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Shopping Tips for Washers and Dryers

The Issues

Appliances consume lots of energy — often as much as one-third of an average household’s entire energy budget. The main environmental impacts of appliances include:

  • Energy use, which can lead to the emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
  • Water use, both the water required for operation and the effluent coming out of the appliance.
  • The release of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases, particularly when older appliances are improperly handled after disposal.

What to look for

  • Always opt for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances when possible.
  • For washers, go for “high efficiency” models. For dryers, look for an automatic shut off feature.
  • For refrigerator/freezer combos, choose top-mounted freezer models without through-the-door ice dispensers.

What to avoid:

  • Avoid older, used appliances — they are less efficient and may contain environmentally harmful chemicals.
  • Avoid top-loading washers that are not labeled “high efficiency.”
  • Avoid bottom-mounted, side-by-side, or French door refrigerator/freezer configurations.
  • Avoid hand-washing dishes — instead, use an efficient dishwasher to save time, money, energy
    and water.

GoodGuide Recommends

Read the label — For most appliances, all of the information you need to make a good decision
is on the Yellow Energy Guide label. If you need help interpreting the label, see the Energy Guide website
www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea14.shtm.

Replace old appliances with new, ENERGY STAR qualified models. Be sure to dispose of the old appliance in a responsible manner.

Be sure to select the appropriate size appliance for your home.

For each appliance, follow these guidelines:

  • Air Conditioners — select the appropriate size for the room and shut off the AC unit when no one is present. Look for AC units with a high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER).
  • Dishwashers — choose a dishwasher with several wash cycle options to avoid wasting energy and water. In general, you should avoid pre-rinsing; instead load dishes directly into an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher to save time and money.
  • Clothes Washers — choose a high efficiency model with a high Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and a low Water Factor (WF). Always use high efficiency detergent with your high efficiency washer.
  • Clothes Dryers — look for gas-powered dryers with an automatic shut off feature. Always clean the lint filter before operating the dryer. If possible, hang dry your clothes.
  • Refrigerators and Freezers — consider top-mounted refrigerators/freezer combos without the through-the-door ice dispenser. Manual defrost freezers use less energy than automatic defrost freezers, but must be defrosted regularly to achieve energy savings.

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