How to Read and Understand the Energy Guide Label

On December 19, 2015 by Himanshu

If you are shopping for a new major appliance, you will see a yellow sticker on it. What exactly does the information on that yellow Energy Guide label mean and how can that information affect your purchasing decision?

What is an Energy Guide Label?

Energy Guide Label
Energy Guide labels are usually found on large home appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, and washing machines. They are also found on water heaters, HVAC systems, and furnaces.

The information provides an estimate of how much electricity that appliance will use annually. These labels must be placed on appliances by manufacturers. The information will indicate how much energy the appliance will used compared to other, similar models. It is important to note that the numbers on these labels are averages, and your actual cost may differ depending on how you use them.

A Little Label History

The Federal Trade Commission requires that Energy Guide labels be placed on some types of appliances and HVAC equipment. Manufacturers, since 2013, are also required to have this Energy Guide data available online. In January of 2014, a new label design with yellow text on a black background was introduced. It is possible that consumers will see a mixture of old and new labels, until all products required to bear a label are retested with the new requirements.

Understanding the Label

Energy Star Certified 2009
The Energy Guide label provides information on:

  • The appliance’s model, size, and manufacturer
  • The estimated annual operating cost (based on the national average cost of electricity), and the range of operating costs for similar models. This information is an average of the annual energy cost at an estimated power rate. Should your power rate be higher, you can use the information provided by your local provider to get a better idea of what your actual consumption will be.
  • How much electricity will be consumed annually
  • Features of the appliance and the similar models used to create the cost comparison range.

Additionally, if the product label has the ENERGY STAR logo, you will know that the model meets strict criteria for energy efficiency. This information indicates how the model performed in government energy tests. Appliances bearing this ENERGY STAR logo exceed the minimum standards set down by the federal government for efficiency and quality. By purchasing a product with these standards, you will easily be able to reduce your energy costs.

How This Information Can Impact Your Purchasing Decision

By understanding and using the information on the Energy Guide label, you will be able to make an informed purchasing decision. Because the label provides energy consumption usage on several levels, you can select a high-efficiency model on criteria that goes beyond comparisons of size and price.

When selecting in-home appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and such, the information on the label can assist in the decision-making process. However, you may want to consider consulting with a professional HVAC service company if you are purchasing a new heating and cooling system. These professionals can inspect your home and help you select a system that will most efficiently keep your house at its best comfort levels.

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