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Appliance purchasing tips

If you’re in the market for a major appliance, such as a front-loading clothes washer, fridge or freezer, look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol. Energy savings vary from one appliance to another but typically an ENERGY STAR® certified model is 10 to 50% more efficient than a conventional model.

Save water

  • Front-loading clothes washers can cut water use by up to half. By purchasing an ENERGY STAR® certified front-loading clothes washer, you could save up to 75 litres of water per wash. This translates to savings of over 28,500 litres of water per year.

Buying a new fridge

  • Decide if you really need features like a cold water or automatic ice dispenser. These can increase electricity consumption by as much as 20% compared to similar models without these extras. These features will cost you more when you buy the fridge and then again when you pay your electricity bill each month.
  • Determine the size of fridge that you need and don’t go any larger. A family of 4 needs between 16.5 and 17.5 cubic feet, and a family of 6 might choose a 20 cubic feet model.
  • Buy an ENERGY STAR® certified appliance.


  • Appliances often contain materials and components that are recognized as harmful to the environment such as Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). We encourage you to protect our environment and to recycle your old appliances in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Check with your local municipality for recycling options within your community.

Reading an EnerGuide label

Another guide that can help you make an energy-wise choice when shopping for a major appliance is the EnerGuide label. While the EnerGuide label does not mean that an appliance is actually energy efficient, it does show how much energy an appliance can use in a year of service. It also makes it easy to compare the energy efficiency of each model to others of the same size and class.

EnerGuide label graphic highlighting four energy consumption/efficiency areas comparing the appliance to similar models.
  1. The annual energy consumption of the appliance in kilowatt-hours. The lower the number, the better.
  2. The energy consumption indicator shows you how this model compares to others in its class. The bar below the indicator gives the energy efficiency range for this class of appliance. The further the indicator is to the left end of the scale, the better.
  3. This bar shows you the energy consumption of the most and least efficient appliances in this class. In this case, the most efficient comparable model consumes 564 kWh per year while the least efficient uses 972 kWh per year.
  4. This tells you the type and capacity range of similar models compared.

© The EnerGuide label and text produced with permission of the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, 2003.