How much can replacing your old fridge save you on energy costs?

I was at my friend’s house for her three-year-old’s birthday party the other day.

Theme: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Snacks: Pizza (of course)

Drinks: ...

Tagged: energy star, fridge, refrigerator, rebates, energy efficient, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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How much can replacing your old fridge save you on energy costs?

Replacing your old fridge can save you money

If your fridge is more than 10 years old, you could save more than $200 over the next five years by replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR approved one.

Key Points

  • Replacing an old fridge can save you money on your utilities.
  • If your fridge is more than 10 years old, it could save you $270 over the next five years on energy costs.
  • Many utilities also offer rebates for recycling your old model. 

I was at my friend’s house for her three-year-old’s birthday party the other day.

Theme: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Snacks: Pizza (of course)

Drinks: Sewer slime (don’t ask)

Activities: Getting all the bad guys

Discussion: Refrigerators

As the parents gathered in the kitchen to escape the mayhem, my friends started talking about how they want to replace their old fridge with a new one, and that hopefully the energy savings would pay off.

So, in the spirit of the Turtles, here’s an Energy Ninja analysis:

  • According to the Department of Energy, if your fridge is more than 10 years old, you could save $270 over the next five years by replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR approved one.
  • To make the deal even sweeter, many utilities offer rebates for recycling your old one. Make sure to talk with your utility about local offers. Or, as the Splinter would say “never pay full price for a pizza, or leave rebate money on the table.”
  • Some new features aren’t the most efficient. The good-ol’ freezer on top, fridge on the bottom models generally use less energy than the side-by-side or freezer on the bottom ones. Features like ice makers and water dispensers add to the energy load too.
  • Don’t buy more fridge than you need. Unless you really do have four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the house, you could benefit from a smaller – and more efficient – model.

And now the next time you find yourself hiding from a band of toddler ninja turtles, you’ll know exactly what to talk about in your kitchen hideout. Cowabunga dudes.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Are we missing out on tax incentive money?

A few years ago, it seemed like everyone was touting tax incentives as a way to help save on new energy efficient purchases. Maybe the hype has worn off, the incentives have expired ...

Tagged: taxes, rebates, savings

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Are we missing out on tax incentive money?

File your tax return!

There was a credit of up to $500 for things like installing qualified insulation, windows, doors, roofs, certain water heaters and heating and air conditioning systems. Those tax credits went away at the end of 2013.

Key Points

  • Many energy efficiency tax incentives have expired.
  • There are some new ones available alternative energy equipment.
  • Check out other rebate programs to save some money.

A few years ago, it seemed like everyone was touting tax incentives as a way to help save on new energy efficient purchases. Maybe the hype has worn off, the incentives have expired or I just don’t pay as much attention any more, but I haven’t heard as much discussion about these savings lately.

I called my accountant (my husband) to get the skinny on the savings. And, after giving me a long speech about how I need to make sure that anything I say about taxes has a full disclosure that I AM NOT A TAX PROFESSIONAL, he sent me some info. So, take this as a starting point to think about some tax savings, but make sure to talk with your tax professional about it. Me giving tax advice is kind of like when my toddler decides to “make supper.” Everyone has fun, but it’ll probably result in a mess.

Here’s what you need to know:

Many energy efficiency tax credits expired: There was a credit of up to $500 for things like installing qualified insulation, windows, doors, roofs, certain water heaters and heating and air conditioning systems. Those tax credits went away at the end of 2013.

There are some new ones for installing alternative energy equipment: There is a tax credit for 30 percent of the cost of alternative energy equipment installed on or in your home. It includes things like qualified solar hot water heaters, solar electric equipment and wind turbines. There’s no dollar limit on the credit, and it’s expected to be available through 2016.  

EnergyStar offers some guidance for applying for the tax credit.

Remember, tax credits aren’t the only way to save some money when making purchases for your home. Many utilities offer incentives for switching to more energy-efficient home appliances. For instance, I’m a Black Hills Power customer, so I’d be eligible for a $40 rebate on an EnergyStar-rated fridge. Make sure to do a quick search for rebates and other savings.

Here are links to savings from Black Hills:

Black Hills Power

Black Hills Energy

Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power

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