understanding energy ratings on appliances

Understanding Energy Ratings on Appliances

Energy ratings indicate how much energy a household appliance will consume, which can significantly impact the environment (i.e., carbon emissions) and your wallet. Understanding the energy ratings can help you make the right purchase for yourself and your family.

Interpreting Energy Ratings for Appliances

You’ve seen the energy ratings for appliances when shopping at big-box stores. An energy rating allows us to measure and calculate how much energy it will use. Energy ratings were introduced in 1992, as part of the federal Clean Air Act. Run by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program who’s goal is to help people learn more about how to improve efficiency while saving money and reducing environmental degradation.

The EPA identifies and promotes products and buildings that are energy-efficient. The ENERGY STAR uses its ENERGY STAR rating system to score products and buildings on how energy efficient they are. Homes (new and existing), commercial businesses, and products are the three main areas that could have an ENERGY STAR rating.

Products that may have an ENERGY STAR rating include:

  • Dishwashers
  • Lighting devices
  • TVs and electronic displays
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Washing machines
  • Air purifiers
  • Dehumidifiers

Not every appliance has an ENERGY STAR rating. It must meet specific federally mandated guidelines related to energy efficiency. Depending on the product, these guidelines are different. For example, the water requirements for a washing machine are different from a dishwasher to get an ENERGY STAR rating.

Balancing the Energy Ratings for Appliance with Cost

The FTC’s EnergyGuide labels will show you an estimate of how much your appliance’s energy will cost you annually. It will also include a comparison to the energy use of similar appliances.

If you’ve had an appliance such as a washing machine for over ten years, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model can significantly lower your costs in many cases. Multiplying those savings by replacing more than one old machine could add more significant savings to your wallet.

It’s worth considering that the amount of saving you’ll realize will depend on your overall usage. Don’t forget to check with your electric company provider as they often have incentives such as rebates on ENERGY STAR rated appliances.

Other Ways to Save on Energy

You can save money and improve the efficiency of your appliance even if you’re buying a second-hand or less efficient appliance. Here are some tips for certain appliances in your home:

  • Washing machine. Wait until you have a full load to wash. Use a cooler temperature to wash your clothes.
  • Dryer. Clean out the lint filter after a few uses to help the machine run more efficiently. Consider air drying some clothes if possible.
  • Dishwasher. Run your dishwasher when it’s full to get the most out of it. But make sure you don’t overload it to prevent the water from circulating properly.
  • Fridge or freezer. These appliances are always on, which means they use a lot of energy. Try not to leave the fridge door open, and defrost it regularly.

Save Energy in Your New Home

First Centennial Mortgage understands how you want to keep more money in your wallet. We’ll help you find the best mortgage product to reach your homeownership goals. Contact us today to talk to one of our our mortgage loan officers.

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