Out with the old, in with the new. The euphoria of replacing an old, dingy item with a shiny new replacement — it’s a great feeling. That feeling is multiplied when the replacement is well priced, energy efficient and easy on the eyes.
Look around your house. There are probably a number of items that could be upgraded with new technology. While some of these appliances might be working just fine, they’re most likely wasting energy and costing you more money than their updated counterparts. Here are a few to consider.
Security camera technology companies such as Lorex introduced wire-free cameras that start recording when the built-in thermo-sensor detects activity from a person, animal or vehicle. This saves on energy and provides the practical benefit of eliminating hours and hours of unimportant footage. If you run a business, this feature can save you money on operating costs.
The American Chemical Society found older vacuums released bacteria and small dust particles into the air. There’s no reason not to upgrade an old vacuum to protect the air quality inside your home. Look for vacuums that have a trigger for power use. Hoover, Dust Devil and Dyson have rechargeable, battery-powered models that are eco-friendly and convenient.
Make sure you have an energy-efficient A/C unit by finding the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) on the manufacturer’s label (usually a yellow sticker). The recommended ratings are based on your location and climate, so you’ll have to research if your A/C is up to par.
If your dishwasher was made within the last 10 years, there’s a good chance it’s an Energy Star model. These dishwashers provide minimal cost savings, but save 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime and are designed to use less energy.
Hot Water Heater
An electric water heater or solar unit with electric back-up are the most energy-efficient options and save you the most money. If your water heater is outdated, look into one of these sustainable options.
Fridge manufacturers are focused on making products more energy efficient and adding hi-tech features. Consumer Reports found a 2015 Whirlpool is 17 percent more efficient than a 2009 model. Refrigerators contain fluorocarbons that contribute to ozone depletion when improperly disposed. That said, as long as the refrigerator doesn’t have any kind of crazy magnetic circuitry, like surface mount power inductors, you should be able to repair your old fridge just fine.
Washing machines are divided between top-load machines (old) and front-load machines (new). Front-load washers use less water and less energy. GE says new models with features like moisture sensors and adaptive fill can result in $500 in energy savings.
Energy Star did not offer efficiency ratings for dryers in the past because the technology hadn’t changed in decades. But a new method involving a heat pump cycle to generate hot air has the potential to lower energy consumption by 60 percent. This Department of Energy project was completed in 2016 with units hitting the market now.
Microwaves use less energy than toaster or convection ovens. There are many eco-conscious features to look for, but it’s especially important to recycle old microwaves. The can contain valuable metals, copper and microchips.
Computers, Smartphones and Tablets
Our computers and hand-held devices have yet to become more energy efficient, but it’s important to recycle old models as we constantly upgrade. The United Nations estimates only 20 percent of “e-waste” is discarded of properly. In addition to the amount of waste that millions of electronics create, the laundry list of potentially toxic ingredients used to make our devices includes: arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc.
The three most popular trade-in programs are Amazon, Best Buy and Gazelle. Removing personal info from smartphones and tablets is easy to do with just a hard reset and removal of sim card. For computers, you can remove and destroy the hard drive or download a wiping program.
New Tech = Better Savings
When it comes to all the technology in our homes, Energy Star is the best resource for finding items that will save you money and save on energy. Make the effort to replace and recycle old home technology, so you can usher in the new era of energy efficiency.