Is It Time To Chuck That Old Appliance?


Tax credits, other incentives are available for some new models

Literally dozens of things in our homes use energy. Figuring out which ones cost you the most money to run is the first step to choosing more efficient options.

Here are four common appliances that should be examined for age and efficiency.

  1. Refrigerator: If your current model is more than 12 years old, it could be costing a lot to operate. Energy Star® says improvements in insulation and compressors in 2004 have made today’s models much more energy efficient.
  2. Clothes Washer: Similar to refrigerators, washers built before 2003 are significantly less efficient than newer models, says Energy Star®.
  3. Clothes Dryer: Energy Star® models include sensor drying, not timed drying, and lower heat settings to improve efficiency.
  4. Water Heater: These devices typically last 10-15 years, but performance can degrade in several ways. Water heaters use about 18 percent of the energy in an average American home, second only to your home’s heating and cooling system. Here some are tips on choosing a new water heater.

When shopping for replacement appliances, always look for the bright yellow EnergyGuide label that will help you compare products. Also, make it a priority to consider Energy Star® appliances. They may cost you a little more money upfront, but will cost less to operate over time.

Consumer Reports and online guides from Energy Star and others include rankings of some appliances by energy efficiency or energy use.

How ODOE Can Help Rebates, incentives, and tax credits may be available to help homeowners with these activities. Visit the websites for ODOE (tax credits for certain water heaters), Energy Trust, and your local utility to find out more. Energy Trust also has incentives for recycling certain old appliances.

Want More Help? Contact Roger Kainu, ODOE energy efficiency specialist, at 503-580-7469 or via email at