Before you consider buying solar panels, do this first! You have to get your energy consumption as low as possible! What is the point of buying solar panels if you are going to be wasting energy on un-efficient devices? Your energy demands will be higher and your solar system is going to be larger and more expensive. So first you need to reduce your load. How do you do that? By replacing old outdated appliances with energy efficient appliances. It will save you in the long run (and the short run by reducing your energy consumption and the size of your solar array. This article will give you the best appliances for solar power. AND even if you’re not getting solar panels, investing in appliances that will reduce your energy consumption is a SMART idea. Not only will you be saving money on energy you will be saving the planet by reducing your carbon footprint.
Best Appliances for Solar Power
#1 Light Bulbs
If you haven’t done this YET, shame on you (just kidding). You need to switch all of your lights to LED lights. LED lights use 1/3 or less of the amount of energy that incandescent bulbs use. They also last a lot longer. Some LED light manufacturers claim that their lights last up to 10 years or more.
#2 Air Conditioner
Ok so if you have a big house and you’re getting solar panels, its not really economical to purchase a brand new AC system for your entire house…That would be crazy. You can however purchase a thermostat that will help you cut your energy consumption. Your air conditioning unit uses more energy than anything else in your house. It takes up about half of your energy consumption. So optimizing your AC unit is VERY IMPORTANT. This is equal to all of the hard work put into fixing your other appliances TIMES 10! So please please do not neglect your AC Unit.
Your AC uses 100 times the amount of energy as your TV!
Just think about it, AC unit is the reason why your electric bill is high in the summer, its the reason why its low in the spring. That is how much your air conditioning unit controls and affects your energy consumption it is the MAIN APPLIANCE THAT USES ENERGY. If we all had no AC unit, our electric bills would be tiny. Well if you want to save up to 20% on your ac and heating usage, all you have to do is install a smart thermostat such as the Nest thermostat.
Now, with that being said, the way to optimize your air conditioning usage is to get control of your thermostat. Your temperature can be precisely controlled with a smart thermometer such as the Nest Learning Thermostat. This is my favorite of our list of best appliances for solar power.
The Nest Thermometer works on most all AC units. You just have to check your thermometer (pull it off the wall) to see if it is low voltage or line voltage. Low voltage thermometers, when you open them up with have about 5 colorful wires while line voltage will have 2 or 4 thick wires. Most homes have low voltages thermometers. Some apartments do not.
The Nest Thermostat can help you save energy
So now that you know that your AC unit works with the nest thermometer, this is what all it can do:
- Auto Learing: it will learn your usage patterns and adjust accordingly
- You can connect it to your phone or tablet so you can adjust the temperature of your house while you are away from home.
- The Leaf: A picture of a leaf will show up on the thermomstat when you are using a temperature that saves energy.
- It knows the weather!! Yes, it is that SMART. Crazy right? Well the Nest Thermostat tracks the weather and adjusts the temperature in your house accordingly.
- Home Away/Asist: When you leave, the Nest will turn down the air so it doesn’t waste energy heating or cooling an empty house.
- It shows the Time, Temperature and weather
- It lights up brighter when you are on the other side of the room.
- Energy usage history: The Nest tracks your energy usage that is consumed by your AC unit. You can check your history in the app.
- Energy star rated: The Nest was the first thermostat to earn the energy star rating because it saves you energy on your AC bill!
So if you have an old thermostat, replace it now! New smart thermostats are not that expensive and are relatively easy to set up and get going so you will start saving energy immediately. Click here to check the price on Amazon.
#3 Microwave & other Kitchen Appliances
Microwaves draw a lot of power when being used. To reduce your energy load, purchase a microwave that has a lower wattage rating. Your can purchase microwaves with power ratings from 650 watts to over 1200 watts. Lower wattage microwaves will take longer to cook, so take that into consideration.
Another wasteful aspect about microwaves is the power they consume while not being used. This is called a phantom load or energy vampire. The microwave below has an eco mode to prevent against energy waste.
The power save mode on this microwave will help you lower your energy consumption. Every little bit counts when you are using solar panels so small changes such as replacing your microwave can go a long way in keeping your energy demand low
Another thing that will help you conserve energy and keep your house a comfortable temperature is energy saving curtains. Sunlight causes heat to come through your window. Heat also escapes through your windows during the winter time. You can use thermal energy saving curtains to insulate your windows and thus save on heating and cooling energy consumption.
#5 TV’s, computers, & game systems
All of these devices are guilty of phantom loads and energy vampires when they are not being used. The best course of action to lower your energy consumption with these devices is to purchase a smart energy efficient surge protector. The smart power strip will cut off power on the devices when they are not being used. Check out our blog about the best energy saving power strips.
Advanced Power Strip
#6 Chest Freezer, Dish Washer, Oven and any other appliance
This applies to all of the appliances listed above. Virtually all appliances now a days are available in energy star versions. That means they are more efficient than their non-energy star counterparts. So check your appliances and see if they are energy star rated. If they are not, they might be costing you extra money and extra kilowatt hours. Of course in many cases it is not feasible to replace every appliance you have, but it is a good investment in the long run to do what you can now.
