MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Energy-efficient appliances

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Buying a new energy-efficient appliance may cost you a chunk of money up front, but experts say it can actually put money back into your wallet within just a few years.

When shopping for a new appliance, you'll see not all models are labeled "energy efficient." Some models conserve more energy than others, but they all have the same goal. The "energy efficient" trend started about ten years ago with front-load washers. They don't have an agitator in the middle.

Ones with agitators use 50 gallons of water. Ones without use 20 gallons of water - that's a big help on your monthly costs.

Using less water saves on your water and energy bills. In about three years, you'll see the benefit - not having to warm 30 gallons, you'll save about 69% on water and 70% on energy.

Once front-load washers became energy-efficient, the trend continued to top-load washers. You'll find many of them without agitators and see similar savings.

You should see more water than clothes. That applies to all types of washers, and it will help the appliance last longer.

In the kitchen, refrigerators now have LED lights instead of a regular bulb. That can save you 5% on your energy bill every year.

Older dishwashers had one or two spray arms that did most of the work. Now you have Energy Star dishwashers that have smart wash - which conserves water based on the soiliness of your dishes.

Dryers cannot be classified as energy-efficient because they don't use water and because the technology just isn't there, but there is one thing you can do to save a little energy.

If you have one that you set for 60 minutes, it may take 40 minutes to dry but it'll run for 60 minutes. Auto dry it may start out at 60 but it'll automatically cut itself off.

Doing this can also extend the life of your appliance.

If you wait a few more months to buy new appliances, you could save even more money. This October, there's a four-day tax-free weekend on energy-efficient appliances.

For more information about the Energy Star tax holiday, click here:

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