Monday, November 19, 2012

Should you upgrade your appliances? An energy metre can help you decide

For years now I have wondered if it’s time to update our appliances. They were in the house when we bought it ten years ago and work well, but after reading about efficiency gains in many appliances over the years, I was curious about whether or not it would be worth our while (and our carbon footprint) to buy new.

The energy savings stats sounded good but there was always the nagging question: is it really more eco-friendly to toss our current fridge, stove and chest freezer and replace them with new, when they’re working perfectly well?

I got my answer this week.
Using an inexpensive energy meter ($22 at Canadian Tire), a simple device that measures the energy consumption of appliances, I measured the energy consumption of our chest freezer and fridge and came up with some pretty convincing numbers. (I wasn’t able to measure our range so researched that separately).
This is what I discovered: Our fridge uses about 2100 KWH of energy each year, which equates to $207. It sounded reasonable enough until I researched new refrigerators and discovered that many use in the rage of 370 KWH to 550 kwh of energy per year. That’s one quarter, or less, of the power in a year. I discovered that a new freezer could easily use just 20% of the power of our current freezer and a new range about 40% less.
Discovering that we’re using five-times more energy than necessary was a shock considering our goal has always been to use considerably less energy than your average household.
Suffice to say, if you want new appliances, doing an energy comparison can help you build your case, especially if your appliances are 10 years or older. But not all new appliances are created equal and many use way more energy than they really need to. If you’re buying new choose appliances with the lowest EnerGuide rating and take advantage of in-store rating systems like Home Depot’s Eco Options rating.

Whether your appliances are new or old, ensure that you’re using them as efficiently as possible.

For your range:
·        Only pre-heat for baking. Most other food can go right in while the oven comes to temperature. During cooking open the door as little as possible since at least 20 percent of the heat is lost each time the door is opened.

·        Match pots to the size of the cooking element and use lids on pots to contain the heat.

·        Make sure the oven door seals are clean and tight. (They should hold a slip of paper snugly.)

·        Lower the heat! A fast boil is no hotter than a gentle boil so once boiling starts turn down the heat.

For your refrigerator:

·        Clean the condenser coils regularly so air can circulate.

·        Don’t hold the door open longer than necessary.

·        Don’t place warm food or containers in the refrigerator (wait until they cool).

·        Don’t overfill your refrigerator. Restricted air circulation inside reduces energy efficiency.

·        Make sure the door seals are clean and tight.

 

1 comment:

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