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Your Guide to Energy-Efficient Appliances

Energy efficient appliances are an all-around good choice. Not only will you save on your energy bills every month, but you'll also be doing your part for a greener planet. If you're thinking about making the switch to efficient appliances, here's what you need to know.

Start With the Basics

Energy Star is a program from the Environmental Protection Agency designed to help people make smart decisions about powering their homes. Most Americans recognize the Energy Star logo, and many of us have taken a look at the big yellow EnergyGuide labels on some appliances, but do you know what all the information on the labels mean?
The EnergyGuide label is meant to give customers a roundup of features and costs related to operating an appliance. You'll see how much energy the appliance uses, and an estimate of how much that might look like on your energy bills. The Energy Star logo is reserved for those products that meet the highest standards of efficiency. As you're shopping for new appliances, this is where you want to look for efficiency information.

A Guide to Efficiency

There are many things to consider when choosing an appliance, including the physical space that the appliance must fit into, your home or family's usage needs, and which combination of features you'd like to have. There's no real way to choose the absolute best of any appliance as a tiny fridge will always be more efficient than a very large one, but that's not helpful for a family of six!

Instead of aiming for the highest efficiency, figure out what your needs and requirements are, and then refer to Energy Star's comprehensive guide to the most efficient products of 2018. This list has been thoroughly vetted so you can be sure you're getting the most efficiency while also meeting your family's needs.

One last efficiency metric to consider is the comparison of gas appliances versus electric. While energy rates vary from state to state, natural gas appliances tend to cost 10 to 30 percent less to operate than their electric counterparts, but this comes at a cost. Gas-operated appliances tend to cost around 20 percent more than electric upfront. For something you use a lot, the energy savings could make up the difference in price.

Recouping Higher Costs

Due to the high demand for Energy Star rated appliances, the costs have come down significantly in recent years. It's no longer the case that efficiency will always cost more upfront. You may also be wondering if is it really worth it to replace inefficient appliances even if they seem to be working just fine. In many cases, these appliances will pay for themselves over the lifespan of the product. Plus, if you're replacing very old appliances, you could recoup the costs in just a few years.

If that's not quick enough for you, don't forget about tax credits, rebates, and incentives available when you purchase these products. To find incentives that are available in your area, simply enter your zip code into Energy Star's rebate finder, and check back often as new incentives are popping up every day.

Replacing old, inefficient appliances has never been easier or more cost-effective. In most cases, you'll be able to earn back the cost of your new gear in energy savings and incentives in just a few years. Combine that with the peace of mind you'll get knowing you're doing your part to keep our planet clean, and you've got a win-win scenario.