Most major appliances (such as refrigerators and dishwashers) that are more than 15 years old are major energy wasters - and likely worth ditching in favor of this year's models. No need to guess, though. See for yourself with a gizmo called Watts Up? ($100 for the standard model).
Just plug any of your existing appliances into the thing, and it will calculate the machine's annual electrical consumption. Compare that number with electrical usage ratings on new products at energystar.gov and you'll know precisely whether upgrading is worth the money.
Annual savings: $50 to $150 on electric bills per machine.
Up-front cost: About $500 to $1,500 per machine.
Quick Fix: Compact fluorescent bulbs (costing about $5 each) could save you about $5 each annually. The biggest problem with fluorescents is that their bluish light can make even the healthiest homeowner look ready for his last rites.
To minimize the operating room glare, says Jeff Miller, president-elect of the International Association of Lighting Designers, buy only name-brand bulbs that are labeled "soft" or "warm" light. Keep in mind that wattages are different than you're used to: The GE 26-watt compact fluorescent bulb, for example, gives off as much light as a 100-watt regular bulb.