Appliance Tips

Put Less Energy Into Making Your House Work

Tips and ideas that make every appliance in your home a smart device.

Our household appliances save us time and effort, now they can save us energy and money, too. Appliances make up 20% of an average home’s energy use. Just by following a few basic purchasing and maintenance ideas, you can save energy each month.

Source of tips:

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Refrigerator Tips
Purchasing an ENERGY STAR® Refrigerator
Look for the ENERGY STAR® when purchasing a new refrigerator and recycle your old refrigerator in the garage or other rooms of your house. Be sure to check out our DTE Appliance Recycling Program to see if you’re eligible for money back. A new ENERGY STAR®-qualified refrigerator uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb running continuously. ENERGY STAR®-certified refrigerators are about 9% to 10% percent more energy efficient than models that meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.

ENERGY STAR®-certified refrigerators use less energy and help us reduce our impact on the environment. If all refrigerators sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR®-certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $400 million each year and 8 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from 750,000 vehicles.

Recycling Old Refrigerators
More than 60 million refrigerators are over 10-years-old, costing consumers $4.7 billion a year in energy costs. By properly recycling your old refrigerator and replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR®-certified refrigerator, you can save $35 to $300 on energy costs over its lifetime. Be sure to check out our DTE Appliance Recycling Program to see if you’re eligible for money back.

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Freezer Tips
Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Freezers
Freezers that have earned the ENERGY STAR® are at least 10% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. Be sure to check out our DTE Appliance Recycling Program to see if you’re eligible for money back.

Selecting Temperature
Keep the temperature at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Manual vs. Automatic Defrost
Manual defrost freezers use half the energy of automatic defrost models, but must be defrosted periodically to achieve the energy savings. Don't allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.

Upright vs. Chest
Consider whether an upright or chest freezer better meet your needs. An upright freezer has a front-mounted door like a refrigerator and shelves that allow for easy organization. While a chest freezer typically requires more floor space, it's usually more energy efficient, since the door opens from the top and allows less cold air to escape.

Learn more about our DTE Appliance Recycling Program to get some money back for your old refrigerator or freezer.

Positioning Inside
Unless you live in a mild climate, keep your freezer indoors, preferably in a basement. Extreme temperatures are hard on the compressor and can reduce the life of your freezer.

Recycling Old Freezers
An estimated 35 million freezers are currently in use in the U.S. Over 16 million of these freezers are more than 10 years old, costing consumers $990 million per year on their energy bills. Be sure to check out our DTE Appliance Recycling Program to see if you’re eligible for money back.

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Dishwasher Tips
Purchasing a ENERGY STAR® Dishwasher
Dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR® are, on average, about 5% more energy efficient and 15% more water efficient than standard models. Replacing an old dishwasher with the new ENERGY STAR®-certified model will save you $40 a year on utility bills. ENERGY STAR® dishwashers also boost temperatures to 140 degrees, which allows for disinfection compared to hand washing.

Running Full Loads
Load it up. Dishwashers use about the same energy and water regardless of the number of dishes inside, so run full loads whenever possible.

Scrape, Don't Rinse
Rinsing dishes can use up to 20 gallons of water before the dishes are even loaded. Save yourself the rinsing just scrape food off dishes. ENERGY STAR®-certified dishwashers and today's detergents are designed to do the cleaning so you don't have to. If your dirty dishes sit overnight, use your dishwasher's rinse feature. It uses a fraction of the water needed to hand rinse. Instead of scrubbing, rinsing and drying each dish, just load them all in an ENERGY STAR®-certified dishwasher that can save you over 230 hours of personal time over the course of a year. That’s almost 10 days!

Purchasing ENERGY STAR®
If you have a dishwasher made before 1994, you're paying an extra $35 a year on your utility bills compared to owning a new ENERGY STAR®-certified model. Replace one of these old dishwashers with ENERGY STAR® and save enough money to pay for dishwasher detergent all year.

Setting Air-Dry Option
Use the air-dry option. Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features.

Setting Water Temperature
Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer recommendation on water temperature. It may have an internal heating element that allows you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature.

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Stove Tips
Purchasing an ENERGY STAR® Stove
ENERGY STAR®-certified ventilation fans use 60% less energy on average than standard models, saving more than $60 in electricity over the life of the fan. They are quieter and use high-performance motors and improved blade design, providing better performance and longer product life.

