Appliances account for about 20% of your household's energy consumption with refrigerators, clothes washers, and clothes dryers at the top of the consumption list. When you're shopping for appliances, think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price—think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You'll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 13 years; room air conditioners and dishwashers, about 11 years each; clothes washers, about 9 years - so spending a little more up front can save you a lot down the road.
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