Understanding the EnergyGuide Label
If you’re in the market for a new appliance, knowing how to use the EnergyGuide label to find an efficient model could reward you with lower bills for years to come.
What is that Yellow Label?
The EnergyGuide label is the large, rectangular yellow label you’ll find attached to most new major home appliances, including furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters, and refrigerators. Some types of appliances, such as stoves, are exempt. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates this label as part of consumer protection initiatives. This is separate from the Energy Star program, which is voluntary. The EnergyGuide label displays manufacturer-provided information about the appliance’s energy use.
Making Sense of the Data
Under the heading “Estimated Yearly Operating Costs,” you can find a dollar amount that tells you approximately how much the appliance will cost to run based on the appliance’s energy use and national average energy prices. Your actual cost to run the appliance depends on your local energy prices and how you use the appliance. The number is placed on a cost-range scale ranging from the lowest to highest operating costs for similar appliance models. This lets you see how one appliance compares to others.
On the labels of furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps, you’ll find the appliance’s efficiency rating. A furnace’s label will list Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), while an A/C’s will list Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
Estimated Yearly Electricity Use indicates how much electricity, in kWh (kilowatt hours), the appliance consumes based on typical use. Multiply this number by your local electricity rate per kWh and you’ll find out how much the appliance should cost to run in your area.
If the appliance is Energy Star-qualified, you’ll find the square Energy Star logo printed in the corner of the EnergyGuide label.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Bart Everson/Flickr”