7 Essential Appliances
Kitchen Appliance Face-Off
Choosing a Slow Cooker
(Taken from 425 Ways to Stretch Your $$$$)
When you are shopping for appliances, you can think of two price tags. The first price tag covers the purchase price. Think of that as a down payment. The second price tag covers the cost of operating the appliance. You will be paying on that price tag throughout the time you own it. There are a number of ways to save money on each price tag.
1. Start your research early.
As Benjamin Franklin put it, "Necessity never made a good bargain." While your aging appliance is still working, begin looking for a replacement. Consider things such as features, prices and warranties.
2. Determine the best time of year to purchase.
Right before Memorial Day
3. Look for "Scratch and Dent."
Sometimes appliances get scratched and/or dented in the process of being delivered. When that happens, the retailer marks down the prices but sells the appliance with the same warranty as a new one. My wife and I bought a 25-cubic-foot refrigerator at 40 percent off the retail price because it had a scratch on the side. That did not matter to us because the scratch is not visible in the location we have the refrigerator.
4. Buy a floor model.
Even though it may have a few scuffmarks, it will work fine and carry the same manufacturer warranty, but it also offers a substantial saving off the retail price.
5. Search online at Salescircular.com
They list over 120 products that are on sale each week. You can click on your state and see which retailer has the best deal on the product for which you are looking.
6. Save on energy costs by looking for the ENERGY STAR label.
The ENERGY STAR label is the government's seal of approval. It was created by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These agencies set the criteria to help shoppers for large and small home appliances identify the most energy-efficient products on the market. ENERGY STAR-labeled appliances typically exceed federal efficiency standards by 13% to 20%.
Based on that you can be assured you will save on energy use during the lifetime of the appliance. Let us look at some specific appliances:
Air-Source Heat Pumps
Look for the EnergyGuide label that contains the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) for heat pumps. The SEER measures the energy efficiency during the cooling season and HSPF measures the efficiency during the heating season. The ENERGY STAR minimum efficiency level is 12 SEER or higher.
Central Air Conditioners
Look for the EnergyGuide label with a SEER for central air conditioners. The ENERGY STAR minimum efficiency level is 12 SEER. ENERGY STAR central air conditioners exceed federal standards by at least 20%.
Room Air Conditioners
Look for the EnergyGuide label with an EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) for room air conditioners. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is. ENERGY STAR units are among the most energy-efficient products.
For minimum ENERGY STAR efficiency, thermostats should have at least two programs, four temperature settings each, a hold feature that allows you to temporarily override settings, and the ability to maintain room temperature within 2°F of desired temperature.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Look for the EnergyGuide label that tells how much electricity, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), the refrigerator or freezer will use in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy it uses. ENERGY STAR labeled units exceed federal standards by at least 20%.
Look for the EnergyGuide label that tells how much electricity, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), the dishwasher will use in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy it uses. ENERGY STAR dishwashers exceed federal standards by at least 13%.
Look for the EnergyGuide label that tells how much electricity, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), the clothes washer will use in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy it uses. ENERGY STAR clothes washer uses less than 50% of the energy used by standard washers.
Look for the EnergyGuide label that tells how much energy the water heater uses in one year. Also, look for the FHR (First Hour Rating) of the water heater, which measures the maximum hot water the heater will deliver in the first hour of use.
7. Avoid buying an extended warranty.
Experts say that if something is going to go wrong it will usually do so during the time that the appliance is under the manufacturer warranty. Save the money you would pay for the extended warranty and use it to replace the item when it wears out.
With over 20 years of experience as a personal financial educator and counselor, Vernon Williams has developed in depth knowledge of what it takes to achieve financial success. Today, he is a sought after trainer and speaker by organizations from both the public and private sector. He is the author of 425 Ways to Stretch Your $$$$. He donates 20 percent of all sales proceeds to the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. This fund provides scholarships for children of service members who have been killed on active duty since September 11, 2001. Learn more at legion.org/scholarships.
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