Renos & DIY

5 Vital Tips for Buying Energy-Efficient Appliances

By Alison Mercer




Maintaining energy efficiency in the home isn’t just important — it’s crucial. When you’re tracking down the energy guzzlers in your house, don’t forget to take a critical look at your stove, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. Major appliances could account for up to 15 20% of your total energy use. Refrigerators are the top culprit, and air conditioners account for up to 50% of our summer electricity bills. If you’re considering a new appliance purchase in the near future, you’ll want to choose energy-efficient models. Here are five tools that will help you save on energy costs for years to come.


1. Compare with EnerGuide

The EnerGuide label is required on all household appliances in Canada. It lists the typical energy use range for categories of appliances, and specific energy use of each model. This allows you to see where a specific model sits in terms of typical energy use. That said: just because you see an EnerGuide label does not mean that the model in question is the most efficient option; all appliances carry this label. Still, the EnerGuide label is an excellent tool for comparison.


2. ENERGY STAR® Designation

ENERGY STAR is the mark of high-efficiency products in Canada. Appliances that earn the qualification have been rigorously tested and proven to meet strict performance guidelines. This means they save energy without compromising performance in any way. Typically, an ENERGY STAR qualified product is in the top 15 to 30% of its class for energy performance. So look for the ENERGY STAR logo when selecting a new appliance.


3. Energy-Saving Features

The features of an appliance can have a significant impact on its energy efficiency. For instance, “timed delay” options allow you to program your appliance to begin the cycle during off-peak hours. Similarly, you can look for “air dry” and “half load” options, “cold water wash,” “small” or “quick wash” options in washing machines and “cool dry” options in dryers. Finally, take a pass on refrigerators with water or ice dispensers: these luxuries can increase energy use by as much as 20%.


4. Appliances: Get the Right Fit

One of the most important considerations when buying a new appliance is choosing a model that is the right size for your household. If you are a household of one or two, a smaller washer/dryer pair would likely be appropriate (versus full-size units). A smaller appliance will use less energy and run more efficiently with a smaller load.

Refrigerators also come in many different sizes. Buyers often choose one that is unnecessarily large. Since refrigerators are one of the biggest consumers of energy, it’s especially important to practice restraint when choosing a new model. The Ontario Power Authority recommends that 12 cubic feet is ample for two people. For a family of four, this can increase to 1417 cubic feet. Add another 2 cubic feet for each additional person.


5. Out with the Old

When the time comes to send that old fridge to greener pastures, the prospect of removing it from your home can be daunting. Enter your local electric utility’s saveONenergy FRIDGE & FREEZER PICKUP program, which includes a no-cost fridge and/or freezer pick-up. Yes, your local electric utility will coordinate the removal of your old fridge and/or freezer. They will also ensure old, energy-guzzling appliances are decommissioned and the component parts are recycled in an environmentally responsible way.

To be eligible, the appliance must be 20+ years old, between 1027 cubic feet in size, and in working condition. If you book a fridge or freezer pick-up, they will also take away your old window air conditioning unit and dehumidifier. You’ll also be eligible to collect AIR MILES® rewards miles when you book your pick-up! For more information and eligibility details, visit saveONenergy FRIDGE & FREEZER PICKUP.

Keeping tabs on your appliances by making wise choices when purchasing new models can help you manage up to 20% of your household energy use. That’s a win-win-win, because saving energy saves you money and reduces your impact on the environment.



Top 5 Energy Guzzlers

If any of these appliances in your home are more than 1015 years old, consider upgrading to newer, more efficient models because you are likely consuming far more electricity than necessary:


Air conditioning units (window or central)


Laundry appliances


Topics: Renos & DIY, Energy, Green, Efficient, Appliances, Electricity, Buying Guide, Shopping Tips, OPA

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