Energy Efficiency is the Key


To saving you time and money

By Candice G. Ball

When the average customer walks into Stalwart Appliances by Design, their number one concern is finding an appliance that will save them time.

“Time is what most people are interested in saving—and finding multi-purpose appliances that can provide them with speed and efficiency,” explains Harold Kriewald, president and owner of Stalwart Appliances. “If the appliances are providing speed and efficiency, normally the better energy requirements are met. If you’re replacing an old appliance, you’re almost always guaranteed the new one will be more energy efficient.”

shutterstock_225397366-w1200-h1200Manitoba Hydro strives to raise Manitobans’ awareness about choosing more energy efficient appliances. “When in the market for new appliances, we would suggest looking for the ENERGY STAR® symbol,” explains Tracy Moroz, who manages the appliances and electronics portfolio at Manitoba Hydro. “It is the mark of an energy efficient appliance. Typically, an ENERGY STAR®-rated appliance is in the top 15 to 30 per cent in its class for energy performance.”

“People still don’t understand how much energy an old fridge uses because it’s just what we’ve always had. It’s not like a car where you fill it up with gasoline. We don’t really consider them an energy-saving item because it’s a tool we use every day,” explains Kriewald.

Purchasing a new refrigerator can be a daunting task because there are so many choices. Moroz warns that all the bells and whistles or special features may consume more energy. “Things like ice makers, water dispensers all use more energy,” she explains. “Also in looking at freezers, chest freezers will use 30 to 35 per cent less energy than an upright freezer. So consumers should do their homework or talk to the sales professional about the energy consumption.”

There are also considerable energy and time savings to be realized when you move from an old, coil-style range to an induction range. For instance, when you boil a pot of pasta on a coil-style element, the pot and everything around it gets heated. When you cook on an induction stove, it uses magnetic field energy that is transmitted directly into the pot.

“It doesn’t heat the air around it and it doesn’t heat the glass; it only heats the pot. So we move efficiency from about 60 per cent for electric to about 93 per cent in an induction cooktop,” says Kriewald.

If you’re boiling a large pot of pasta or potatoes, it will take at least 15 minutes for the water to reach boiling point on a coil element, but it will take just three minutes on an induction element. When you add in your food on a coil element, the boiling will stop whereas on an induction element, the boiling is achieved almost instantly after you drop in your pasta.

Kriewald says that for every dollar you spend on heating your food on a conventional stovetop, you’ll lose about 40 cents to the air. With an induction range, you will only lose 10 cents.

Many companies have just moved into the induction ranges market, but the top selling induction range over the last five years is from Electrolux. Samsung, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid have also come out with quality induction ranges. Although the cost was once exorbitant, the ranges are quite affordable now and you will also realize savings on your electricity bill.

There have also been significant advances in dishwashers. Not only are the new dishwashers more energy efficient, there are also quieter. Because so many living spaces are open, Kriewald has found that more people ask, “Is it quiet?” than “Will it clean my dishes well?”

What many people don’t realize is that many of the older dishwashers used between 12 to 14 gallons of water; today they use only three or four gallons. There have also been improvements in the drying systems. Now many dishwashers use an air-dry system rather than an element-drying system.

Another way you can reduce your water and energy is to invest in a front-loading washing machine. “What many people don’t realize is that one wash-and-rinse cycle in an old washing machine with an agitator can use 40 to 50 gallons of water,” says Kriewald.

Not only do the new HE (high-efficiency) front-loading washing machines use less water, they also spin faster, which results in clothes coming out with less water, reducing the time required in the dryer.

When it comes to selecting any new appliance, whether it is a front-loading washing machine or a new refrigerator, Moroz urges customers to think about a second price tag. “The second price tag is what you would spend over the life of the appliance. So while it might be more expensive to buy an energy efficient appliance, a consumer should look at the annual operating costs of the appliance over its lifetime.”