Energy Star Appliances
President’s Day is coming and, in Massachusetts, that means two things: First, school vacation week is coming up fast and, second, it’s almost time to catch an awesome sale on a new appliance. Traditionally, big-box stores have huge sales on home appliances over President’s Day weekend. Are you in the market for a new washer or dryer this weekend? Look out for Energy Star appliances while you are walking around the store!
An Introduction to Energy Star
You’ve probably seen the little blue label before. Energy Star, a program started by the EPA in 1992, is a program designed to help consumers and businesses make informed choices about energy efficiency and purchases. Officially, Energy Star is a “voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.” What does that mean for you? It means that Energy Star is a one-stop, trustworthy resource for learning great ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, getting recommendations for efficient appliances, and even finding tax credits or other financial incentives for making energy efficient decisions.
The Energy Star Label Means the Best and Most Efficient
Have you ever been appliance shopping and noticed the blue Energy Star label on a product? The label doesn’t go on just anything. Certified Energy Star products must meet specific performance standards that can be read on the Energy Star website. For example, clothes washers must be at least 25% more efficient that non-certified machines in order to get the Energy Star label. Dishwashers, on the other hand, only need to be 12% more efficient. The math for each product is a little different, but the result is the same: every product with the Energy Star label is tested and proven to be more energy efficient than its peers. This saves you money over the long term and it lowers your impact on the environment as well.
“High Efficiency” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means
If you are looking for a washer or dryer over the President’s Day sales weekend, you might see a lot of labels that have an “H-E” on it, meaning “High-Efficiency.” While this does have a meaning, it does not necessarily mean that the product is the most energy efficient out there, nor does it mean that it is Energy Star recommended or certified. The H-E label was created by the appliance industry to highlight a specific type of clothes washer (front-loading washers) and to make sure that people use the right type of laundry detergent with them. Front-loading washers, which use significantly less water than their older, top-loading counterparts, use less soap and create less suds than regular detergent. If you put regular detergent in an H-E washer, you can make a bubbly mess in your laundry room!
To be absolutely clear: The H-E label has nothing to do with energy efficiency standards. There is nothing to certify something as “High-Efficiency” and there is nothing certifying that any specific “H-E” machine is the most energy efficient in comparison with other products. You can buy a front-loading, H-E washer that is not actually energy efficient if you aren’t careful!
The Bottom Line: Do Your Homework, Then Check the Stickers
If you are in the market for a new washer or dryer this weekend, make sure you look for the H-E and Energy Star labels. That’s the only way to know that you are getting a washer or dryer that is the latest and greatest, as well as energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Energystar.gov, the official Energy Star website, has lists of certified product recommendations and reviews for plenty of reading on Energy Star appliances. Don’t forget to ask around! What do your friends and neighbors use in their homes? The more research you do, the better you are going to feel when you are making your purchase.
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