Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Energy-Efficient Appliances FAQs

You go shopping for a new clothes washer, and you’re on a budget. The best buy is the clothes washer with the lowest sales price, right? Not necessarily. If you buy the lowest-priced model, you may end up spending more than if you buy a more expensive one. The reason? The cost of owning a home appliance has three components: the initial purchase price, the cost of repairs and maintenance, and the cost to operate it. To figure out the true cost of owning an appliance, you need to look at all these costs.

One of the most important things to look for when purchasing a home appliance is the yellow EnergyGuide label (click here to view). This label helps you compare the energy efficiency of one model to others. By law, appliances must meet basic energy conservation standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy, but some are more efficient than others.

Before you buy, compare all of the numbers – energy use, not just purchase price – because these both factor into the cost of owning an appliance.

The PUD offers smart rewards for purchasing eligible efficient home products and appliances. For more information, click here.

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Why should I care about energy efficiency?

The more efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run and the lower your utility bills are. Using less energy is also good for the environment because it helps reduce air pollution and conserve natural resources.

What makes one appliance more efficient than another?

Most of the differences are on the inside – in the motors, compressors, pumps, valves, gaskets and seals, or in electronic sensors that make appliances “smarter.” Even if two models look the same from the outside, less-obvious features inside the appliance can mean a big difference in your monthly utility bills.

How can I be sure energy-efficiency claims aren’t just sales hype?

Manufacturers must use standard test procedures developed by the U.S. 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 printed on the EnergyGuide labels, which manufacturers are required to put on many of their appliances.

What’s the purpose of EnergyGuide labels?

The EnergyGuide labels help you compare the efficiency or annual energy use of competing brands and similar models.

Look for the labels on clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerator/freezers, room air conditioners, water heaters, pool heaters, and on central home heating and cooling equipment.

Labels must contain information about the capacity of the particular model. If you don’t see an EnergyGuide label, ask for the information.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because an appliance has a yellow EnergyGuide label, it must be energy efficient. Instead, use the EnergyGuide label to compare annual energy use between models.

Related PUD Program Information