Energy-Efficient Appliances

The energy efficiency of similar appliances can vary significantly. It is usually more cost effective to purchase appliances with high efficiencies. Determining and comparing the energy efficiency of different models is usually easy, because federal regulations require many types of appliances to display EnergyGuide labels. A label or energy-use information in the product literature is required for furnaces, refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, freezers, water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, room and central , , and fluorescent lamp ballasts. EnergyGuide labels indicate either the annual estimated cost of operating the system or a standardized energy efficiency ratio.

You can also maximize the efficiency of appliances you already own through regular and tune-ups and system upgrades. Examples of some things that you can do are:

  • Check air filters in systems monthly during the seasons they are in use and clean and replace them as necessary.
  • Clean air vents, baseboards, and radiators regularly and keep them unrestricted by furniture, carpets, or drapes.
  • Release trapped air from hot water radiators once or twice a season by opening the valve until nothing but water comes out.
  • Follow prescribed maintenance (e.g., maintaining certain water levels in steam heat systems).
  • Install an insulating jacket on your hot , insulate hot water pipes, and lower the water heater temperature.
  • Clean refrigerator coils yearly and maintain internal temperatures between 36 F (2.2 C) and 38 F (33 C) for the refrigerator compartment and between 0 F (17.8 C) and 5 F (15.0 C) for the freezer compartment.
  • Move the refrigerator if it is currently located near the stove or dishwasher.
  • Regularly defrost refrigerators that do not have a completely automatic defrost capability to eliminate ice build-up on interior coils.
  • Clean dryer filters after each use or as necessary.

More complicated jobs, such as furnace tune-ups, will need to be performed periodically by a trained technician. Companies that sell oil and gas usually have trained technicians who can tune-up your furnace or boiler.

Sometimes independent companies provide this service as well. For professional service for other home appliances, you should contact the business where the appliance was purchased.