Major Home Appliances

Energy Myth: Self-cleaning ovens are a waste of energy.

Fact: Because self-cleaning ovens have extra insulation, they are more energy efficient whenever they operate.

Home Series Booklet: Major Home Appliances (PDF)

Energy Saving Quick Tips:

Refrigerators:

  • Clean your refrigerator's condenser coils every other month. The refrigerator condenser coils are behind or underneath your refrigerator. Also don't place your refrigerator or freezer in direct sunlight or near any heat source such as an oven or furnace register. See pages 2 and 3 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Always make sure that the refrigerator door is closed and well sealed. Periodically check the door seals by closing several pieces of paper around the door's gasket. If the paper pulls out easily, the gasket (rubber seal) needs to be cleaned, adjusted or replaced. See page 3 of Major Home Appliances.
  • If you are considering replacing your refrigerator or freezer, click here for information on the most energy efficient appliances. See pages 4-6 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer at the right temperatures: refrigerator at between 38° and 42° and the freezer between 0° and 5°. If these are only 10% colder than necessary then the energy consumption goes up 25%. See page 2 of Major Home Appliances.
  • When checking out a new refrigerator, select a model with the freezer on top instead of a side-by-side unit. This will save about 20%. Also, an ice maker, especially in the door, will increase energy consumption. Mellifluous
  • For other energy saving tips for your refrigerator and other kitchen and laundry appliances, see pages 24 - 30 of Energy Savers.

Ranges/Ovens:

  • Keep the oven and cook top clean. Baked on spills can inhibit the heating of the elements and shorten their lifespan. See page 8 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Keep the oven door closed during baking. Every time you open your oven door during cooking, you lose 25° to 50° or more. See page 12 of 30 Simple Energy Things.
  • Complete combustion of natural gas can be checked by looking for a blue flame. A yellow flame indicates improper combustion and results in wasted energy. If the flame is mostly yellow, have it checked. See page 9 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Consider cooking meals with small appliances. Microwaves, electric skillets, grills or toaster/broilers use less energy than the range. See page 9 of Major Home Appliances.
  • When checking out a new range or oven evaluate all of the options for heating elements (e.g. solid, smooth, radiant, halogen, magnetic-induction) and styles (freestanding, self-cleaning, convection). See pages 9 and 10 of Major Home Appliances and Energy Star qualified products.

Dishwashers:

  • Instead of using the drying cycle, open the door and air out the racks to dry the dishes. See page 11 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Washing only full loads will save you money and time. Also use cold water to rinse your dishes instead of hot water. See page 11 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Don't overload your machine. Doing so may prevent the spray-arms from rotating properly. See page 11 of Major Home Appliances.
  • When checking out a new dishwasher, look for a model with an air-dry setting and a built-in heater to boost the water temperature. This allows the temperature in the water heater to be reduced by 10° which will cut water heating costs up to 6%. See page 12 of Major Home Appliances. Also see Energy Star qualified products.

Clothes Washers/Dryers:

  • Most clothes can be washed using a cold- or warm-wash setting with a cold-water rinse. These settings can save up to 65% of the energy used for hot-wash warm-rinse loads. Also, use the right clothes washing soap. Today's detergents are able to clean many lightly soiled clothes. See page 13 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Wash full loads, but don't overload the machine. See page 13 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Don't use your dryer if you don't have to. Hang clothes outside to line dry whenever possible. See page 14 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Check your dryer's exhaust vent periodically to make sure that it's clean and clear of obstructions. Keep the exhaust hose clear and clean the lint filter after each use. Also, don't vent the dryer indoors because it will dump not only a lot of lint and other pollutants, it will add an undesirable amount of moisture to the air. See page 14 of Major Home Appliances.
  • Dry full loads, but don't overload the machine. See page 14 of Major Home Appliances.
  • If you are considering replacing your washer or dryer, visit the Energy Star appliances web site for information the most energy efficient appliances. Also see page 15 of Major Home Appliances.
  • EnergyGuide labels can be found on new appliances. If you're in the market for a new appliance, study the EnergyGuide or ENERGY STAR® label carefully and compare the costs of operating the appliance over its lifetime. Spending more money on a super-efficient model could save you money in the long-run. The most efficient appliances typically use 50% less energy than the most wasteful ones. When checking out a new clothes washer look for models with adjustable water levels and temperature controls. See Energy Star qualified products.
  • When checking out a new clothes drier, look for a model with "moisture sensors" that turn the dryer off automatically when the clothes are dry. This can cut energy use from 10 to 15%. See Energy Star qualified products.

Minor Home Appliances:

  • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent bulbs use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent with a 32-watt compact fluorescent bulb can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Find out more by clicking on Energy Star.
  • Reduce "Phantom" or Stand-By Electrical Loads. When an instant-on TV is turned off, it is still consuming about 700 watt hours of electricity every day. Even little power supplies (wall cubes that plug into an electrical outlet to power small appliances) draw electricity all day. Plugging selected items into a power strip will allow you to easily turn off multiple unwanted electrical devices.
  • Install a light timer in locations where the lights are left on when they shouldn't be-in the garage or basement for instance. The light-timer plugs into the wall and the lamp plugs into the timer-simple!
  • Install a ventilation timer on bathroom fans or connect the fan to the light switch. This will reduce the excess use of the fan.