How to Compare Old & New Appliance Energy Ratings

If you are thinking of purchasing a new appliance, you may want to compare the energy rating of the new appliance with your old appliance. You may recoup the purchase price of the appliance and save money in a relatively short time if the new appliance is significantly more energy efficient than the older one. You can also reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment by using more energy efficient appliances.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen and paper
  • Calculator
  • Clamp-on ammeter (optional)
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    • 1

      Find the wattage for the old appliance; this is usually on the nameplate or stamped on the back or bottom of the appliance.

    • 2

      If the old appliance does not list the wattage, you can calculate it if you know the current used, in amperes. The amperes might be listed on the appliance if the wattage is not. Otherwise, attach a clamp-on ammeter (available at electronic stores) to one of the wires on the appliance. Turn the appliance on and measure the current flowing through it. Multiply the current by the number of volts used by the appliance. Most appliances use 120 volts, except for large appliances like clothes dryers and stoves, which use 240 volts. The wattage = amperes x volts.

    • 3

      Use the following equation to calculate daily consumption: (wattage --- hours used per day) ÷ 1000 watts/kilowatt = kilowatt-hour (kWh) use per day. For refrigerators, divide the number of hours it is plugged in by three to get the hours used per day. (Reference 1)

    • 4

      Estimate the number of days per year that you use the appliance and multiply that by the daily use to get the annual kilowatt-hour use.

    • 5

      Check the Energy Guide label on the new appliance. Almost all new appliances are required to have an Energy Guide label, which is bright yellow and black. The label has an estimate of how much energy the appliance will use in a year and a scale that compares it with similar models of that appliance. For electric appliances, the energy use is listed in kilowatt-hours per year. Some new appliances, i.e. stove ranges and ovens and electronic devices, such as computers and televisions, do not have Energy Guide labels, so you will have to calculate their energy use the same way as for older appliances.

    • 6

      You can also check the energy rating of many new appliances online. For appliances that meet the Energy Star criteria, see: The U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star Program, home appliances

Tips & Warnings

  • New appliances that exceed minimum energy efficiency standards also have an Energy Star label. Stove ranges, ovens and clothes dryers are not included in the Energy Star program.

  • Some appliances list several wattage numbers, which represent the power drawn at different settings, and your actual wattage will depend on the settings that you use.

  • You can find the average energy use for a number of home appliances online at: The U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Your Home

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