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Reading an EnergyGuide Label

by Suzanne Kantra on August 28, 2009

Article information courtesy of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Ever wondered what the bright yellow EnergyGuide label was all about last time you went shopping for an appliance? It’s a standardize way of relaying how much energy an appliance uses, and it can be a powerful tool to help you shop. Here’s how to decipher a typical label.

EnergyGuide LabelYou’ll find EnergyGuide labels on clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, window air conditioners, central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps and pool heaters. You won’t find them on televisions, ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

Not all EnergyGuide labels are the same. For example, furnace labels don’t have operating costs, and dishwasher labels have two costs — one for people who use an electric water heater, and another for those who use natural gas water heaters. Still, all EnergyGuide labels give you a way to compare the energy use of similar appliances.

Keep in mind, though, that the operating cost listed on the label is just an estimate. The cost on the label is based on a national average price for electricity. And how much electricity the appliance uses depends on how you use the appliance.

The prices are updated every five years, so the rate used for EnergyGuide labels won’t always reflect actual electricity prices. It also means it’s possible a newer model’s operating cost won’t be calculated using the same national average price for electricity, making direct product comparisons more difficult.

The EnergyGuide label makes it easier to find energy efficient appliances, which cost less to run, and the lower your utility bills. And of course, using less energy is good for the environment, too; it can reduce air pollution and help conserve natural resources.


Health and Home, Kitchen, Cleaning, Home Improvement, Green Tech

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