Energy-Saving Home Devices
These days the trend for modern appliances is for them to be more energy-efficient, smaller, less expensive, and longer-lasting. Every time you have to replace home appliances, hopefully, they are better than their predecessor. Here are six modern appliances that are better than their equivalents in your parents’ day.
1. Washer Dryers
These days washer dryers are highly efficient. The latest models often have automatic water level settings that alter the amount of water in the drum, based on the weight of the clothing or fabric being put into it. You can also phone your water provider and find out how ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ the water is in your locale. There is actually a specific amount of detergent you should be using, based on the type of water. The temperature of the water is another thing; you can generally use a cold or warm wash / cold rinse which, 9 times out of 10, is just as effective as a hot wash / warm rinse; the quality of cleaning is not affected by the temperature, apart from in special circumstances.
Modern washer dryers will tend to have a ‘perma press’ (cool-down) cycle, too, in which heat is not supplied during the final segment of your cycle, but instead, cool air is used. The dryer’s exhaust vent should be regularly maintained, cleared of lint or cobwebs which can make it less effective. It’s also a good idea to do many loads during a few hours, rather than single loads each time; this will save on the energy and time it takes for the washer dryer to get to its optimum drying temperature. Some models will even have an in-built sensor that will stop as soon as the clothes are dry.
2. Modern Refrigerators
These comprise a significant part of your electricity bill; they’re constantly on, after all, rather than being used intermittently. If your current refrigerator is nearing the 10-year mark, purchasing a newer model could pay for itself in just a few years. Nowadays, there is a helpful ENERGY STAR rating, a centralized program devised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). On the modern refrigerator, you will be able to work out how efficient it is, based on its ENERGY STAR rating, something which is standardized across seventy-five different categories of products in commercial buildings, homes, and industrial plants.
3. Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air conditioners, unlike fixed air conditioners, allow you to target the area which you want to be cooled down, and thus use less energy overall. They tend to be cheaper and very easy to manipulate in terms of setting. Rather than seek to alter the whole room’s temperature, you can situate the portable air conditioner right where you are, and so cool your immediate area, using a higher temperature setting which saves money as well as energy. Unlike a traditional HVAC unit, portable air conditioners can be proactive, blasting out cold air in a rapid way, rather than slowly cooling down a whole room over a longer time. You can even place it strategically in the kitchen to counteract the heat that is generated whilst cooking.
Modern dishwashers efficiently remove virtually all food residue. You can help it out, though, by quickly pre-rinsing your dishes and only operating when it’s full to the brim. Make sure filters and drains are cleaned or checked every so often, and opt for a ‘light wash’, ‘economy’ or ‘energy-save’ wash every time, unless you’re dealing with some really strong stained porcelain, perhaps from a big BBQ. Models that have an ‘air-dry’ function are useful because they use circulation fans, using less power than the ‘heat-dry’ function.
5. Water Heater
With your existing water heater, you can insulate it and its piping so that you need less energy to make it work at optimum capacity. You should be able to have it no higher than 120F (49C) if it’s properly wrapped. Newer models will allow you to dispense with the tank. They can save you up to fifty percent in terms of energy costs!
6. Smart Power Strips
Consider investing in a smart power strip that can handle many appliances being plugged in simultaneously, at any given time. It will automatically sense and cut off energy which is active, even in dormant devices, unlike their traditional counterparts. It can sense when your devices are on ‘standby’ mode, so over the months and years, it will save you energy and money.
Overall, the newer and more sensitive the technology, the more likely it is that it will save you money, space, and energy. What’s good for your wallet and the ergonomics of your home is pleasingly good for the planet, too. Be on the look-out for the latest developments in appliances, so as to make your household as efficient and planet-friendly as possible.