The Arizona Republic
Fewer of us are opting for basic white refrigerators and stoves with basic functions.
We’re paying upward of $1,000 for fancy front-loading washers and dryers in stunning hues that match the décor of our once dank and colorless laundry rooms.
Ovens have warming drawers; wine racks are as big as refrigerators. Microwaves are so small they can fit in a drawer under the counter where they won’t take up precious cabinet space.
And they’re all so energy efficient that they’re making what we bought last time seem like dinosaurs.
All of this is good. The new appliances are designed with clever conveniences that not only save us time and trouble, but they save energy and money on our gas and electric bills.
It’s good that new washing machines come with sensors that know how dirty your clothes are so they can work hard or take it easy—an energy-saver that also can extend the life of your clothes. It’s good that refrigerator/freezers come in every combination of side-by-side, freezer-on-top or freezer-on-bottom so people can choose the one that’s most comfortable to use. It’s good that more manufacturers are designing sturdy, weather-resistant appliances rated for outdoor use in response to our growing passion for outdoor rooms that let us enjoy Arizona’s long, warm evenings.
And the ever-popular, shiny stainless steel kitchen is making way—just the smallest bit—for some new colors, like stylish metallic finishes in bronze, non-stainless silver, and even red and blue.
The colorful metallics bring a bit more warmth to the kitchen and laundry room.
Still, the most important color in appliances this fall might be green.
Green as in more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, that is. Stringent efficiency standards imposed by the federal government on some large appliances at the beginning of the year have led manufacturers to come up with “smarter” appliances that seem to know better than we do what temperature to cook our food and how much water we need to wash our clothes.
All this appliance advancement means you’ve got extra homework to do before you buy one.
My best advice: Don’t buy on looks alone, and don’t rely on the sales price alone to convince you of an appliance’s value. Use the EnergyGuide label on each appliance to help you estimate how much the appliance will cost to operate and compare it to similar models. If the difference it makes on your monthly utility bill is significant--especially when you add it up over the 10- to 20-year life of the appliance, it might be worth it to go with a slightly more expensive, more energy-efficient model than the one that’s on sale but is an energy guzzler.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. Rosie Romero isan Arizona contractor who has been in the Arizona home building andremodeling industry for 35 years. He has a radio program from 8-11 a.m.Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3), from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson, and from 8 –11 a.m. Saturdays on KAZM-AM (780) in Northern Arizona.