Does it Pay to Buy New When Shopping for Appliances?

April 11, 2014

When a major household appliance needs replacing, consumers might be tempted to save some money by purchasing a used or refurbished one. However, what is saved at the checkout counter often could end up costing homeowners in higher utility bills, not to mention potential repair bills, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Major appliances produced today are more efficient than ever because manufacturers continually redesign appliances so that they consume less electricity and water. For example, a 20-cu.-ft. refrigerator manufactured in 1991 consumes, on average, more than 857 kWh a year while a 22-cu.-ft. refrigerator manufactured in 2012 consumes only 452 kWh a year. That amounts to over $50 savings per year for the typical American household.

In addition, an average dishwasher manufactured in 1991 consumes 2.67 kWh per cycle compared with one made in 2012 that consumes only 1.30 kWh. That saves the average household $53 each year on their electricity bill. Some states and utility companies will also offer sizable rebates when old appliances are properly disposed of or to purchase new energy efficient appliances.

Appliances are also recyclable. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, 90 percent of major home appliances are recycled, meaning an old refrigerator most likely isn’t going to rust away in a landfill. On the whole, a new product, when designed with sustainability and recyclability in mind, from a life cycle approach, may be a far better deal than a used one.
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