54. Choose Energyefficient Appliances


Over the life span of most appliances, the cost to operate them
is far more than the initial purchase price. Therefore, purchasing
an energyefficient appliance is almost always the wisest choice,
even if it costs more to purchase than an inefficient one. You can
determine the most energyefficient model by looking at “EnergyGuide”
labels.
Climate control appliances, such as air conditioners, furnaces,
and heat pumps, are labeled with an energy
efficiency rating. The higher the number, the more efficient
the appliance. The energy efficiency label also shows how this model
compares with others.


Energy
use labels appear on refrigerators, freezers, water heaters,
dishwashers, and clothes washers. The amount of energy used per year
is listed, along with how this compares with other models. The label
shows how much it costs to operate the appliance for a year, based
on the national average cost for electricity and gas. 

For
an even more accurate estimate of energy use, check your utility bill
to find out either the kilowatt hour rate (for electricity) or the
therm rate (for gas). Then multiply those rates by the kilowatts or
therm rates per year that the appliance will use. 

Here’s
an example: Assume your local utility charges 12 cents per kilowatt
hour, and the EnergyGuide for the refrigerator you’re considering
says it uses 776 kilowatt hours per year. Multiply the two numbers
and you find that the appliance will cost $93 to operate annually. 

You
can also compute how expensive it will be to operate an appliance
over its entire life, allowing you to judge how much one model will
save over another. According to industry officials, here’s an
estimate of the average life span of major appliances. 

To compute lifetime costs, multiply the peryear operating cost times
the average life span of the appliance, and add that number to the
original price. For example, let’s compare two refrigerator
models—one with a price tag of $800 and an annual energy cost
of $120 and another, more energyefficient model with a purchase cost
of $1,000 and an annual energy cost of $93. 

If
you included estimated operation costs over the appliance’s
entire life, refrigerator #1 would cost $3,200 over 20 years, while
refrigerator #2 would cost $2,860. Thus, the energyefficient model
with the higher purchase price will cost about $340 less in the long
run. 
