Energy-Efficient Appliances Guide to Save Energy, Money and the Environment

Woman-shopping-for-refrigeratorMuch of the electricity we use in our homes comes from power plants that use fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil to generate power. Using these fossil fuels causes air pollution and contributes to smog, acid rain and global warming. By using energy efficient appliances, you can help reduce demand on power plants which eventually leads to less pollution and other negative environmental effects.

There are many ways to find appliances that use the least energy. Here are some helpful tips.

Look for the Energy Star label

The Energy Star program was designed to help consumers save money on utility bills and reduce air pollution. A product is given an Energy Star rating if it uses less energy than a minimum standard. Energy Star rated models are the most energy efficient in any product category.

Read the EnergyGuide label

Check for a yellow and black label on all new appliances (except microwave ovens, kitchen ranges and clothes dryers). This label contains specific information about energy consumption of the appliance. Reading this label helps compare energy efficiency of different competing brands or models.

Choose the right size and style

Buy only appliances that suit your needs. Avoid over-sized water heaters, refrigerators and air conditioners that waste both energy and money.

Consider price and estimated energy use

While energy efficient appliances typically cost more, they’ll save you money over the long run through lowered energy consumption.

Check for incentives or bonuses

Low interest loans, grants and tax incentives are often available for consumers looking to acquire energy efficient appliances. Ask the salespeople at the store about these programs. You could also conduct your own research on the Internet.

Make use of online resources

There are many websites with useful information about energy efficient appliances designed to promote efficiency in homes.  You can find reviews of all popular energy-efficient brands, models and programs.

How to save money with your appliances

REFRIGERATORS

  • Replace your old refrigerator with an Energy Star-qualified model.
  • Buy a refrigerator with a top (or bottom) freezer.  This uses less energy than a side-by-side model of equivalent size.
  • Manual defrost refrigerators are more energy-efficient.
  • Always ensure that the energy-saver switch is turned on.
  • Reduce temperature settings in winter.
  • Wait until your food has cooled down before storing it in the refrigerator.

CLOTHES WASHERS/DRYERS

  • Look for an Energy Star rated model.
  • Use the EnergyGuide to compare efficiencies of different models.
  • Select a model of the right size.
  • Choose a washing machine with adjustable water levels so you can use less water for smaller loads.
  • Avoid using too much detergent.
  • Always match your temperature and water level to the amount of clothes you’re washing.
  • Look for a washer with a faster spin rate. This removes more water from the clothes, reducing the dryer’s consumption of energy.
  • Choose a gas dryer instead of an electric model (if possible).
  • Purchase a dryer that automatically stops the machine when clothes are dry.

DISHWASHERS

  • Invest in an Energy Star rated dishwasher.
  • Look for a dishwasher with an energy-saving or “light wash” option.
  • Buy a dishwasher with an “air dry” option where circulation fans take the place of heating coils.

AIR CONDITIONERS

  • Look for a room air conditioner that offers the highest Energy Efficiency Ratio.
  • Install ceiling fans in larger rooms so you can reduce your air conditioner usage.
  • Consult an air conditioning professional to help maximize the energy efficiency of your system.
 

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