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Upgrading Laundry Appliances

September 18, 2009

From the desk of Ms. Green Quick Fixes

Buying more energy efficient appliances, such as modern clothes dryers, and using them in place of older, inefficient equipment will save money over the long-term and in the short-term will quickly lower your carbon footprint. Incorporating energy efficient appliances can also lead to tax breaks and qualify you for some local and state rebate programs.

If your dryer dates from the late 1980s or early 1990s, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Technical folks in the know recommend replacing dryers that were made before 1994, when current minimum energy conservation standards for residential clothes dryers were established and made Federal law. By the time your dryer reaches year eight, Consumer Reports, in its Repair or Replace it? Guide, advises replacement over repair.

In making laundry purchase decisions, if you are shopping for a stack, set, or ventless combo unit, look for the Energy Star label because it represents a high degree of research into energy conservation. When you walk into many area stores, you’ll see the Energy Star sticker on numerous washer/dryer sets.

Energy Star washers minimize water use and their higher spin speeds remove more water and reduce drying time. While no stand-alone dryer on its own is currently rated Energy Star-certified, because dryers of a given size use about the same amount of energy, the U.S. Department of Energy is studying clothes dryers (and air conditioners) and is in process of analyzing markets, equipment efficiencies, and the impact of standards on environmental emissions. The Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency currently rates dryers, but at present time the ratings variation represents a small range. Senate Bill 598, The Appliance Standards Improvement Act of 2009, would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to addresses improving Energy Star testing standards and industry compliance for appliance efficiency and could lead to increased testing acumen and more Energy Star-labeled products, if passed.

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