Appliances

Get the most out of your appliances

Energy use isn’t just about how much energy your appliances are using—it’s also about how efficiently they’re using it. Understanding how much energy they use—and when it might be time to replace them—is essential in keeping your energy costs as low as possible.

Consider this: Refrigerators that are 15 years old or older could cost you up to 50% more to operate than a new, Energy Star model. So while new appliances aren’t cheap, the up-front cost is worth it over time.

Explore other ways you can help your appliances work more efficiently.

Tips for reducing your appliances’ energy use

Refrigerators and freezers

  • Think before you open the fridge. Try not to "window shop" with the door open or you'll lose your cool air, causing the motor to run more often.
  • Test the tightness of the door seal on refrigerators and freezers. If the seal doesn't tightly hold a dollar bill when the door is closed, it's probably time to adjust or replace the gasket.
  • Set refrigerator temperatures at 40° F and freezers at 0° F for greatest efficiency.

Ovens and other kitchen appliances

  • Use small appliances such as crockpots, electric frying pans, toaster ovens, and microwave ovens to save energy when cooking.
  • Use your oven instead of your cook top to cut cooking costs. Surface units heat continuously, but an insulated oven normally heats one-third of the time it's in use.
  • Don't peek. Cooking temperatures can drop as much as 50 degrees every time the oven door is opened, causing the oven to reheat.
  • Use your oven's self-cleaning cycle only for big cleaning jobs. Start the cycle while the oven is still hot from baking.

Washers and dryers

  • Wash with cold water whenever possible.
  • Wash and dry full loads to maximize efficiency.
  • Don't overload your dryer. Overloaded dryers run longer, use more energy, and can make your clothes wear out more quickly or wrinkle (which may require ironing, and more energy use).
  • Use front-load washing machines for maximum efficiency. They use less than half the water and electricity than standard top loaders and require much less soap.
  • Always adjust the water level to fit load size. Overloaded washers don't clean clothes as effectively so they may need to be rewashed.
  • Clean the lint filter after each drying cycle to maintain dryer efficiency.

See how much it costs to run your appliances

Use our appliance energy-use calculator to learn just how much your appliances contribute to your energy bill.

Analyze your home energy use

Find out how much energy you’re using and how you can lower your use—and costs—with our free Home Energy Analyzer tool.