Appliance Upgrades to Do This Year

A stainless steel refrigerator.

From smart fridges you can control with a phone to energy efficient washers and dryers, appliances have undergone major advancements in recent years. Whether you have an old appliance that’s on the fritz or just want to take advantage of modern technology, this guide will help you decide which major home appliances to upgrade in the new year.


Refrigerators eat up the most energy out of all your kitchen appliances. If you are on a tight budget and can only upgrade one appliance this year, choose the fridge. Replacing an older model with an Energy Star unit can save you a hundred dollars annually. Smart fridges come with touchscreen panels and cameras that take pictures of groceries so you can see your inventory right from a smart phone.


An energy-efficient dishwasher.

Upgrading to an energy efficient dishwasher can also save you money on the energy bill, not to mention cut down on water usage. Newer dishwashers use half as much water as their predecessors, amounting to hundreds of gallons saved over the course of a year. Smart dishwashers can also send notifications to your phone and inform you whenever a load is finished.


Although they cost a lot to replace, upgrading to a new furnace can save you hundreds of dollars every year. For better energy efficiency, choose a furnace with a high efficiency rating. These types of furnaces use an electronic ignition instead of a traditional pilot light. For maximum savings, consider upgrading to a heat pump. A heat pump uses external air as a heat source and can save upwards of 60 percent on your annual energy bill. The downside of heat pumps is the cost of installation, though they eventually pay themselves off in energy savings.


A woman with yellow gloves on cleaning an oven.

Ovens have come a long way in recent years. From sending timed reminders directly to your phone to downloading a database of recipes, smart ovens take full advantage of the digital age. If a smart oven isn’t in your best interest, modern ovens use less energy and come in a variety of styles to meet your every need. Picking the right oven upgrade really comes down to budget and features and will vary greatly on the situation.

Air Conditioner

Unless the unit is broken, choosing to replace an air conditioner is a little trickier than most appliances. The key thing to keep in mind is the unit’s energy efficiency ratio (EER). Older units typically don’t have an EER above seven, while modern models range as high as 10. If your air conditioner struggles in the summer heat or is over 20 years old, it’s probably a good idea to upgrade. Because of the popularity of smart thermostats, smart air conditioners haven’t really taken off yet. If you want to take advantage of modern technology, consider installing a smart thermostat to control a new or existing unit.

Washer and Dryer

A washer and dryer set in a laundry room.

If your clothes washer is over 10 years old then it's due for a replacement. Newer models are more efficient than older units and use less water. To maximize energy efficiency, choose front-loading washers over top-loading, which tend to use more water and electricity. Smart washers send updates to your phone and can even continue to tumble dry if you aren’t home to take care of the clothes.

HVAC System

If your HVAC system struggles to heat and cool during peak seasons, then it might be due for an upgrade. Upgrading to an Energy Star system can save you hundreds of dollars every year on your utility bill. It’s also more affordable to upgrade before something breaks down. That being said, it’s always a good idea to check for smaller problems like leaky ductwork before considering a larger upgrade. Also consider installing a smart thermostat to maximize your heating and cooling appliances. Smart thermostats are easy to program, can be monitored through your phone, and adjust better to your personal living habits.

Water Heater

A smart water heater.

Not only are modern water heaters much more efficient than older units, but they also cost less than you would think. Water heaters range from $300 to $1200, depending on your home’s needs. Even more, you can make this money up with yearly energy savings. Smart water heaters utilize electronic interfaces and adapt to individual water usage.