An estimated 170 million refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers are currently in use in the United States. More than 60 million refrigerators are over 10 years old, costing consumers $4.4 billion a year in energy costs . And dishwashers account for a large electric load when in use, which is on average every three days. DTE Energy has ways to save on your energy bill from simple tips to get the most from each use to rebates when you purchase a new appliance. Read on to learn how to save energy in your kitchen.  

Dishwashers: Tips to save

If you grew-up hand-washing dishes, here is a fun tip; hand-washing costs $431 more a year in energy and water than an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher! Standard-size dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR are on average 12 percent more energy efficient and 30 percent more water efficient than standard models.

  • Trim your utility bills. A standard-sized ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year, to run. 
  • Load up: No matter the size of the load, the appliance uses the same amount of energy, so be sure to run full loads.
  • Skip the heat. Conserve energy by opting to use the “no heat air dry” feature.
  • Scrape your dirty dishes. Rinsing off your dirty dishes can use up to 20 gallons of water before the dishes are even loaded!
  • Save time. Using an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher can save you over 230 hours of personal time over the course of a year.

Refrigerators: Improve Performance and Save More

  • Set the appropriate temperature. Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 35°-38°F for the fresh food compartment and 0° F for separate freezers for long-term storage. 
  • Seal airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you may consider buying a new unit.
  • Regularly defrost. Frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.

Replace and Recycle

A new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator can save more than $270 over the next 5 years on your energy bill. Before you start shopping, consider a few energy efficiency tips to look for in your new model:

  • Select a new refrigerator or freezer appropriately sized for your household. Generally, the larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption. The most energy efficient models are typically 16-20 cubic feet.
  • Top freezer models are more energy efficient than side-by-side models. A top-freezer refrigerator that has earned the ENERGY STAR uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb.
  • Consider a manual defrost model. Manual defrost freezers use half the energy of automatic defrost models but must be defrosted periodically to achieve the energy savings.

When you are ready for the new appliance, let DTE Energy remove your old, working refrigerator or freezer for free. After the pick-up we’ll give you $50!  Go to dteenergy.com/recycle to schedule your pick up.

To learn more ways to save in your kitchen and around the house, visit dteenergy.com/appliances.