Washers and Dryers: Now More Energy Efficient and with More Options

One hundred years ago, doing the laundry was an all-day affair and it often was back-breaking work for those who had to do it. As technology advanced, manufacturers designed washers and dryers that took much of the sweat out of wash day and left people with a lot more time to do other things. More recently, washers and dryers have gone “high-tech?? and are far more energy efficient than they were 20 years ago.

As this recent Washington Post article points out, washers and dryers have became the “trophy appliances?? for many Americans: “By 2000, the power laundry room had joined the kitchen as another place for trophy appliances. Consumers who needed to replace old washers embraced the innovations, despite the higher price, realizing long-term savings from lower utility and water bills, better cleaning and improved fabric care. The streamlined washing machines had growing numbers of special cycles and options. You could buy a coordinating dryer that used moisture sensors to dry clothes that came out already less wet from HE washers.?? Furthermore, manufacturers are developing “smart?? washers and dryers that could be connected to the Smart Grid and communicate with the utility company to operate during off-peak hours.

By purchasing an ENERGY STAR washer, you could save over $135 per year on your utility bills. In fact, in 1990, the average consumption for a washer was 2.67 kilowatt hours (kWh) per cycle and one manufactured in 2010 consumes only .66 kWh per cycle – a 75 percent decrease!  Click here to find ENERGY STAR qualified washers. Additionally, you may be eligible for a rebate for an energy efficient model.


Know when to use a Microwave or Conventional Oven: A message from the USDA’s “Cook it Safe” Campaign

Busy parents appreciate how hectic the after-five routine can be, especially when hungry mouths are staring at you and wondering when dinner will be served.   Many Americans’ freezers are stocked with trusted meals sure to put a smile on any kid’s face.  While the shortest distance between the freezer and the table may be the microwave oven, not all frozen foods can be cooked in the microwave.  The package instructions specify which type of appliance will cook your family’s favorite frozen meal safely and deliciously.

The USDA and partners have just kicked off the “Cook It Safe?? campaign, urges consumers to take the time to read package instructions and properly cook pre-packaged meals, whether or not they are microwaveable.  Prevent foodborne illness due to undercooking frozen or other pre-packaged meals with these four simple tips:

1.)    Read and follow all of the package cooking instructions

2.)    Know When to Use a Microwave or Conventional Oven

3.)    Know Your Microwave Wattage before Microwaving Food

4.)    Always Use a Food Thermometer to Ensure a Safe Internal Temperature

It is important to use the cooking appliance that the manufacturer recommends on the food package instructions, whether the instructions call for cooking in a conventional oven, convection oven, toaster oven, or microwave. Package cooking instructions are calibrated for a specific type of appliance and may not be applicable to all ovens.  Some frozen foods may appear to be fully cooked but actually consist of raw, uncooked product, and it may be tempting to cook these foods quickly in a microwave, they must be cooked according to manufacturer’s instructions.

After cooking in any type of appliance, always use a food thermometer to be sure the product has reached the recommended safe temperature to help prevent any risk of foodborne illness.

The USDA has created a several fun videos demonstrating these tips.  Check back at the International Food Information Council’s blog and @IFICMedia on Twitter for more information on health, nutrition and food safety.

New Appliances Now More Efficient Than Ever

For most consumers, when it comes to replacing appliances, one of their primary concerns is how much it will cost to operate them.  Over the past several decades, appliance manufacturers have developed technologies that have drastically reduced appliance energy consumption, which has resulted in lower electricity bills for consumers.  For example, in 1991, an average dishwasher consumed 2.67 kilowatt hours (kWh) per cycle and in 2010, the average consumption for a dishwasher is 1.37 kWh – a 45 percent decrease.  In 1990, a typical household refrigerator consumed 916 kWh per year, and by 2010 that had decreased to 462 kWh per year – that’s nearly a 50 percent decrease!    Based on the national average electricity prices, that means replacing a refrigerator from 1990 with a new unit of average efficiency will save your household over $100 per year!

Purchasing an ENERGY STAR unit will save even more energy and utility costs.   Use the ENERGY STAR calculator to determine how much money you will save by replacing your refrigerator.   Also, look at the rebate calculator to see what is available in your zip code.    These rebates can help offset the initial purchase price of a new unit.   There may even be a bounty available in your area for turning in an older working unit.    See AHAM’s database of verified refrigerators to check on the energy usage of the latest models.

A recent article from NewJersey.com provides a good overview of the ENERGY STAR program and how you can cut your utility bills when you make your next appliance purchase.


WASHINGTON, DC (October 13, 2011) — Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) President Joseph M. McGuire will participate in the 4th biennial United States-China Consumer Product Safety Summit being held in Washington, DC, October 13-14, 2011.  The Summit is being held in partnership with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ).

McGuire will participate in a panel discussion titled “Global Best Practices in Product Design?? on Thursday, October 13 along with Mr. Mark Kumagai, Director of Electrical Engineering, CPSC; and Ms. Kitty Pilarz, Senior Director, Mattel Product Safety, Fisher-Price.     

McGuire’s presentation will stress that, “AHAM members are continually working to improve their products and processes.  Their focus on product safety is ongoing, ingrained and evolving.  Through AHAM, the manufacturers work together to improve safety standards to ensure they keep pace with technology, consumer trends and innovation.??

The Summit focuses on Building a Culture of Consumer Product Safety in China, and will include keynote addresses from the U.S. CPSC’s Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and China’s AQSIQ’s, Vice Minister Sun Dawei.

More information about the Summit can be found here.  It is also being streamed live and may be viewed here.  The “Global Best Practices in Product Design?? panel will begin at 2:00 pm, Eastern.   For more information, contact Jill Notini at (202) 872-5955 ext. 318.

AHAM’s Latest Energy Data Released

AHAM has just released the 2010 update to its Trends in Energy Efficiency.  This data details industry average capacity, energy efficiency and consumption trends in clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and room air conditioners from 1990-2010.  It also provides an initial data point from 1980.   This PDF trends table may be purchased and downloaded by clicking here.  The data shows that Refrigerators shipped in 2010, offered a 10 percent decrease in the industry’s average energy consumption. Energy efficiency increases for other products are contained in this new data release.


AHAM also offers Major Appliance Historical Trends, which provides data includes imports, exports and domestically produced units; History of Dollar Value Report provides estimated annual Major Home Appliance Industry Domestic Dollar Sales; and Distributor Sales by State data including a listing of Major Appliance shipments by product distributed to each state.   Visit AHAM’s store here.

AHAM Marks Fire Prevention Week by Distributing 250,000 Safety Brochures

National Fire Prevention Week is October 7-12, 2011 and AHAM is again supporting this Week by providing several safety brochures (just pay shipping). Last year, AHAM distributed over 250,000 brochures to local fire departments, schools and non-profit agencies.

The following brochures are available:

  • “Protect Against Range Tipping??
  • “Recipe for Safer Cooking Procedures??
  • “Clothes Dryer Safety??
  • “Portable Heater Safety Brochure?? (English)
  • “Portable Heater Safety Brochure?? (Spanish)

There is no shipping charge if your total order is less than 250 brochures. However, there will be a nominal shipping charge for larger orders. You may order brochures online or click here for an order form. Email AHAM if you have any questions.

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