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How to Shop for Energy Efficient Appliances

7 May 2012

So you are ready to retire your 25 year old fridge, and this time around you want to invest in an energy efficient model. Way to go! But how do you understand the potential energy and money savings? Fortunately, there is a great label that helps lay out the energy savings of energy efficient appliances that is on most appliances (The label is not on clothes dryers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, ovens and ranges) The EnergyGuide label has a lot of small type that is important to read r in order to truly understand what you are purchasing.  The picture below from the Federal Trade Commission lays out where to look and what it means!

Energy Guide

As the picture suggests, you can calculate the operating costs of your possible new appliance by multiplying the yearly kilowatt hour (kWh) use by your current electricity rate. In 2011 Minnesotas electricity costs were an average of 8.14 cents per kWh. So for this example it would cost approximately 51 dollars (620 x .0817) to run, which is much less than stated.  Bring your latest electricity bill when you go shopping to have the most up to date information, and it’s worth calling ahead to the store you’re planning on going to about their selection of energy efficient appliances.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 May 2012 10:41 am

    Another great resource is toptenusa.org – it lists the top ten most efficient appliances in many categories – some go well beyond Energy Etar requirements, for little or no extra cost.

  2. Brian permalink
    7 May 2012 2:09 pm

    Easy to shop for an efficient product with this information. Hard when you go to a retailer and they do not sell any or few that are truly efficient. Which makes all the effort of research, futile, useless, head binging on the wall waste of effort.

    • 7 May 2012 2:15 pm

      Brian – that certainly sounds frustrating….I will recommend that people call ahead in the future to make sure their retailer carries the product they are looking for. Thanks!

    • 7 May 2012 4:19 pm

      Agreed, it’s frustrating. It’d be nice if the Energy Star site tied into online & local retailers as well. I definitely had that problem when looking at water heaters – lots of models, impossible to find. The toptenusa.org site above does help find retailers, though some of the items don’t turn up anything for our area.

  3. Brian permalink
    8 May 2012 7:44 am

    Rereading my post, I really don’t wish to come across as negative, so let me explain our experience.

    We looked at these EnergyGuides seven years ago in a kitchen remodel before we looked at prices when we picked out new a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and range and were able to get great energy energy savings on these, really great. Our frustration has been with refrigerators and window air conditioners, these items we have not had great success finding efficient units anywhere.

    I am bracing for the day our 1973 water heater fails. As inefficient as it might be, when we do make this purchase, I am afraid what is easy to find will not be a true improvement.

    • 8 May 2012 8:11 am

      Brian, if the water heater is really from 1973, I doubt you could buy a less efficient one anywhere, today! But of course you probably want to do the best you can, even so.

      Water heaters really are one of those things where when you need it, you need it NOW! and often don’t have time to shop. It’s probably worth talking to your preferred plumber to make sure they regularly have energy star heaters in stock, or look at the big box stores and see who has what – and maybe consider replacing it proactively when you have the luxury – might save you money, and a flooded basement as well.

      (That’s what I’m considering now, and ours is “only” about 10 years old – on a 6 year warranty heater).

  4. 24 May 2012 7:13 am

    Do your research before hitting up the stores. Talking to the salespeople is also important. and dont forget to read the energy star tags!

  5. rich permalink
    1 August 2012 2:10 pm

    great article. nice to know the little things that counts makes a big difference.

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