When Is It More Eco-Friendly to Repair, Replace, or Recycle Appliances?
Repairing, replacing, and recycling old or aging appliances depends on a few conditions and your specific needs and situation.
Whether you should repair, replace, or recycle aging appliances depends on a few factors.

Should I Repair, Replace, or Recycle My Aging Appliances?

Do you ever wonder if it’s most eco-friendly to repair old appliances, replace them with more energy-efficient models, or recycle them? Our friends at American Home Shield® have put together some useful information to help you learn more about home appliances.

Should I Repair My Old Appliance?

Overall, keeping appliances until they start to frequently malfunction is more environmentally friendly. However, knowing when to repair and replace broken appliances will go a long way toward achieving your personal sustainability goals. Since home appliances are often big-ticket items, large appliances, including refrigerators, ovens, washers, and dryers, should be kept for as long as possible. It is common to repair larger appliance for the first 5-10 years that you have them, depending on how frequently you use them. High-quality appliances can last as long as 20 years, depending on use and care. However, smaller appliances including microwaves are only worth repairing if they’re under five years old or relatively new. An exception is if the repair is very simple and can be done without a high cost.

Fixing common appliances can be done by finding replacement parts online or hiring a professional to do the repairs for you.

When Should I Upgrade My Appliances?

The first thing most people think of when their appliances start to break down is the inconvenience. Recognizing that you’re on the clock when it comes to addressing a defrosting freezer makes it hard to think about any alternative options. However, before trying to resolve the issue immediately, think about the environmental impact of your decision. Will extending the life of an older appliance that uses a high volume of energy drive up your power bill and widen your carbon footprint? Will recycling the appliance contribute to more technology waste, offsetting a move to a more efficient model? It can be hard to know which direction to go, so consider these questions to determine the best path.

How old is your appliance? It is rare for an older appliance to be as energy efficient as a new model. Due to advancements in technology and manufacturing processes, modern home appliances are produced to operate using less power. If your appliances are more than 10 to 15 years old, it may be time to move due to the cost of repairs and detrimental impact on the environment.

Does your appliance still work well? First, there is a huge difference between an appliance that still works and an appliance that is working well. Appliances that run smoothly require less power, which puts less strain on our resources and keeps your energy bill as low as possible. The appliance’s performance and sounds while its running will be a good indicator of how well your machine is working, and if it’s time to consider a replacement.

Will an appliance upgrade be worthwhile? To determine if an upgrade is worthwhile, weigh the environmental and economic costs of replacing your current appliances. For example, if your 17-year-old refrigerator needs new coils, buying a replacement may be more economically viable than paying half the price on a repair to keep an older, less efficient appliance running.

What are the Benefits of Replacing Old Appliances?

There’s an obvious benefit to replacing an old appliance that has stopped working properly or needs frequent repairs. However, you may want to considering upgrading your appliances to be more environmentally friendly, even if your current, older appliances are working adequately.

Here are the benefits of upgrading to eco-friendly appliances.

New vs. old refrigerators:

Upgrading your refrigerator can be good for the environment and your wallet.

A new ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerator uses roughly nine percent less energy than models that only “meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.” By switching to a newer model, you could save hundreds per year while putting less pollution into the atmosphere.

New vs. old stoves:

Old gas stovetops and ranges are anything but an efficient option for cooking. Traditional gascooktops have an efficiency of approximately 32 percent, while moderninduction cooktops are around 85 percent efficient. Induction cooktops use coils tocreate a magnetic field that generates heat directly within compatible cookware,rather than wasting energy by heating the surrounding air like conventional stoves.

New vs. old clothes washers and dryers:

Clothes washers and dryers can be huge energy drains, so whynot make sure you have machines that are as energy efficient as possible? AnENERGY STAR-certified clothes washer “uses about 25 percent less energy and33 percent less water than regular washers.” Even better, these modelscan save you up to $370 in energy costs.

Another benefit to upgrading, according to ENERGY STAR, if all dryers sold were certified energy efficient, we could prevent “greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from more than two million vehicles.”

New vs. old dishwashers:

Since dishwashers consume huge amounts of water and electricity, it’s important to ensure yours is energy efficient. ENERGY STAR estimates that by switching to anewer, certified dishwasher, you can save an average of 3,870 gallons of water overits lifetime and about $35 a year on utility costs.

New vs. old microwave ovens:

Microwaves are the most often replaced appliance because their lower price tag makes replacing them easier than paying for repairs. Although it can be tricky to pick a new microwave that’s environmentally friendly, thanks to standards implemented in 2016, new microwave ovens are now built to conserve energy by using less power in standby mode.

Should I Always Replace an Old Appliance?

Replacing old, still functioning appliances with a new model may come with disadvantages to consider. Keep in mind that your personal environmental footprint extends beyond your home. Prior to purchasing a new eco-friendly appliance, think about the resource cost associated with manufacturing and delivering your replacement, in addition to the environmental impact of sending your old appliance to the dump.

It may not always be easy to track the impact of your purchases, but there are some cases where it’s better to stick with an old model that’s still working well instead of replacing it.

You may also want to consider waiting to purchase a new unit until you can get the best price on it, especially if it’s still functioning properly. Here is more information on the best time to buy new appliances.

How Do I Reuse Old Appliances?

Figuring out how to dispose of old appliances can be tricky. If improperly disposed of, old appliances can sometimes release hazardous, ozone-depletingsubstances. Here are some options to keep your appliance out of the landfill for abit longer if it is still in working condition:

Sell it: Post your appliance on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, andOfferUp.

Give it away: Check if any local nonprofits may be interested in giving it a secondlife or donating it to a person in need.

How Do I Recycle Old Appliances?

There are a few options for appliance recycling:

  1. Contact your local gas and electric companies, especially if you would like to get paid for your efforts. Many utility companies offer appliance recycling options along with energy reduction programs with rebate options.

2. Consider participating in an appliance swap. Many retailers will provide appliance swaps when you buy a new appliance with them. This entails the retailer removing and recycling your old appliance when they deliver your new one.

3. Drop if off at a public works pickup. Many city governments offer appliance recycling programs, often through Public Works Departments. Before participating, make sure the program abides by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program. This means that the pickup service will ensure your appliance’s parts are recycled appropriately, and that any hazardous materials are properly disposed.

What’s Next?

One of the best things you can do to protect your budget and your household is to get an American HomeShield® home warranty. This valuable coverage provides protection and peace of mind by helping to cover the cost of your home’s covered major system components and appliances when they break down. A plan from American Home Shield can help keep your home up and running, and keep your budget on track. The best part – you don’t have to worry about appliance recycling. They will take care of it for you! Learnmore about the appliances covered by a home warranty. If you are selling or buying a home, talk to your Bennion Deville Homes real estate professional to learn about the benefits of an American Home Shield home warranty.

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