How to Read the Home Energy Guide Labels on Appliances

We’ve been talking a lot about Energy Star. Looking for the Energy Star label is important, but it’s also a great idea to know how to read the home energy guide on appliances.

Understanding this little yellow label is the absolute best way to understand exactly how much each appliance is likely to cost you and whether you’re getting the most bang for your energy buck. You will find one on every kind of appliance that you buy as they’re required by law (much like those little tags on mattresses, but more useful).

You’ll even find them on appliances that aren’t rated for Energy Star, though the label on the left is. Let’s look at it from top to bottom.

At the very top you’ll notice the testing information. This information tells you when the US government tested this appliance to ensure it met its minimum standards for being released on the market.

Beneath the words “Energy Guide” you’ll see what kind of appliance it is (a standard capacity washer) and the make and model (Bosch Corporation, plus a long model number).

The square in the middle allows you to compare the Bosch Corporation’s standard capacity washers with other washers that are out on the market.  The most energy efficient washer on the market uses 113 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year. The least energy efficient washer on the market is some sort of tank that uses 680 kWh per year. You can see the slider bar, and the energy use for this specific washer: 182 kWh for year. That’s not bad. It’s enough to earn the Energy Star rating, but of course if you want the <em>most</em> efficient washer on the market you’d need to keep shopping.

Below that you’ll find an explanation of kWh, which is of course the unit your power company charges you for every time they send you a bill. Below <em>that</em> you’ll find the annual cost to run your washer expressed in real dollars. The difference between $16 and $11 is the difference between using a natural gas heater and an electric heater. Of the two, the natural gas heater is cheaper, but the difference isn’t enormous.

Beneath these dollar figures you’ll find the fine print — how the government came to decide it would cost you $11 to $16 to run this washer every year. If you run more than 8 loads of clothes every week your costs will be a bit higher. If you run less, your costs will be a bit lower. It’s all based on national averages, so your mileage may still vary even if you do wash exactly 8 loads of clothes every week.

It’s important to read the Energy Guide label every time you buy an appliance just so you can make informed decisions about your energy use and costs.

If you’re buying new appliances for your home and you need a dedicated appliance circuit, call us for a free estimate. We have been serving the Raleigh-Durham area for over 2 decades and we are known for our prompt, trustworthy service.

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