Regarding your oven, its best to have a gas range. Electric ovens use more electricity (of course!!).
Here are just a few examples of energy star appliances that are the best appliances for solar power….
Energy Star Freezer Chest
Energy Star Dehumidifier
Energy Star Dish Washer
Ok, this coffee maker is not actually energy star rated, but it is energy efficient! I thought it was cool because it has a thermal carafe so it keeps the water hot for hours. Some reviewers have reported that it keeps water hot all day! Pretty neat. That way you won’t have to be microwaving the coffee to get it hot again.
#7 Outdoor Lighting
If you have outdoor flood lights, porch lights, deck lights, pathway lights, etc,, you can switch all of those over to solar LED lights. Solar LED lights don’t use any electricity. They have a solar panel attached to them that powers the lights at night. Check out my blog post about solar flood lights and solar garden lights. Here are some examples of Solar LED lights that you can use for your outdoor lighting needs.
These lights don’t consume ANY ELECTRICITY AT ALL! How much better can you get? We humans are pretty amazing to have harnessed the suns energy to use for lighting at night. Isn’t it great being a human?
#8 Front Load Washing Machine
If you are going to get solar panels, it would be wise to purchase a front loading washing machine. Front loading washing machines use half as much water and half as much electricity as top loading machines. They also leave less water in clothes which cuts the drying time down (and dryer energy costs). Purchase a front load washing machine to help cut down your energy load (get it, energy LOAD, like a load of laundry…pardon the pun.) Below is a high rated and lower priced front load washing machine from GE.
This front loading washing machine is energy star rated. and has over 4 stars by reviews on Amazon. It has several different settings and an internal water heater to help reduce bacteria.
The best option with a dryer is to not have one at all. You should get rid of your dryer and buy a clothes line. That is if you have an outdoor space to dry your clothes. Dryers use up to 3,000 watts per hour to run. That is a lot of un-needed energy consumption.
90% of homes in America have clothes dryers and use them up to 400 times per year. That is 1,200 kwh per year, which is about $200 in electricity you use to dry your clothes when they could be dried by the sun. The electricity used by the same dryer will contribute to the emission of 1,300 lbs. of CO2 into the atmosphere over a year (through power plants converting fossil fuels to electricity).
A clothesline such as the one above is one of the best appliances for solar power. It will save you money and also help the environment!
I know some people don’t have the option of using a clothes line or just don’t have time to hang up their clothes. If that is the case, you can still improve your efficiency. Always clean the lint trap on your dryer. This will help clothes dry faster. Also if you have an auto dry feature, use it. That way the dryer will shut off as soon as the clothes are dry.
If you are going to get solar panels, you have to make sure you keep your energy load low so you don’t have to pull energy from the grid or from your house battery. Vacuums use up to 1000 watts to run. Dyson has a battery powered vacuum cleaner that’s power and efficiency rivals its competitors. With battery powered vacuums, they only use a trickle of energy to charge the battery. Then, when you are ready to use it, unplug the vacuum and go at it. Plus who hates vacuuming with a cord? I do! I am always running over it and getting tangled on stuff. Then when I get to the other side of the room I have to unplug it and plug it into another plug.
Dyson Battery Powered Vacuum
With this vacuum cleaner, you aren’t tied down by the cord! It’s cordless so you are free to take it anywhere around your house. The best part is that it doesn’t take 1000 watts per hour to run. It essentially takes zero watts per house since it is using a battery. Here are some of the energy saving features:
- It has a non motorized tool than can be used at any time and also a motorized tool that can be used for up to 60 minutes.
- It must be charged for 3.5 hours before first being used.
- Has a direct drive power head.
- Dyson engineered motor picks up fine dust and dirt way better than other vacuums.
- It is also light weight so its easier to move around and reach crazy places that your old clunky energy wasting vacuum could never reach. Like the ceiling for instance. Yes, you can actualy vacuum your ceiling!! Can you imagine the dust that is up there just haunting your every breath? Kill those dust monsters!!
Best Appliances for Solar Power Conclusion
These are the best appliances for solar power. There are many appliances you can buy to help you reduce your energy usage and prepare your house for solar panels. Whether or not you are getting solar panels you can still make choices and invest in products that will reduce your energy load.
At this point I think all of us realize that Global Warming is real. It is caused by our cars and by the power plants that provide us energy and pollute the air. Power plants burn fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide that damages the atmosphere which is leading to climate change across the world. Climate change is inevitable, but we can slow is down by making responsible choices in the products we buy and the energy we consume, to REDUCE OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. We owe it to our children and our children’s children to do all we can to stop carbon emissions. Every little bit counts. Whether you get solar panels or just switch to LED lights, you are helping the future generations of your kids and grandkids survive on this planet we call Earth.
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