Sadly, we are being duped. I see and hear about so many issues from people who are shopping or just purchased a new appliance. The issues are so numerous that I do a Workshop just on appliances. So if we are in need of a new appliance, here are just a few items to familiarize ourselves with for some of the major appliances we all use.
Let us not get our hopes up. Most appliances, if recycled, are only done so for the metal. Glass windows, rubber, all items plastic and electrical wiring are off to the landfill.
With the cost of delivery, installation is Free. Yet “FREE” can increase the chance of our house burning down if the people installing a particular appliance don’t know enough. The appliance is a Clothes Dryer.
The number one cause for house fires is from the Clothes Dryer. Let the Dryer be electric or gas, that doesn’t matter, the build up of lint is the fire starter.
Lint build up in the ductwork that is being blown out of our house always makes me nervous because we can’t see if the lint is accumulating. Just last year, friends of someone that I know, lost their house to a fire started by lint build up from the dryer. They left the dryer on when they rushed out to do a last minute errand on Christmas Eve. They were homeless on Christmas Day, but gave thanks to God that nobody was injured or died.
As I watched the two gentlemen install my clothes dryer they had a problem with the metal ductwork fitting on the back of the dryer. First they wanted to put a screw into the ductwork to hold it in place. I immediately informed them that would increase the chance of a FIRE. The reason is because the screw will extend through the wall of the ductwork and stick out on the inside catching lint when being blown by the screw. Lint will build up and back up while being ever so close to the source of heat. Lint ignites very easily.
They understood my concerns and proceeded with an alternative course of action that was to install a flexible tube. A tube with many ridges and bends that catches lint to cause the same exact problem. I showed them an old flexible tube that I use for demonstration purposes and how the edges were filled with lint. They were out of options, so I instructed them to leave the dryer as is and I would buy a metal tube extension to put on myself.
This is another costly degradation in the name of having such fancy looking appliances. What we are actually buying is a ludicrous feature.
- Ludicrous Feature Number One -
A plastic window in the door of a clothes dryer so we can have matching "Looks" for our Washer and Dryer. We are trying to dry clothes, so why would we want heat to escape through a plastic window. Is the new feature in town our dryer’s window? Are we making POPCORN and pulling up chairs so we can invite the neighbors over to watch our clothes dry! Give me a solid insulated door please!
The double French Door fashion statement for refrigerators has been in vogue for decades. We can have our fridge door provide us with ice cubes, tell us that the cheese went bad, do online shopping, show calendars, grocery lists and photos while increasing our electric bill. Also now we can have a plastic window in the door! Tap twice and we can see inside. The falsehood presented is that we save energy by seeing the location of what we want to get first, before opening the door and letting cold air out. That is correct, opening and closing the door faster saves energy, but the window is allowing some cold air to escape 24/7 compared to a solid insulated door. Besides, having two smaller French doors instead of on big door is cutting down on the cold air lost. However, what really takes the grand ludicrous prize is the Butter Warmer inside the refrigerator. An electric heater is keeping the butter compartment warm so our butter is soft when we take the butter tray out. An electric heater inside an appliance designed to keep food cold. Take the butter out first, put the butter dish on the table and by the time the food is served and everyone sits down, the butter will be softer. Unless paying a higher electric cost for unnecessary features is the thing to do today.
Don’t be sold a Bill of Goods!
In the end, we are being told that these new bells and whistles save energy and our environment. However, when I match up the newest refrigerator loaded with features, that will cost me almost $200.00 more a year in electricity compared to my top energy efficient refrigerator from twenty years ago. How is that more energy efficient?
Also don’t depend on the Energy Star label to blaze a path to the most energy efficient appliance. The Star only means the appliance meets minimum requirements and can be the least efficient model made when compared to the most efficient. Find and study the Yellow Energy Guide Label.
Below are some very important features we most certainly need in order to save energy and help our environment:
OVEN - Convection design that uses a fan to circulate the hot air, thus cooking faster. Preferably a Gas oven and stovetop if natural gas is available, because operation cost is much lower than Electric ovens and stovetops.
CLOTHES DRYER - Preferably a Gas model if natural gas is available, because operation cost is 75% less than Electric models. Also a Moisture Sensor to cut down on the drying time.
CLOTHES WASHER - Front Load design uses up to 70% less water and thus less fuel to heat.
REFRIGERATOR & FREEZER - The Freezer should be on TOP because the first rule of physics is Cold Air Drops. Putting the Freezer at the bottom by the hot motor and compressor is ludicrous. A Freezer on the top can drop excess cold air from the freezer into the refrigerator thus cutting down on the refrigerator’s running time.
AIR CONDITIONERS - Learn about EER & SEER (for central air) to know the energy efficiency of the air cooling unit. Also use the WHILE formula to know the correct BTU size for your window units. For more details see my previous GoingTrueGreen blog posts under Appliances.
Besides the jesting around in this blog post, all this information, especially the serious life saving facts above on Clothes Dryers, needs to be shared with family and friends around the dinner table this holiday season.
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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