Shopping for Home Appliances? Use the Energy Guide Label

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When you’re shopping for a new appliance, look for the Energy Guide label, the yellow tag you’ll find attached to most appliances. It tells how much energy an appli- ance uses and makes it easier to compare the energy use of similar models. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run, and the lower your utility bills might be. Using less energy is good for the environment, too; it can reduce air pollution and help conserve natural resources.

Do all appliances have Energy Guide labels?

No. Appliances with labels: boilers, central air conditioners, clothes washers, dish- washers, freezers, furnaces, heat pumps, pool heaters, refrigerators, televisions, wa- ter heaters and window air conditioners. Appliances without labels: clothes dryers, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, ovens and ranges.

Is the estimated operating cost close to what I’ll actually pay each year?

No, it’s only an estimate based on typical use and a national average price for elec- tricity. How much you will pay depends on how you use the appliance and your local energy price.
What if there isn’t an Energy Guide label on an appliance?

Look inside the appliance; the label might be there. You can also check on the retail- er’s or manufacturer’s websites.

Are all Energy Guide labels the same?

No, there are some different labels. Appliances that are rated with updated energy efficiency tests have Energy Guide labels with bright yellow numbers like this example. Other appliances have original labels with black numbers. Before you compare the features of different models, check the labels. Make sure the models you are comparing have Energy Guide labels with all yellow numbers or all black numbers.
Also, labels are appliance-specific. For example, furnace labels don’t show energy costs; dishwasher labels show two costs — one for people who use electric waters heaters, and another for people who use natural gas water heaters. Still, all Energy Guide labels give you a way to compare the energy use of similar appliances.

Are the national average electricity cost and the cost range for similar models always up-to-date?

No. The figures are updated every five years to help ensure there’s consistent information on labels for competing models. As a result, the rate used for En- ergy Guide labels won’t always reflect your current electricity prices. It’s also possible that a newer model’s energy cost won’t be reflected in the cost range. However, a new model will have its own Energy Guide label.
Learn more about the ENERGY STAR program

The ENERGY STAR label helps you identify high efficiency models. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR, a product must meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). To learn more, visit

Ready to shop? Remember to:

  1. Measure. You need a space that’s large enough for the appliance, allows you to open the appliance door or lid fully and provides enough clearance for safe ventilation.
  2. Compare performance. Decide which features are important to you, and ask how various models operate: Are they noisy? What safety features do they have? What are their repair histories? How much water do they use? Product reviews from experts may be helpful. Customers’ online reviews can help you spot common complaints. Search for the company or product name with words like “review” or “complaint.” Read reviews from several sources.
  3. Look at the energy use. Use the Energy Guide label to compare the energy use of similar models. Using an energy efficient appliance can make a big difference on your utility bills during the life of the appliance. Spending less on utility costs might balance out paying a bit more for an energy efficient model.
  4. Ask about special energy efficiency offers. Ask your salesperson or local utility for information about cash rebates, low-interest loans, or other incentive programs in your area for people who buy energy-efficient products. Or visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for informa- tion about government- and utility-sponsored incentives.

Lowering your energy bill

Buying an energy-efficient appliance is one way you might get the most from the energy you use. Visit DOE’s Energy Saver site at and ENER- GY STAR at to see more ways to save.