Guide to buying a new appliance
If your dishwasher has rinsed its last dish or your casserole is still not done after six hours, it may be time to replace those old appliances with shiny new ones.
Large appliances like refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers are among our bigger household expenses. Because most will last for years before requiring replacement, buying the right models for your family's needs, budget and lifestyle is important.
the Real cost of the appliance
Every appliance has two price tags. The most obvious is the purchase price or initial down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You'll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Be sure to factor in the entire cost of the appliance as opposed to looking only at price tag number one.
Energy guide label
The Federal Trade Commission has put energy labels on most major appliances that provide two important pieces of information:
1. Estimated energy consumption on a scale showing a range for similar models.
2. Estimated yearly operating cost based on the national average cost of electricity.
Bring a pen and paper when you shop (or use your smartphone to snap a photo of the label), and compare the energy efficiency of the models you're considering.
This joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy was created in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Energy Star® distinguishes products that may cost more up front but tend to pay you back in lower energy bills over their life spans. Appliances tagged with the blue Energy Star® logo generally use 20 to 30 percent less energy than required by federal standards.
A manufacturer's warranty is usually included in the price for at least some time after the purchase date. In general, if your use of the appliance will be so heavy that the replacement cost of parts and components is a consideration, an extended warranty may be worth the expense.
Rebates & tax credits
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 set aside funds for consumers to receive rebates on the purchase of new energy-efficient appliances. Each state and US territory designed its own rebate program, and all 56 plans have been approved by the US Department of Energy (DOE). To learn more about the rebate or tax credit program in your state, visit the DOE or Energy Star® website.
Best time to buy
In general, the best time to buy new appliances for your home (if you can wait) is early fall. Most manufacturers unveil their new line of appliances -- all the latest colors and designs -- in September and October. As a result, retailers need to clear space in the warehouse and on the sales floor, selling off most items at bargain prices.
Given how today's manufacturers routinely adjust the functionality of most appliances to fit consumer needs and wants, it's worth your time to take a look at what might be out there to replace your old, less-than-efficient appliances. ?