Why buy efficient appliances? Most households are well aware of the rising costs of energy, both financial and environmental; one way that we can combat both of these costs is by using energy efficient appliances.
Choosing energy efficient appliances is a straight-forward endeavor thanks to government regulations requiring labeling to show energy usage and costs. In the US this is the EnergyGuide label and in Canada EnerGuide label; both of these labels will give you basically the same information. The labels show you the kilowatt/hour usage per year as well as how that particular appliance rates against other similar appliances on the market. This information allows you to compare appliances so you can make an informed decision when making your purchase.
The other designation to look for when buying appliances is the international Energy Star mark. This symbol is used to show that the item meets the highest standards of energy efficiency available on the market. Energy Star products will be the most energy efficient appliances but may cost more than their less efficient counterparts; be sure to take into account the reduced cost of operation.
In many places there are incentives for upgrading your appliances to Energy Star models. Some areas have government loans with low interest, tax breaks, or buy-back programs for old appliances. Some areas have tax credits primarily for upgrading in existing homes though some incentives are aimed primarily at new construction. Check out your government and power company's websites for details on what is available to you.
Remember that sometimes the newer, more efficient models can be more costly than other appliances. Take the time to figure in the difference in cost of operation as well as any offset you can get with tax credits or rebates on a more efficient version.
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