Next time you consider upgrading your big appliances, use Energy Star Ratings to choose a model that will help cut your power bills. Here's our guide to star ratings and how they can work for you.
When the freezer cuts out in the middle of a hot summer day, you might be too worried about melted ice cream or rapidly defrosting chicken to think about energy efficiency - but when upgrading appliances it pays to think ahead and go for a greener choice.
Many common home appliances and white goods are covered by the Energy Star Rating system. This means that manufactures must test a product’s energy efficiency to help you understand how much it will cost to run at home.
It’s worthwhile paying attention to this when deciding on an upgrade: each additional star could save you 10-30 per cent on a product’s energy usage, depending on the type of appliance.
You can compare energy efficiency using star ratings on a range of products:
- Air conditioners
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Washing machines and clothes dryers
Some swimming pool pumps will even display a rating even though it’s not required by law.
How to compare
Energy ratings must be displayed on the product itself, so you can compare ratings while shopping. Alternatively, head to the Energy Star website and pick out some well-performing models from home.
Ratings are out of six stars - although some super-efficient fridges and air-conditioning units can go up to 10 stars - with more stars equalling greater efficiency.
The rating takes size into account. For example, a large dishwasher is going to use more energy overall than a smaller model, but will receive a higher rating if it’s more efficient at heating the same amount of water.
To make the greatest savings choose a model with low annual energy consumption. This is displayed alongside the star rating, usually in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. The figure is based on ‘average’ usage - if you think you’ll have the appliance on often more than most people you’ll need to take this into account.
Use star ratings at home
You can also make the most of star ratings by performing a home energy audit. Take a look at the ratings on your current appliances (if the stickers have been removed use the Energy Star website to look up the model). If there’s a power-hungry air conditioner or clothes dryer in the house you’ll know what needs upgrading to make some big savings.