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Chapter 3- Choosing and Using Appliances for Your Home the Sustainable Way

*please note that we might make some money off of the links to products here, all of that money goes to support the ranch and we thank you!

Often times we think that we need to replace items we currently have with new more environmentally friendly items in order to be more sustainable. But, we are firm believers in continuing to use what you have, and repair it as needed, until it is dead. Once that happens then go ahead and replace it with something more efficient.

When choosing a new appliance check for the Energy Star Ratings, water usage, and longevity. You need to make sure that whatever you choose will last. The process of making a new appliance, packaging, and shipping all add up, so make sure you absolutely need that new appliance before deciding to purchase it.

If you have a current appliance that works great for now but you are worried about its environmental impacts, we recommend taking these steps to help:

Only run a load in the dishwasher or washer machine when it’s full.

If you are like us and have a larger family, it is almost always full at the end of the day, but, if it’s just you and a partner it might take a few days to fill it up. Our advice is to empty the dishwasher as soon as the clean cycle is done so it is empty and ready to be filled. At the end of a meal scrape your dish clean, rinse if necessary, and put it in the dishwasher. Once it’s full let the dishwasher work its magic!

Did you know that they have proven that dishwashers are better for the environment than hand washing when you run a full load? Here is a great article on Real Homes that breaks it down well :

If possible, choose to air dry.

This is true for dishes and clothes. A lot of times you don’t need to run the dryer or a dry setting on your dishwasher all year long here in AZ. However, even humid cool climates can benefit from line drying or rack drying. You can also hand dry dishes as you put them away. We are also fans of how line drying looks, feels kinda cozy in a way.

Choosing Products

Make sure you choose the most environmentally friendly detergents for dishes and clothes. Here are a few we like!

Also, consider the impact of using things like dryer sheets. They have to go through production, packaging, and shipping. We opted to not use any sort of dryer sheets at all when we use the dryer, but if you feel like you still need them, we recommend using wool dryer balls like these. If you miss the smells of dryer sheets, you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil.

Lastly, consider the time of day you use your appliances.

If it is a hot day and the AC is kick’n then you might wasn’t to wait until temps cool down to run appliances. Appliances heat up as they run and that will just make the ac run harder. If you are on the electrical grid, check for on-peak and off-peak times. Running appliances during off peak times will help the load on the grid and if you sign up for the peak plans it will help your wallet too!

Bottom line, don’t replace your appliances until you absolutely need to, and when you do need to replace them choose a more energy efficient model. Until then, make the most of what you have, repair as needed and follow the steps above to cut back on energy and water use, helping the environment, and your wallet!

Remember you don’t need to make all these changes all at once, but start with trying one thing at a time. Small changes over time will create a large impact, and it’s a more sustainable approach too!

We appreciate you reading and be sure to subscribe and follow us on social media to be sure to keep up with all the goings on here at the ranch. And remember, one small step in the right direction is all it takes for you to make a difference!

If you like what you see here at Rowell Ranch, please consider making a donation, any amount helps!

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