Energy Efficient and EnergyStar Appliances Checklist

By Vernon Trollinger, March 21, 2018, Energy Efficiency, Home Improvement

Major appliances represent major investment in your home, so you want them to be as energy-efficient as possible. EnergyStar qualified appliances are even more energy efficient than those meeting the federal minimum standard for energy efficiency

Since there are so many different types and classes of major appliances, it’s really important for you to have a firm idea about what you’re looking for when you go out shopping for one. It can actually be a little overwhelming sometimes. To help you get informed and stay organized, we’ve put together a check list to guide you through the energy efficient appliance decision process.

Energy Efficient Appliances Checklist | Bounce Energy Blog

What appliances are energy efficient?

The EnergyStar designation covers LOTS of appliances, including nearly everything from air purifiers to computers to vending machines to water heaters. But not all appliances you’d expect qualify.

There is no EnergyStar rating for residential ovens, ranges, microwave ovens, or even coffee makers. The big reason is in the energy consumption variability in cooking itself. For example, the quality and type of cookware you use determines the rate of heat transfer from the heat source to the food. That alone makes it difficult to state reliably that one cook top is more energy efficient than a comparable model.

Of course, appliances develop and improve over time so that they eventually do qualify for an EnergyStar rating. In 2015, clothes dryers qualified for Energy Star and became available nationwide. Only natural gas or electric dryers that meet Energy Star criteria qualify. So, while a particular kind of appliance might not currently meet EnergyStar’s efficiency criteria, there’s always a possibility that it could change in the future.

What should I look for when shopping for energy efficient appliances?

Once you’ve got some ideas about the kind of appliance you want, then it’s time to start digging into the details. You’ll want to keep track of this information in some form or another, such as a spreadsheet, text file, or a good ol’ notebook. Here’s our checklist on what you should look for in an energy efficient appliance:

1. Measurements. When it comes to buying any appliance, ALWAYS make sure it will fit into your home. Not only should you know the measurements of the space it will live and work in, but also the measurements of every doorway and corner inside your home. If the doorway to your kitchen is 32” wide and your brand new refrigerator is 36” x 36” x 72”, then you’re going to be in for a real heartbreak. By measuring and having all the dimensions of doors, hallways and corners in your home with you when you go shopping, you’ll be able find the appliance that fits best into your home.

Energy Efficient and EnergyStar Appliances Checklist | Bounce Energy Blog

2. Reviews. Find reviews of how the appliance performs and compare it with others of its class. One of the common features you’ll likely find is where the appliance trades off convenience for energy efficiency. For example, many energy efficient refrigerators don’t have through-the-door ice dispensers. That’s because there’s a hole in the freezer door where the ice comes out and it’s only covered by an often poorly insulated plastic flap. You can also learn how well the appliance performs in routine daily tasks, such as how well the refrigerator cycles or a dishwasher’s water pressure and cleaning power. And of course, you can learn which appliances have a design problem; such as a washer’s revolutionary design that just makes an expensive mess. The more you know about the appliance before you have it in your house, the fewer unpleasant surprises you’ll have when it arrives.

3. Energy usage. Everyone always wants to know how much an appliance will cost them to use. The fact is that on one hand, you need to understand how much energy the appliance will use. On the other, you need to understand how much you’ll use the appliance. So, how do you find out? Read the yellow Energy Guide label.

The Energy Guide label shows the estimated yearly electrical consumption in kWh. Your actual costs will depend on your utility rates and usage. There is also an estimated yearly operating cost to run a particular appliance and compares that cost to similar models in its class. Note that these labels will state the price of electricity the estimate is based on. These estimates are updated every 5 years and so won’t always reflect accurate prices in your circumstances.

Not all the energy used comes from just electricity. Washers and dishwashers can use a lot of water.

  • Decide on the capacity/size you’re looking for.
  • The biggest energy user in both of these is the hot water they pull out of your water heater. Compare the different model capacities and pay close attention to water usage.
  • Keep an eye peeled for things like dirt or soil sensors and smart features such as diagnostic abilities.

Note—Not all appliances have an Energy Guide label, like dehumidifiers, humidifiers, ovens, and ranges.

Energy Efficient and EnergyStar Appliances Checklist | Bounce Energy Blog

4. Energy efficiency rebates. In Texas, both cities and utilities offer rebate incentives to customers who buy energy efficient appliances. Some rebates can take up to $100 off the price of a new appliance, making them even more affordable.

Will energy efficient appliances save me money?

Features differ between appliance manufacturers. Often you will find trade-offs that juggle energy efficiency with convenience and price. This can make your choice harder. If you want push for increased energy efficiency, be ready to do without some convenience features within your price range. If you want those conveniences, be ready to lose some energy efficiency or pay more to have both.

The good news is that you don’t have to pay more for EnergyStar appliances anymore. But, you will STILL pay more for using energy over time if you don’t own one.

Want to save even more? Sign up for an electricity plan with Bounce Energy and get a great Texas electricity rate. We have a variety of plans to choose from so you can find the perfect plan for your lifestyle.

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