What to replace first in a new home

This is the stuff nightmares are made of.

When moving into a house, you inherit the appliances of the previous owner (or maybe from the owner before the previous owner).

One of my main priorities when I move into my first house in June will be to begin replacing the appliances — starting with the washing machine.


1) Because I work at an appliance store, of course.

2) Replacing an existing washer on average yields bigger savings than any other major home appliance.

And 3) Just because the existing washer works, per se, doesn’t mean it’s working in my favor.

It amazed me that a house with so many energy-efficient upgrades (windows, lights, HVAC, ceiling fans) still had an old, top-loader washer. I swear I saw a black hole hovering near the water hoses and electrical cord because those things waste a MASSIVE amount of water and energy. (Don’t get me started on the 40-year-old beer refrigerator.)

The existing top-load washer comes “free” with the house, but really, it will cost me.

A 10-year-old clothes washer wastes $135 in water and energy costs each year versus a new, Energy Star-qualified washer. It uses tens of gallons of water more to wash a much smaller load with noticeably reduced clean-ability. Does that sound like it works? No.

But just buying any new washer won’t deliver the same savings. Though more expensive at first, Energy Star washers save an average of $55 per year, which means the upgrade pays for itself in less than five years.

Replacing a refrigerator can save $100 per year, and replacing a dishwasher can save $40 per year, but if I had to pick one, a new Energy Star washer offers the best return on investment.

Categories Budget-wise, Energy Efficiency, laundry

5 thoughts on “What to replace first in a new home

  1. So, for someone new to the appliance market, I am curious why you are choosing the washer and not the dryer. Is the dryer easier or harder to make energy efficient?

    1. Great question. The washer not only uses water, but it HEATS the water for certain cycles as well.

      Washers in the last 10 years have changed dramatically in their use of water and energy. But most dryers use a similar amount of energy to each other, which is why the EPA doesn’t rate their energy usage.

      That’s not to say you can’t make a dryer run more efficiently. Make sure you clear the lint filter after each use, clean the dryer vent several times a year and use your moisture sensor. Or just air dry!

  2. Washers now have special sensors in them to detect how many clothes are in there and add the proper amount of water. This is good if you pay for your water, and better if you use the heated water settings. Plus, the high efficiency front loading washers can lead to more efficient dryer use too because they spin more of the water out of clothes than your 10 year old top loader would. Personally, I’ve decided on a LG WM2010CW, based in large part on this LG WM2010CW review that I found.

    1. All good point, Bryan. I can’t wait to replace my own washer for all these reasons — though I generally try to always wash on the cold water setting, myself.

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