Cut energy waste with better appliances

Looking to cut your energy use and lower your monthly electric bill? If you’re already in the market for a new washer, dryer, dishwasher or refrigerator, we have some buying tips that will help you make the most of your purchase.

When shopping for a new oven, look for those that have a self-cleaning feature. They typically are better insulated, which makes them more efficient. Induction cooktops and ranges are more expensive than their traditional gas and electric counterparts, but the newer technology offers faster, more efficient cooking. It’s worth mentioning that induction ranges require induction-compatible cookware, but also are safer because burners don’t stay hot after use.

Washing machines
High-efficiency, front-loading clothes washers tend to use the least amount of energy, though many new high-efficiency, top-loading washers are equally efficient. Front-loading washers also edge out top-loading washers in water use, which lessens drying time and the associated energy use.

An auto-off option will save electricity by sensing whether clothes are dry before the cycle ends. Automatic shut-off can save 10% to 15% of the energy used in a traditional timed cycle.

Look for a dishwasher that offers multiple cycle options. Most newer models feature light, normal and heavy cycles for different levels of dirtiness. Also look for a “no-heat” drying feature. Up to 10% of a dishwasher’s energy use is spent on heated drying, and the option to air-dry at the end of a cycle can save you that added use.

There are several things to consider when shopping for a refrigerator. Models with the freezer on top are usually the most energy-efficient. Capacity is also worth careful consideration. Both compartments operate more efficiently when full, whereas a refrigerator and freezer that are even partially empty can lead to wasted electricity.

Regardless of which appliance you are shopping for, we recommend looking for models that earn Energy Star certification. Learn more about energy efficiency in appliances and which models meet those standards at

Even if you’re not yet in need of any new appliances, you can take steps to reduce the energy your current devices use. Load your washing machine and dryer to – but not over – full capacity. Ensure that the vent for your dryer is clear of lint and other debris. The shorter it is, with fewer bends and upward angles, the more efficiently it can expel hot air. Check the door seals of your refrigerator and freezer by placing a dollar bill along each section. A loose bill means that section might not be suctioning as it should and could be losing refrigerated air. Maintain temperatures of 36 to 38 degrees in the refrigerator and 0 to 5 degrees in the freezer. If possible, locate your refrigerator away from “hot” appliances such as the oven and dishwasher.