So you’ve replaced your kitchen and laundry room with energy-saving Energy Star appliances.
Great. You’re on your way to saving 10 percent to 50 percent more water and energy over standard new appliances.
But you’re not there yet.
Energy-efficient appliances get their ratings based on optimal conditions, obviously. And if you use a professional install team like Warners’ Stellian’s service, you know the install is being done to a high standard of integrity and efficiency. (Heaven help you if you had Big Box X’s outsourced Acme Delivery Co., just saying…) Our guys wear our brand on their nametag, and I proudly report that our delivery/install department receives the most compliments than any in our company.
But not everyone will install your appliances properly or to the maximum efficiency, because it often takes more expertise and more time.
I can’t overstate the importance of leveling. If any appliance is out of balance, it won’t run properly and you’ll be stuck footing the energy bill. When we install a refrigerator, we level slightly tipped back so the door swings shut instead of lingering open and cooling your kitchen.
Enough clearance is also important. The tendency can be to try to cram in the largest fridge you can fit into the available space, but try to resist. Your refrigerator needs about an inch of space on top and all around (check manufacturers’ recommendations for specifics on your unit) to efficiently exhaust all that heat it builds up when keeping your ice cream rock solid.
Things you can do? Keep the gasket moistened to ensure a tight seal, clean the coils and change the water filter.
Pinched water lines and improper drain hoses (it should be high-looped so waste doesn’t back up) can cause inefficiency in your dishwasher. Because dishwashers are built-in, it’s harder for the average homeowner to determine whether this is the case, so I feel kind of bad bringing this up so late in the game (sorry).
But you can still save energy by running your kitchen sink until the water is warm before you turn on your dishwasher. That way the dishwasher doesn’t have to take as long to heat the water.
Again, level your washer. An out of balance washer won’t be able to spin to its maximum speed, meaning less water extraction and thus longer dry times.
If the hot and cold water hoses are reversed — and this does happen — you’ll use more hot water because instead of cold water rinses, you’ll have hot water rinses. Ninety percent of the energy used by a washer is to heat the water.
And now that we’re on the subject, cold water washes will sufficiently clean most of your clothes, unless they’re oily and greasy.
Venting is very important, not only to the well-being of your energy bill, but to your family’s safety. Ideally, dryers vent using rigid metal ducting, which is the best at exhausting moisture and preventing lint buildup. Buildup + restricted airflow = longer dry times.
You can easily check to make sure your home doesn’t use white plastic venting, and also check to make sure venting is kinked or smushed anywhere.
Some new homes are built with critter-control cages around the outdoor dryer vent, but lint gets caught on them. Better quality vents should have a spring-loaded damper to keep nature’s friends out of your laundry room.