Using the Right Size Pots
Using the right size pots on stove burners can save about $36 annually for an electric range, or $18 for gas. Heat is lost and energy is wasted if the burner size is larger than the pot size. A 6" pot on an 8" burner wastes over 40% of the burner's heat. Covering pots and pans also helps you cook more efficiently and keeps your kitchen cooler.

Sealing the Door
Make sure the oven door is sealed tight. Avoid opening the oven door while baking. Each time the door is opened, about 20% of the heat inside is lost.

Cleaning Burners
With a gas range, keep the burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency. Blue flames mean good combustion; yellow flames mean service may be needed to ensure the gas is burning efficiently.

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Clothes Dryer Tips
Purchasing an ENERGY STAR® Clothes Dryer
ENERGY STAR®-certified dryers use 20% less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features or performance. If all clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR®-certified, Americans could save $1.5 billion each year in energy costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 2 million vehicles.

Cleaning Lint Filters
Clean your dryer's lint filter after every load.

Avoiding Overload
Fill your clothes dryer, but don't overload it. The dryer needs space for air circulation to efficiently evaporate the water caught in the fabrics.

Periodically inspect your dryer vent pipe and remove any blockage. Better air circulation reduces drying time and saves energy.

Setting Auto-Dry
Set dryer to auto-dry cycle. Over drying clothes wastes energy.

Using Sensor Drying
Use sensor drying, not timed drying. ENERGY STAR® dryer models incorporate advanced moisture sensors to help you reduce your dryer’s energy use. This feature ensures that your dryer will automatically shut off when clothes are dry.

Considering Heat Pump Models
Clothes dryers, like all products that use energy have two price tags: 1) the initial cost of the product at the time of purchase, and 2) the cost of energy to operate that product over its lifetime. For a higher initial purchase, a heat pump model can save more energy and money with each load. Heat pump dryers take in ambient air, heat it, and then recirculate it in the dryer to maintain the temperature without using much energy.

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Clothes Washer Tips
Purchasing an ENERGY STAR® Clothes Washer
ENERGY STAR®-certified clothes washers use about 25% less energy and 40% less water than regular washers. On average, a new ENERGY STAR®-certified clothes washer uses 280 KWh of electricity and can save you $40 a year on your energy bills compared to a standard model. Also, a full-sized ENERGY STAR®-certified clothes washer uses 13 gallons of water per load, compared to the 23 gallons used by a standard machine. That's a savings of more than 3,000 gallons of water per year.

If every clothes washer purchased in the U.S. was ENERGY STAR®-certified, we could save more than $4 billion each year and prevent more than 19 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the emissions from 1.8 million vehicles.

See if you’re eligible for a DTE rebate.

Setting Water Temperature
Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, washing in cold water will generally do a good job of cleaning. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

Setting the Water Level
Set the water level on your washer to match the size of the load.

Selecting Size
Think carefully about the size. While a larger model will obviously hold more clothes, it will also use more energy. On the other hand, a model that's too small will require a lot more clothes washing. ENERGY STAR®-certified models are also available in stackable and under-the-counter designs, which fits in smaller places.

Front Loaders vs. Top Loaders®
Front loaders tumble clothes through a small amount of water instead of rubbing clothes against an agitator in a full tub. Advanced top loaders use sophisticated wash systems to flip or spin clothes through a reduced stream of water. Both designs dramatically reduce the amount of water used in the wash cycle and the energy used to heat it.

Leaving the Door Open After Use
Front-loading washers use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When the machine is not in use, this seal can trap moisture in the machine and lead to mold. Leave the door ajar for an hour or two after use to allow moisture to evaporate.

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Air Purifier
Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Room Purifiers
ENERGY STAR®-certified room air purifiers are 40% more energy-efficient than standard models, saving consumers about 225 kWh/year and $25 annually on utility bills. These savings could add up to $215 over its lifetime.

Replacing Air Purifiers
A standard room air purifier, operating continuously, uses approximately 550 kWh per year in electricity. This is more than the energy used by some new refrigerators!

Selecting Size
Be sure to consider the square footage of the room where you will place the room air purifier. Larger models use more energy, so choose a model that is sized appropriately to fit your room.

Purchasing ENERGY STAR®
If all room air cleaners sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR®-certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $600 million each year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from more than 980,000 vehicles.

Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)
CADR measures how quickly a unit delivers filtered air and can be used to measure the performance of a room air purifier. The higher the CADR, the more quickly the room air purifier filters the air.