This easy-to-read guide may help you understand how appliances
are rated for efficiency, what the ratings mean, and what to look
for while shopping for new appliances.
| Natural Gas
| AFUE is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
rating. The AFUE measures the seasonal or annual efficiency.
For ENERGY STAR® products, 90 is the AFUE rating.
|| Size is one of the most important factors affecting the
efficiency of the AFUE. Too large a system costs more and
operates inefficiently. Bigger is not always better! Have a
professional assess your needs and recommend the type and size
of system you should purchase.
| Room Air
| EER is the Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher
the EER, the more efficient the unit is.
ENERGY STAR® units are among the most energy-efficient
products and exceed minimum federal standards by at least
| Two major decisions should guide your purchase. Buy a
correctly sized unit*! Buy an
If the room is very sunny, increase capacity by 10%. If
the unit is for a kitchen, increase the capacity by 4,000 Btu
| Central Air
| SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.
SEER rates the efficiency during the cooling season. Look for a
SEER rating of 12 or above.
|| Air conditioners that bear the ENERGY STAR® label are
at least 20% more efficient than new air conditioners that meet
the federal minimum standards for efficiency and may be twice
as efficient as some existing systems. Contact a professional
for advice on sizing a central air system.
| SEER indicates cooling efficiency. HSPF
is the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor and indicates
|| If you live in a cool climate, look for a heat pump with
a high HSPF. If you purchase an ENERGY STAR® heat pump, you
are getting a product that is in the top 25% for efficiency.
Contact a professional for advice on purchasing air-to-air heat
| Refrigerators and
| Look for the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) label on the
appliance to tell you how much electricity, in kilowatt-hours
(kWh) a particular model will use in one year. The smaller the
number, the less energy it uses.
|| Look for an "energy saver" switch on models
with the freezer on top. When buying a frost-free refrigerator,
find one with an energy-efficient option. Refrigerators with
freezers on top are more efficient than those with freezers on
the side. Look for heavy door hinges, which create a good door
seal. ENERGY STAR®-labeled units exceed federal standards
by at least 20%.
| EF is the Energy Factor. This number represents
the number of complete cycles that a dishwasher will operate
while using one kilowatt-hour of electricity. ENERGY STAR®
dishwashers have an EF of 0.52 or greater, 13% better than
current federal standards.
|| Look for features that will reduce water use, such as
booster heaters and smart controls. Ask how many gallons of
water the dishwasher uses during different cycles. Dishwashers
that use the least amount of water will cost the least to
|| Look for: a thermostat that allows you to easily use two
separate programs; an "advanced recovery" feature
that can be programmed to reach the desired temperature at a
specific time; a hold feature that temporarily overrides the
setting without deleting preset programs. Look for the ENERGY
| EF stands for Energy Factor. The EF is the number
of complete cycles that a clothes washer will operate while
using one kilowatt-hour of electricity. ENERGY STAR® units
must have an EF of 2.5 or more above the current federal
standard of 1.18
|| Look for the following design features that help clothes
washers cut water usage: front-loading design, water level
controls, "suds-saver" features, spin cycle
adjustment, and large capacity. For double the efficiency, buy
an ENERGY STAR® unit.
| Hot Water
| EF is the Energy Factor rating the overall
efficiency of the heater. The FHR is the First Hour Rating of
the system, which measures the maximum hot water the heater
will deliver in the first hour of use from a cold start.
|| Buy a water heater with a thick insulating shell. If you
want hot water fast, the FHR rating will be important to you.
Sizing is important call your local utility for advice.