image via adirondackhistory.org
Of course, when purchasing a new appliance, it makes sense to go with the most efficient energy star rated appliance. BUT, buying a brand new efficient energy star rated appliance is not always greener or less expensive than continuing to use an older, less efficient appliance.The amount of resources used in the production of a brand new energy star rated appliance ( mining the metals, etc ) can surpass the amount of resources saved over the life of the brand new appliance. The cost of purchasing or financing the brand new appliance also may not make it pay for the upgrade, so you may want to reconsider giving up that old clunker for now if it is working for you.
A good rule to follow is to keep appliances out of the junkyard for as long as possible. If it does the job well, than let them be, and maybe give them a tune up every now and again. When it gets to the point where there would be a significant cost to repair or refurbish an appliance, then that may be the time to start looking around for a new stainless steel, ultra efficient, front loading washing machine.
It is always good to do your own math. The Energy Star website has various worksheets, such as this one to find out whether it is worth it to trade out your old refrigerator for a new one. If it turns out that it costs much more to purchase a new appliance than the energy savings over the course of five years, then you may want to hold onto your old friends a while longer. As soon as you purchase a new appliance, the clock starts ticking again, and then in another five years, a newer much more efficient option will start nagging you to take it home.
Here are some ways to extend the life of and make older laundry systems more efficient :
1) Dry clothes outside on a clothesline on sunny days.
2) Wait until you can fill up the washer with a full load before using it.
3) Use low water settings for smaller loads.
4) Keep a larger stockpile of underwear and socks.
5) Go to a laundromat to do multiple loads.
6) Clear the fuzz from the dryer filter after each load and ALSO clear the vent behind the dryer every now and again.
In our excitement and haste to "go green", let's not overlook our trusty old robots.