Appliance Shopping Guide
When it’s time to replace appliances, it pays to invest in the most energy-efficient models you can afford. Even if you pay a little more up front, you’ll end up saving more over the life of the appliance through lower energy use. Here are some basic guidelines.
Wait to replace appliances when they reach the end of their lifespan.
If your appliance is still working fine, it usually doesn’t pencil out to upgrade to a new appliance just to try to save money through energy efficiency. Refrigerators are the exception.
Replace your refrigerator first.
Your refrigerator is the biggest energy user in your kitchen. If your refrigerator is pre-1994, upgrading to a newer model provides the best savings opportunity. Learn more in our Refrigerators section.
Choose ENERGY STAR® appliances.
When it’s time to buy a washer, refrigerator, freezer or room air conditioners look for ENERGY STAR qualified models. These are products that have met U.S. government standards for energy efficiency. They have advanced technologies that use 10 percent to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models. You’ll save energy year after year. ENERGY STAR refrigerators, freezers and clothes washers that qualify for Energy Trust cash incentives are usually the most efficient models.
Look at the yellow and black EnergyGuide labels.
The EnergyGuide, required on major appliances,* doesn’t mean the appliance is energy efficient, but it does help you understand how much energy it uses by showing:
- Estimated energy consumption for that particular model and how it compares to similar models.
- Estimated yearly operation costs based on the national average cost of electricity.
Know which models qualify for incentives.
ENERGY STAR models are a great place to start, but keep in mind that not all ENERGY STAR appliances qualify for Energy Trust of Oregon cash-back incentives. In some instances, appliances must meet even higher energy-efficiency standards to qualify for Energy Trust incentives. The more energy-efficient an appliance, the more you’ll save.
Do your research.
*Televisions, clothes dryers, ranges and ovens, and space heaters are exempt. The amount of energy these products use does not vary substantially from model to model. But they do have to meet minimum federal energy-efficiency standards.
The size and features of an appliance affects the energy usage. Before you make a major purchase, it pays to do some research online or at the library. Start by reading the Federal Trade Commission’s report on How to Buy an Energy-efficient Home Appliance.