If you want to save energy and money, one of the best ways to do so is to conduct an appliance audit and evaluate the performance and condition of your appliances. An appliance audit is a process of identifying and measuring the energy use and efficiency of your home appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, ovens, air conditioners, and more. By doing an appliance audit, you can find out which appliances are consuming the most energy, how they compare to the latest standards and models, and what actions you can take to improve their performance and reduce their environmental impact.
There are two main ways to conduct an appliance audit: you can either hire a professional or do it yourself. A professional home energy assessment will provide a thorough analysis of your home’s energy use, comfort, and safety. A home energy professional may use equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras, gas leak and carbon monoxide detectors, moisture meters, and non-toxic smoke pens to inspect your home and appliances. A professional home energy assessment may cost you some money upfront, but it can also help you identify the most cost-effective improvements and potential rebates or incentives.
If you prefer to do it yourself, you can also perform a simple walk-through of your home and appliances to pinpoint problem areas and prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades. You can use online tools such as PG&E’s Home Energy Checkup or Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick to get an estimate of your home’s energy use and personalized suggestions for saving energy and money. You can also check the labels and manuals of your appliances to find out their model number, age, capacity, power rating, and energy factor. You can compare these information with the current standards and ratings for each appliance category on the websites of the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy, or the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. You can also look for the Energy Star label or certification on your appliances, which indicates that they meet or exceed the federal minimum efficiency standards.
Once you have conducted your appliance audit, you can evaluate the performance and condition of your appliances based on the following criteria:
- Age: Generally speaking, older appliances tend to be less efficient and more prone to breakdowns than newer ones. If your appliance is more than 10 years old, you may want to consider replacing it with a more efficient model that can save you energy and money in the long run.
- Usage: The more frequently you use your appliance, the more energy it consumes and the more wear and tear it suffers. You may want to adjust your usage habits to optimize your appliance’s performance and lifespan. For example, you can run full loads in your dishwasher or washer, adjust the temperature settings on your refrigerator or freezer, use the air-dry or no-heat option on your dryer or dishwasher, and turn off or unplug your appliances when not in use.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance can help keep your appliances in good working condition and prevent potential problems or malfunctions. You may want to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning, servicing, and repairing your appliances. For example, you can clean or replace the filters on your air conditioner or dryer, defrost your freezer periodically, check for leaks or clogs in your dishwasher or washer hoses, and lubricate the moving parts of your appliances.
- Upgrade: If your appliance is old, inefficient, damaged, or beyond repair, you may want to upgrade it with a new model that offers better performance, efficiency, features, and design. You may also want to look for appliances that have smart or connected capabilities that allow you to control them remotely or monitor their energy use. When shopping for new appliances, you should compare the initial cost with the lifetime operating cost, which includes the energy consumption and maintenance expenses. You should also look for rebates or incentives that may be available from your utility company or local government.
By conducting an appliance audit and evaluating the performance and condition of your appliances, you can make informed decisions that can help you save energy and money while improving your home’s comfort and safety. You can also reduce your environmental impact by choosing appliances that consume less resources and emit less greenhouse gases. An appliance audit is a worthwhile investment that can pay off in many ways.