Energy Efficient Appliances: What You Should Know Before You Buy

Since the 1970’s, the government has been encouraging Americans to conserve energy in order to reduce our country’s dependency on foreign energy sources, help the environment and save money. Energy efficient appliances are just one of the many ways homeowners can look to reduce their carbon footprint. According to the Energy Star’s website, the use of Energy Star approved products which include anything from refrigerators to TV’s to insulation, saved homeowners $17billion dollars in 2009 and reduced greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent of 30 million cars.

By now homeowners are aware of the tax incentives available for upgrading their appliances to energy efficient ones, but are all energy efficient appliances really created equally? And what about that Energy Label Guide? In this post we will discuss what the Energy Star labels really mean and further discuss the benefits to owning these products.

Navigating the Labels

If you’ve shopped for appliances, you’ve likely seen the yellow EnergyGuide label that breaks down the savings by appliance. But navigating the label can be tricky. According to Business Green, only 5 percent of Energy Star-labeled products in a particular product category meet the Most Efficient standards. Some companies earning this label include: Kenmore, LG, Samsung and Panasonic. The Energy Star Most-Efficient label was designed to clear up this confusion. These labels are applied only to the most-efficient products that truly meet the required criteria. Other things to keep in mind include:

Not all Labels are the Same: Appliances with updated energy labels will have bright yellow numbers. Other labels with potentially older updates have black numbers.

Labels are Appliance Specific: Some labels wont have operating costs, while others may have two. These are comparison tools, so be sure to ask questions if you are confused.
National Electric Costs: These are not always accurate as they are only required to be updates every five years.

The Pros

Energy efficient appliances will save consumers an average of 20% on their utility bills every year on average. This is good news considering the average annual heating bill for a single-family household in Minneapolis/St. Paul is $2,400.00. Other benefits include:

  1. Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  2. Reduce Water Consumption
  3. Increase Re-Sale Value
  4. Tax Incentives

The Cons

Times are tough, and some consumers have a hard time justifying the cost of these big-ticket items. If you consider the average tax incentives, ($1,500) it might not be cost effective to outfit an entire home. Also some consumers find that space is an issue, especially if they live in an older home as these newer appliances tend to be larger that traditional ones.

The Energy Star label is and will continue to be a valuable asset to both he environment as well as consumers in order to conserve energy and help reduce costs. Tell us what you think? Have you seen substantial savings after purchasing an energy efficient appliance? Share your thoughts with us below, or Like us on Facebook to join the conversation.