Like with many tech items, you have to ask yourself when is it the optimal to replace an appliance. On one hand, upgrading right away means you can get a take advantage of the latest technology and save money on your electric bill every month. On the other hand, if you wait a little longer, you could end up saving more due to more advancements in the technology. But there is always a grace period where the technology was just upgraded and there won’t be another for a while, and that time is now.
Things To Consider When Buying A New Refrigerator
Because there are so many different layouts, it’s important to consider which one would best suit your buying habits. The most common (and often cheapest) style is to have the freezer on top, but it would also put that section at eye level. If you don’t actually use the freezer regularly, you’ll end up having to bend over a lot to access the main area of the fridge. If this is the case, you may want to examine a bottom-freezer unit. For those that use both sections equally, a side-by-side refrigerator could be ideal. The main downside to those is that neither compartment is especially wide, which is problematic for storing certain things like frozen pizza boxes.
New and updated features are very convenient, though they do come at a premium. Before you go shopping, think about which are most important to you and which aren’t. This way, you don’t shell out extra for something that you won’t take advantage of. Some features include built-in water filters for the ice maker and water dispensers, or adjustable shelving for efficient storage. There are also some especially unique bonuses that might appeal to very specific people, like built-in specialty ice makers for cocktails.
Buying an energy efficient fridge will ultimately mean savings on your electrical bill. This is especially true of newer models as manufacturers find better ways to cut down on energy use. Appliances that are labeled by Energy Star have to follow certain guidelines to remain certified. If you have a particularly old fridge, you can see significant energy savings every year by upgrading. That can grow to be a lot of money when you consider a refrigerator is something you hold onto for a while.
It would be a huge mistake to not take meticulous measurements of your space before making a final purchase. After all, you don’t want to have a fridge delivered only to find out that it doesn’t fit where you want it to go. Not only that, but the dimensions don’t just stop at width and length. You want to be sure that your space is deep enough for the fridge, and you also want to take the fridge door into consideration. Not being able to open the door all the way is a huge inconvenience. Finally, be sure it can also get to its final resting place. It’ll be embarrassing if you find out the entrance to the kitchen is too narrow for your new unit to even get through.
While some people might not care about the finish of a fridge, anyone who is concerned with aesthetics will want to examine all of the options. You may want to go with the ever-popular stainless steel, or maybe your personality requires something a bit more vibrant. Then again, there’s also nothing wrong with a cheap, classic black-and-white fridge. If you want to take that extra step, there are also some units that can be customized to blend in with the rest of your kitchen.
Saving from Energy Efficiency?
Saving money on your bill has already been touched on above, but it’s worth to take a deeper dive on the subject. If your fridge is currently around 20 years old or more, you can actually save a lot by replacing it sooner rather than later. The technology behind energy efficiency is always improving little by little, which means making a huge generational leap in technology will equate to a big upgrade. It is estimated that you can save about $75 to even $100 every year by replacing a fridge that was manufactured in the 90s with a modern unit. Over a longer period of time, that will really add up to a nice chunk of change. Some energy companies and even the government offer rebates for replacing older appliances with more efficient ones.
As long as you aren’t going with an expensive model that has all the bells and whistles, your overall savings will completely offset the up-front cost after five to ten years. Of course, this is dependent on a variety of factors, but you can go on Energy Star’s website to use their calculator for some estimates.
Every 15 years, the efficiency of refrigerators improves by about 50%, approximately halving the total consumption. In the 70s, most units were using about 2200 kWh every year. At the start of the 90s, that amount had reduced to 1100 kWh. If you look into the middle of 2000, consumption numbers dipped further to about 600 kWh. Following that trend, you can buy fridges nowadays that only sip around 300 kWh a year.
What that means is that the older your fridge is, the more you’ll save by immediately replacing it. Having your clunker unexpectedly break down will result in wasted food costs, as well as having to fish out more cash to eat out. Something else to think about is if you plan on moving in the immediate future. If you are going to move into a new place in a year and won’t be bringing your fridge with you, it definitely doesn’t make sense to upgrade in that situation. Also, buying too expensive of a model means you won’t be able to completely offset the cost. These are all things to consider when looking into an upgrade.