Energy-Efficient Kitchen Appliances

When shopping for an energy-efficient kitchen appliance, three components should be considered, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): repair and maintenance costs, purchase price, and operating costs. To help determine the efficiency of a kitchen appliance, the FTC has an Appliance Labeling Rule requiring manufacturers to label certain appliances with the now familiar yellow-and-black Energy Guide label. This label is found on dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers. The Energy Star logo is another way to determine if an appliance is energy efficient.

  1. Energy Star Rating

    • Energy Star-rated appliances are usually the most efficient. The Energy Star label is a creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Department of Energy, to assist consumers in determining how to save money and reduce air pollution when shopping for products. This logo can be found on refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers.


    • Energy Star refrigerators must use 20 percent less energy than models without the Energy Star logo. Additionally, manual-defrost refrigerators are usually more energy efficient than automatic defrost models. However, this is only true if the refrigerator is defrosted when ice buildup is more than 1/4 inch. Replacing an old refrigerator is one of the biggest contributions you can make to conserve energy and lower electric bills, according to EarthEasy. The most efficient refrigerator models have fewer accessories. Water dispensers and icemakers use excessive energy. The auto-defrost feature uses heat to speed defrosting, and results in lower overall efficiency. The most efficient models are 16 to 20 cubic feet, with a top or bottom freezer, rather than side-by-side models.


    • An independent freezer model with the Energy Star logo uses 10 percent less energy than a non-qualified model. A freezer purchased before 1993 costs an extra $35 annually to operate, according to Energy Star. If you purchased a freezer in the 1980s, you are spending an extra $70 annually to operate it. Improved compressors and insulation make today's freezers far more energy efficient.


    • Dishwashers built before 1994 waste more than 10 gallons of water during each cycle compared to new models that are Energy Star qualified. The cost of operating the older model is an extra $40 per year. Dishwashers with an "energy save" or "light wash" feature use less water by operating for a shorter period of time. The "air dry" option on certain models uses a circulation fan and less power than models with "heat dry" modes.


    • Stoves with induction cooktops use 90 percent of the energy they produce, compared to only 65 percent for an electric range and 55 percent for a gas range. Gas stoves with an electronic ignition use about 40 percent less energy than stoves with pilot lights that remain on. Self-cleaning ovens are more energy efficient because they are better insulated. The Energy Guide label requirement does not apply to kitchen ranges.

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  • Photo Credit kitchen image by Rich Johnson from

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