3. All over the House: [Continued from Going Green in the Home]
a. Washer and Dryer: Energy-efficient washers have multiple options in water levels and temperatures. Front loaders use the least water and electricity. Energy Star washing machines can save over $550 in energy and water costs over the appliance’s lifetime.
The best energy-efficiency feature on a dryer is a moisture sensor that shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry.
b. Windows: Replacing windows is one of the most expensive home improvements, but with today’s many options, you can reduce your energy bill by up to 15%, and add to the value of your home. Look for double or even triple panes of glass, sometimes filled with argon gas, which acts as insulation, or low-E glass (low emissivity), or warm edge spacers that reduce heat flow and prevent condensation. (Federal tax credits for energy-efficient windows expired at the end of 2007, but many states offer rebates. Your local energy company may also offer rebates. www.dsireusa.org )
c. Heating and Air conditioning: When your furnace or air conditioner enters the 12 to 15 year age range, Energy Star guidelines recommend replacement with a new, more efficient unit. If temperatures are moderate, a geothermal heat pump is a great choice. see www.geoexchange.us Any system that is Energy star certified can save 20 to 30% on heating and cooling costs. Sometimes a more efficient system will make a smaller-size unit possible, saving on initial cost as well as future bills.
Zoned Heating Systems: A zoned heating system allows you to only turn up the heat where you need it, resulting in significant savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, zoning the heating system can save homeowners up to 30 percent on a typical heating and cooling bill. Because heating and cooling accounts for more than 40 percent of an average household’s utility costs, the savings from a zoned system can really add up.
d. Water Heater: the third largest home energy expense. A tankless heater (this blog post) costs about $800 – $1200 uninstalled, and will save you 50% in operating costs. A solar water heating system will cost $2500 to $3500 installed and will save 50 – 80%. Think of how this can insulate you from any rise in energy prices. see www.epa.gov for a comparison fact sheet.
TIP: The most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your old appliances is to donate them. In our area, you can donate to Frederick Building Supply, or to Peace and Plenty, on South Street. Or, you can join Freecycle at www.freecycle.org. Reliable Junk, now on 8005 Reichs Ford Road is also a great resource to recycle.
With many stores, hauling off the old appliance is part of the service, so be sure to ask.
For more ideas on making your house more green, go to The Daily Green.
Life Expectancy of Appliances
- Faucet – 20+ years
- Toilet – Unlimited with 10-year maintenance on working parts
- Showerhead – Unlimited
- Refrigerator/Freezer — 13 years
- Cooktop – Gas, 15 years; electric, 13 years; magnetic induction, 10 years (estimate-they are very new)
- Dishwasher – 9 years
- Washer – 10 years
- Dryer – 13 years
- Water Heater – Electric, 11 years; Gas, 10 years; Tankless, 20+ years
- Windows – Aluminum, 15-20 years; Wood, 30+ years
- Heating and Air Conditioning – Warm-air electric, 15 years; Warm-air gas, 18 years; Warm-air oil, 20 years; Heat pump, 16 years; Central air conditioning, 15 years