Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Scoop on Green Appliances

The greening of appliances is about more than that frightening color of avocado green from your grandmother's 1970's era refrigerator. It's about saving money, saving energy, and yes, saving the planet. But which appliances are the best green appliances and how do you choose?

What you'll find with green appliances that they're better designed and more efficient. They heat up quicker and work faster.

Front load washers will save you money by using less water and detergent, as well as less energy. If you average about six loads per week, you may save as much as 6,000 gallons per year with a front load washer.

Green clothes dryers will have a moisture sensor that stops the cycle when your clothes are dry. Not only does this safe your energy costs, your clothes will also last longer.

If you're in the market to purchase new, green appliances, make sure that before you begin shopping you check out the Energy Star Ratings at A joint program of the EPA and the Department of Energy, Energy Star helps consumer save on utility bills as well as reducing energy usage. You can search by type of appliance in more than 30 product categories and get a list of energy-efficient appliances organized for you by brand and model. Lower energy consumption is important. About 90 percent of electricity in the United States comes from nonrenewable sources such as coal or nuclear power.

In the beginning, you may end up spending more for energy efficient appliances. But you'll see the return in energy savings over the lifetime of your appliance.

But you don't have to buy new appliances to save energy and money. Here are a few tips to help green your kitchen without heading off to the appliance store.

When you're cooking on the stove top, use the right size burner for your pot or skillet. You can waste as much as 40% of the heat by putting a 6" pan on an 8" burner.

In the oven, glass or ceramic dishes allow you to cook at lower temperatures, by as much as 25 degrees.

Don't open the oven door before you have to, and don't take the lid off the crock pot to see how the recipe is doing. You'll lose a significant amount of heat if you do. And don't use your oven when a toaster oven or microwave will do the job just as well.

Your refrigerator should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from heat-producing appliances like your stove and dishwasher. Make sure there's proper ventilation around the unit as well. It needs to breathe to function properly.

There's no real need to pre-wash dishes for the dishwasher. That just wastes money, time and energy. If you just have a few dishes, wash them by hand. Use the soapy water to water your plants. You can save money and energy with your dishwasher by allowing your dishes to air dry. In the winter, you can open the door and allow the warmth and humidity from the dryer to warm your kitchen air.

Stop to think for a minute. How many items in your home are plugged in right now? Everything that you have plugged in, mixers, toasters, microwaves, even cell phone chargers draw power, even when turned off. The savings will be small, but it all adds up over time.

Keep the inside of your microwave clean so that it will cook more efficiently.

Why cook in one dish just to transfer the food to another? When you can, cook in the serving dish. You save time and clean up.

Maybe you can't replace all of your appliances with energy efficient models at one time. But everyone can take small steps that together, add up and make a real difference in energy savings.

Lawrence Reaves writes for Hamitlton Beach a company that offers kitchen appliances including blenders, slow cookers, and toasters that can be found here Reaves also writes for his own site at

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