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Appliances and Lighting

My refrigerator is very old, but still works fine. Is it worth it to replace it with a new, ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator?

To decide whether you should replace your refrigerator/freezer, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

How old is your refrigerator?
If your refrigerator was purchased before 1993, it is likely using a significant amount of energy. Also keep in mind that the refrigerant starts to wear out and seals start to leak over time, causing the unit’s performance to suffer. In most cases, older fridges use twice as much energy as newer ENERGY STAR® qualified models.

How much are you paying to keep your refrigerator running?
In most cases, refrigerators manufactured before 1993 cost over $65 more per year to operate than new ENERGY STAR qualified models. Refrigerators manufactured before 1980 can cost about $200 more per year. If your old refrigerator has high operating costs, consider switching to a high-efficiency model that can help save you money on your utility bills.

For more information, visit ENERGY STAR.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are ductless dryers more efficient than ducted dryers?

Energy efficiency
Ductless (Ventless) dryers are a more efficient than ducted dryers for a couple of reasons. Ducted (vented) dryers take in climate-controlled air from your home and pump it outdoors. This forces your furnace to work harder in the winter months, and your air conditioner to work harder in the summer months. A ductless dryer reuses the same air throughout a drying cycle and does not put as much strain on the home’s heating and cooling systems. Ductless dryers operate at lower temperatures and do not consume as much energy as ducted.

Moisture
When considering whether to buy a ducted or vented dryer, it is important to consider how it can affect the humidity of your home.

Ducted dryers are good for homes where exhaust air can be properly vented to the outside of the home. If a dryer is not properly vented, this can cause moisture problems within the building envelope. These units are best suited for houses where there is space to accommodate proper ventilation.

Ductless dryers are a good option in apartments and condos where venting the dryer isn’t possible. The moisture form a ductless dryer is condensed and then collected in a containment chamber, or directed through the washer’s drainpipe.

To find the most energy-efficient models for your home, visit the Natural Resources Canada searchable product list or BC Hydro’s list of energy-efficient products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the benefits of an energy efficient dishwasher?

Energy efficient dishwashers such as ENERGY STAR® certified models use 12% less energy, on average, than a standard model. Other benefits of ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers include:

  • Save up to $40 a year on utility bills
  • Save, on average, up to 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime
  • Advanced technology: new ENERGY STAR dishwashers include innovations that reduce energy and water consumption, and improve performance. This includes improved water filtration, more efficient jets, innovative dish rack designs, and soil sensors

Other ways you can maximize your the efficiency of your dishwasher:

  • Scrape excess food before loading your dishwasher to save water
  • Select the “air-dry” feature
  • Wait until you have a full load to run your dishwasher

You can learn more about ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers with Natural Resources Canada

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are LED lights/bulbs and how do they save energy?

LED stands for light emitting diode. LEDs use a semiconductor to convert electricity into a light source. LED lights are more efficient than incandescent light bulbs because they require less watts to produce the same amount of brightness as standard incandescent bulbs.

LED bulbs save money because they use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting and last a minimum of 15,000 hours, or 15 years based on average household use. This life span is about 15 to 20 times longer than incandescent lighting, and about three times longer than CFLs.

There are two common specifications mentioned when shopping for LED lightbulbs:

  • Lumens: a measurement of total light output, or brightness, of the bulb. If you want something dimmer, go for less lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens.
  • Watts: a measurement of power consumption.

When purchasing LED bulbs, you will want to focus on lumens, not watts. With traditional incandescent light bulbs, typically the higher the wattage, the brighter the light. This is different with LED bulbs, as they consume far less wattage. Here is a simple guide for comparing watts to lumens:

  • To replace a 100 watt (W) incandescent bulb, look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens.
  • Replace a 75W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 1100 lumens.
  • Replace a 60W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 800 lumens.
  • Replace a 40W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 450 lumens.

Learn more about LEDs with Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

My kitchen/laundry appliances are very old, but still work fine. Is it worth it to replace with new ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances?

When thinking about replacing your large appliances, energy efficiency should be play a role in your decision making. Energy-efficient appliances can help:

  • Save energy
  • Lower utility bills
  • Reduce impacts on the environment

ENERGY STAR® certified products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance.

To find the most energy-efficient models for your home, visit Natural Resources Canada’s searchable product list or BC Hydro’s list of energy-efficient products. Both FortisBC and BC Hydro offer rebate programs for energy-efficient appliances. See the FortisBC, and BC Hydro program websites for more details.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

If I get new kitchen/laundry appliances, what should I do with my old ones?

Large appliances such as refrigerators and laundry machines can be recycled for scrap metal at transfer stations and landfills. In some cases you may be charged a small fee to recycle the appliance. Not all landfills are equipped to recycle refrigerators and freezers. This is because the refrigerant in these appliances contains ozone-depleting chemicals that require a trained technician to safely drain. Responsibly recycling old refrigerators and freezers helps to reduce GHG emissions. Be sure to contact the facility to confirm they can accept your appliance. Use the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s Search Tool to find a recycling location near you.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.