; 2% own three or more.

The problem with keeping an old refrigerator is simple: You're not saving money. By sending these "energy hogs" to the basement or garage you jack up electric bills even more.

Appliances already use 13% of your home's electricity, and older appliances drain even more. A refrigerator from 1970s cost $200 more to operate every year than a current model; a 1980 fridge isn't much better, wasting $100 in energy dollars annually.

If you're in the market for a new refrigerator or freezer you should make sure it is Energy Star rated or check the Energy Guide to compare units to make sure you choose an efficient unit. Replacement of older units also offers the opportunity to downsize if your family has downsized over the years.

A newer refrigerator or freezer will use between 1/4 to 1/2 the electricity of an older unit. If you downsize the unit you can save an additional 10-25% on the annual electricity use.

For more information and to calculate energy savings visit the EnergyStar website:

In this example run, upgrading a 19-21 cu.ft. chest freezer will save around $125/year. If you downsize to an 8.8 cu.ft. unit listed in the energy guide above you can save an additional $18/year. A new 8.8 cu.ft. freezer can be purchased for under $300 with rebates, giving you around a 2 year payback with applied energy savings.