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Save on Your Energy Costs With Energy Star

One of the complaints I hear from some folks thinking about a new appliance is that Energy Star certified appliances are too expensive and don’t really save you a lot of money on your prepaid energy bill.

Well, the first part is true. Energy Star certified appliances are more expensive because they are more energy efficient. The part about them not saving you a lot of money is… well, wrong. The truth is they do save you money. However, consumers must face the hard part: educating themselves about the appliance they are looking to buy. Just because something has the Energy Star label on it doesn’t mean it will save you money if it doesn’t do the job you need it to do. Different consumers are going to use different appliances different ways. You need to keep you usage habits in mind when you go shopping.

The big energy loads that are going to make a difference when it comes to Energy Star compliance are refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, washing machines, and water heaters. Take for example water heaters. Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy used in your home. Generally speaking, consumers have three options (not counting solar) when it comes to water heaters: the standard tank, an energy star compliant tank, or an on-demand system. Water heater tank will heat the water but they have the hidden cost of stand-by energy use. In other words, they keep the water hot while its waiting to be used. The only way to save money on a tank is to make certain that the energy used to heat the water has as much thermal energy wrung out of it as possible.

The Department of Energy estimates that in 2018 most residential hot water in Texas is heated in a hot water tank heater that is 5-9 years old and does not have a heater blanket installed. A 50-gallon standard electric tank water heater costing about $200 rated at 0.86 to 0.95 efficiency can use $370 to $410 per year.. Electric heat pump water heaters can cost 3 to 8 times more but use half as much energy to provide the same amount of hot water (compare these two hot water energy guides for a standard and a heat pump from Lowes). Gas waters are also available with similar comparison results. One of the chief differences is that more efficient heat transfer means it is more difficult to vent cooled exhaust so heaters now have fans built into them.

Most tank heaters will last about 10 to 12 years depending on the water. Like it or not, the tank will eventually rust out and begin to leak. The best way to beat this is by using a whole-house tankless on-demand system. By heating water only when it’s needed, gas tankless water heaters cut water heating expenses by 30% to 60%, while also providing continuous hot water delivery. The drawback is they cost about on average 5 times more (about $1000; not including labor and additonal parts). Lifetime averages are 20 years. The point is that if you can cut your yearly bill in half, you are saving money. Let’s look at the costs this way:

If you go the tankless route, you can also eliminate the expense of replacement every ten years and save even more. Either way, you DO save money with Energy Star appliances and add value to your home.

Note: This is a collaborative post
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