Thinking of Buying a New Appliance? Consider Energy Star

In the market for a new appliance? We know all the options can make your head spin. We put together a buying guide to help consumers in the market for a new appliance. In this mini-guide you can expect to find information on Energy Star and High Efficiency appliances, how Energy Star appliances save money, what to think about when buying an appliance and good questions to ask your appliance supplier.


Energy Star

What makes an Energy Star appliance different from any other appliance?

Energy Star appliances have undergone the Energy Star certification process. To earn the Energy Star certification and little sticker on the final production, that product must reach superior requirements for energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Some products also meet strict performance requirements as well. For example, an Energy Star LED lightbulb is not just tested to make sure that it saves a certain amount of energy, but it also doesn’t trade off on light quality or brightness. Every year, over 20,000 products earn the Energy Star.

What is the difference between High Efficiency (HE) models and Energy Star appliances?

The High Efficiency rating is a certification process like Energy Star. High Efficiency models are ecofriendly in addition to saving energy. For example, a high efficiency laundry washer has features that save water. Many High Efficiency models are also Energy Star and save the consumer water and energy. However, it is important to remember that not all High Efficiency models are Energy Star.   When applying for utility rebates for high efficiency appliances, pay attention to the requirements.   An Energy Star rating is often the criteria used to be eligible for the rebate rather than just a High Efficiency model.


Energy Star Appliances

What is the impact of an Energy Star rating on specific appliances?  This section explains it.


Ways it saves:

  • Twin cooling: it uses an extra evaporator, so it isn’t drawing cool dry air from the freezer.
  • Improved ducting: minimizes heat lost.

Benefits other than savings:

  • Keep food fresher, longer.

How much does it save?

  • If your fridge is non-Energy Star and ten years or older, you would save around 50% in energy consumption.
  • If you have an old fridge running, be sure to recycle it with your utility provider. Some utilities will even provide a rebate to recycle your old fridge.


Laundry Washers

Top Load Washer (without Agitator)

Ways it saves:

  • They have a specially designed tub to spin and flip your clothes. It flips clothes down through the water.
  • It has a weight sensor that adjusts amount of water used based on the amount of clothes in the load.

Benefits other than energy saving:

  • Gentle on your clothes.
  • Saves water.

Front Load Washer

Ways it saves:

  • Front load washers use gravity to pull clothes through the water.
  • Washers extra spin cycle to extract more water and reduce drying time

Benefits other than energy saving:

  • Gentle on your clothes.
  • Saves water.

How much does it save?

  • A new Energy Star washer will cost you less to operate than a standard machine by using 25% less electricity and approximately 33% less water. Less water means less water to heat, saving



Ways it saves:

  • Moisture sensors: detects when the load is dry and stops the drying cycle.
  • Heat pump: heats and recirculates ambient air.
  • When an Energy Star dryer is combined with an Energy Star washer that can extract more water in an extra spin cycle, you save money on drying!

Benefits other than savings:

  • Don’t need to check if clothes are dry at end of cycle.
  • Shorter dryer times are gentler on clothes.

How much does it save?

  • You can save around 20% per year.


Window Air Conditioning Unit

Ways it saves:

  • Higher quality, tighter fitting accordion walls help keep out leaks.
  • Certified installation instructions to prevent energy loss through air leaks.

Benefits other than savings:

  • Uses a refrigerant called R32 that has lower environmental impact.

How much does it save?

  • Save 10% more energy.



Ways it saves:

  • Eco Cycle: can sense how much food is on the plate.
  • Better insulation: keeps water warm and requires less heating.

Benefits other than savings:

  • More quiet than non-Energy Star dish washer.

How much does it save?

  • You can save around 10% on power and 15% on water.


List of things to think about when buying a new appliance:

  • Think about how much you can afford to spend in up-front costs.
  • Think about how much it is going to cost to run your appliance. A cheaper appliance up-front may not be the best decision to buy because of how much it will cost to run over its lifetime.
  • Think about the how long you want your appliance to last and how much use it will get week to week. Understanding how often you expect to use the appliance will help your supplier tell you how long you can reasonably expect your machine to last.
  • Think about if it is really time to buy a new machine or if you could repair it and extend the life of your existing appliance.

Questions to ask when shopping for a new appliance:

  • What experience have other people had with this appliance?
  • How do I maintain this appliance?
  • How should this appliance last?
  • Are there rebates for this appliance?
  • How much will it cost to run this appliance?
    • Remember, appliance sellers are required to add a yellow label specifying the cost of this appliance to run over a period.
  • Are there recycling programs for my old appliance?
  • How many people will be using this appliance? How much capacity does the appliance need to have?

If you have any questions about appliances, rebates, or other ways to save on household energy expenses, we encourage consumers to reach out to us here at Citizens Utility Board Minnesota. You can call us at (651) 300-4701 or email us at

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Author: Ana Diaz

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