As you take a step back and assess the items in your home, there will always be standout things that are keepers, those that deserve to be donated to local charities, and others that are destined for the trash. But how do you know if you should leave your old appliance behind when you move, especially if it’s in good working condition? Your dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, range, washer, and dryer are not only big and bulky, but were a substantial investment when purchased. However, depending on how long ago they were purchased, some may be overdue for an upgrade.

Besides the allure of shiny new appliances in your new home, current models can also save you money. Those with Energy Star ratings can help save you money on energy costs, while water-efficient products benefit your wallet and the environment. Here’s a look at the home appliances you should consider upgrading in order to help save the planet and save on your utility costs.


If your dishwasher was made before 1994, Energy Star says you’re paying $35 more a year in utilities and wasting more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. Each year, new models of dishwashers become better insulated, more space efficient, and are designed to be more water efficient. This is thanks to the design of the racks, the placement of the jets that spray water to clean dishes, and smart wash cycles that sense how dirty your dishes are and adjust accordingly. When researching, look for models that feature a third rack for flatware to help optimize interior space and operate at low decibel levels. A well-insulated dishwasher is not only quiet but energy efficient, too.


Of the 170 million refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers in the United States, more than 60 million of them are 10+ years old.* Aging appliances, such as old refrigerators, require much more energy to run than newer, energy-efficient models. These energy-efficient models help reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment by requiring less electricity to operate. Newer models feature designs that allow you to see your food more easily thanks to flexible shelving and an abundance of lighting so food doesn’t get lost in dark corners.

Washer and Dryer

High-efficiency (HE) washer models save energy, water and space in your home. These machines tend to use 30%–50% less water, one third less detergent, and

50%–60% less energy to operate.** New models feature better agitation technology that saves your clothes’ wear and tear with less tumbling, uses a more concentrated detergent, and requires fewer gallons of water, which ultimately benefits the environment.

Dryer models today use sensors to figure out how damp your clothes are and adjust the dry time accordingly, whereas timed drying tumbles your clothes for a set number of minutes. Certain manufacturers also make dryers that operate in conjunction with connected home systems, tying into your utility company’s data to determine the optimal time of day to run in order to avoid running at the more pricey peak energy times.

Air Conditioner

Designed to keep you cool during the hot summer months, window air conditioner units are notorious for driving up your home’s energy costs. It’s wise to consider investing in a central air conditioner with an Energy Star rating. It may cost thousands of dollars versus a couple hundred for a window unit in the short term, but your house will be cooled at a more efficient rate which will save you money in the long run.

While the purchase of a new appliance is a pricey investment, it’s important to evaluate the age of your current home appliances to determine which models are oldest and least efficient. Take your time to research different models, read the yellow tags that feature the yearly cost of operating the appliance, and look for products with the Energy Star rating. Replacing the oldest appliances first can help you save money on utility costs immediately while also ensuring that you’re doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment.

*Statistic from

**Statistic for Water-Efficient Appliances and Fixtures from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority:




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Leticia Barr

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