How to Decide Whether to Repair or Replace Appliances

a picture of an old rusted refrigeratorPatty Kim from Howdini, discusses when it’s better to fix or ditch your household appliances in a youtube video called How To Decide Whether to Repair Or Replace Appliances. She gives a rule of thumb to help make a good decision, talks about the importance of EnergyStar ceretified, and gives great tips on what to look for when shopping for household appliances.

Fix or Ditch

From an environmental point of view, it’s better to keep old appliances out of the land fills for as long as possible. But, from a price standpoint, here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: If the cost to replace a household appliance is more than half the cost of a new one, it makes more sense to buy a new one. Why? Because new appliances are more energy efficient, saving you money in the long run.

New refrigerators consume up to 75% less energy than those made before 2001. When shopping for a new fridge, opt for a top freezer model rather than a side by side model, and make sure its Energy Star certified. A new fridge should last 14 long energy-efficient years.

Newer dishwashers use less hot water, have energy efficient motors and sensors to determine the length of the wash cycle. Furthermore, Energy Star certified models are 25% more energy efficient than the federal standards. The life of a dishwasher is 9 hand-washing free years.

Here’s an interesting fact. Washing dishes by hand is less efficient than using a dishwasher because generally, more hot water is used when done by hand.

The average life cycle of a clothes dryer is about 13 years, and as long as it has a moisture sensor, which most do, it will run about the some effifiancy as new models. When buying a new dryer, look for one with a sensor in the drum instead of the exhaust vent–it will shut off a little sooner, saving slightly more energy. Dryers use the most energy, so line drying is the greenest option (and only recommended if you live on a farm!).

Top loaders use a lot more water than their front loading counterparts. Energy Star certified washers, circulate clothes in a shallower pool of water, use less water and heat saving you more money in the long run.

Hot Water Heater
Switching from an electric water heater to gas can cut down on energy usage by 50%. However, older gas water heaters, heaters more than 10 years old, probaly deserve to be ditched. Although they can last up to 25 years, they get less efficient with time.

When buying a new water heater, look for one with a demand or tankless system. This means, water circulated is heated only when needed using up to 60% less energy compared to the standard minimum efficiancy heater according the government. Switching from an old heater to a tankless gas heat will save about $1800 dollars a year.

Air conditioner
If your air conditioner breaks down and is older than 10 years, get a new one. Coolant used in air conditioners is hazardous and you should to talk to your city for disposal instructions. Many times the company installing your new system will dispose of the old one, so be sure to ask them about that before hand.

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