For An Energy-Smart Deal On Your Next Appliance...
- Look for the EnergyGuide label.
- Compare the energy use of competing models.
- Estimate their differences in energy costs.
- Consider both purchase price and estimated energy
use when deciding which brand and model to buy.
Don't all appliances have to be energy
All major home appliances must meet Federal minimum
energy efficiency standards set by the Department of
Energy. It's the law. But many appliances beat the
standard and use even less energy.
Why should I care about energy efficiency?
Because the more energy efficient an appliance is, the
less it costs to run. That can save you money on your
utility bills. And because using less energy is good for
the environment, it can reduce air pollution and help
conserve natural resources.
What makes one appliance more efficient
Most of the differences are on the inside--in the motors,
compressors, pumps, valves, gaskets and seals, or in
electronic sensors that make appliances more
How can I be sure it's all not just sales
Manufacturers must use standard test procedures developed
by the Department of Energy to prove the energy use and
efficiency of their products. Many have these tests
performed by independent laboratories. The test results
are reported on the EnergyGuide.
Retailers are required to display these stickers.
Why do some appliances have EnergyGuides
and others don't?
The EnergyGuide information is designed to help you
compare the annual energy use or efficiency of competing
brands and similar models. Look for the distinctive
yellow-and-black label on clothes washers, dishwashers,
refrigerator/freezers and water heaters, as well as on
home heating and cooling equipment. Some appliances -
like clothes dryers, kitchen ranges, and microwave ovens
- are exempt from the labeling rule. That's because there
is little difference in energy use between the different
models. If you don't see a label, ask a salesperson for
- Decide on the size and style. Measure the space
the appliance will occupy to be sure your new
purchase will fit. It may determine the capacity
and style you buy. Make sure, too, that you will
have enough room to open the door or lid fully
and enough clearance for ventilation.
- Know where to shop. Appliance outlets,
electronics stores, and local retailers may carry
different brands and models. Factors to consider
include the selection available, price,
reputation or reliability, and warranties.
- Decide on key features--and what to spend.
Generally, the larger and more deluxe the
appliance, the higher the sticker price. Look for
the best combination of performance, efficiency,
convenience, and price that you can afford. What
features will you need today? Five years from
- Compare the performance of different brands and
models. Ask your salesperson for the
manufacturer's product literature. Learn what
each feature is designed to do and decide which
are essential for you. Ask questions about how
they operate: How much noise does it make? What
safety features does it have? How energy
efficient is it? How much water does it use? What
is the repair history on this brand or model?
- Estimate how much the energy use will cost.
Appliances that use more energy cost more to
operate. Since these products are designed to
last 10-20 years, the differences on your monthly
energy bill can add up. Check your utility bill
for energy costs in your area. Use the
EnergyGuide to compare the energy use of
- Ask about special energy efficiency offers. Ask
your local utility or salesperson whether there
are cash rebates, low interest loans, or other
incentive programs in your area for buying energy
efficient products--and how you can qualify.
Additional savings could be just a few, easy
- Resist high-pressure sales tactics. Don't make a
purchase decision until you think you understand
your choices and the trade-offs you're making.
Tips for Lowering Your
Monthly Energy Bill
Being an energy-smart consumer means getting the
most from the energy you use. Here are some ways to cut
energy waste without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
- Move the refrigerator if it is currently located
near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents. Vacuum
the coils every three months; dirt build-up makes
the machine work harder to keep contents cool.
Check the door gaskets for air leaks. If ice
buildup in the freezer is more than 1/4 inch
- Scrape but don't pre-rinse your dishes by hand if
you have a dishwasher that automatically
pre-rinses or has a rinse/hold cycle. Machines
with these features are designed to dispose of
all food particles. Using the "energy
saver" option found on many machines can
reduce the energy needed to wash a load of
dishes. Save time and water.
- Preheat your oven only when the recipe calls for
it and turn off the oven shortly before the
recipe suggests. The heat in the oven can finish
- Cook in pots that fit the size of your stove top
burners to cut energy waste. Using lids on your
pots and pans means you can lower the
temperatures and reduce the energy used.
- Match the water level and temperature settings on
your clothes washer to the size of your load.
Don't fill the tub for just a few small items.
Follow the manufacturer's directions for other
energy saving hints.
- Remember to clean clothes dryer filters after
each use or as necessary.
- Lower the temperature setting on your water
heater. Many thermostats are preset at the
factory at 140 degrees. Lowering it to 120
degrees will save you 15 percent of your water
For More Information
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent
agency that seeks to protect the public against unfair,
deceptive, and fraudulent advertising and marketing
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC 20580
TDD: (202) 326-2502
Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Clearinghouse
U.S. Department of Energy - EREC
P.O. Box 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116
Toll free 1-800-DOE-EREC
Your state and local energy offices
Your local utility company
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