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Major household appliances


Your refrigerator uses electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and that is a good reason to look for the ENERGY STAR symbol to make sure you are purchasing a top energy performer.

ENERGY STAR qualified household appliances use less energy than conventional ones, offer equal or superior performance and save you money – sometimes a lot of money. Refrigerators are big energy consumers in the home, so it pays to shop around.

If you were to replace your 2000 model refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR qualified 2009 model, you would save more than 283 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy and about $28 in electricity costs per year. This equates to a savings of $509 over the lifetime of the appliance.

Check the temperature settings on your refrigerator and freezer. Keep the refrigerator temperature between 1.7°C (35°F) and 3.3°C (38°F) and keep the freezer compartment at -18°C (0°F) for maximum efficiency and food safety.

The first step when buying a refrigerator is to select the right size (capacity) for your needs. Then look for the ENERGY STAR symbol to lock in long-term energy savings.

ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers are the top energy performers in their class. Superior design, better insulation and high-efficiency compressors help to improve energy efficiency. Most use more than 50 percent less energy than models manufactured in the 1990s.

Of course, you will save money with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model only if you get rid of your old refrigerator. Moving it to the basement or garage defeats the purpose of buying an energy-efficient replacement model. Think of it this way – you won’t be plugging your old refrigerator into the wall, you will be plugging it into your wallet.

Average anual electricity use of new refrigerators (in kWh/year)
  1990 1997 2001 2009
Top-mounted (16.5 – 18.4 cu.ft.) 1044 664 572 439
ENERGY STAR qualified 440 382

ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers are at least 9 percent more economical to operate than those that meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard. New ENERGY STAR criteria that will come into effect in late 2011 will require dishwashers to be even more efficient.


Today’s dishwashers are much more energy-efficient than those of past years. Believe it or not, ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers actually use less hot water than when you wash the dishes by hand.

If your dishwasher is at the end of its useful life, look for the ENERGY STAR symbol when shopping for a new model. It is your assurance of a machine that far exceeds the minimum requirement for energy efficiency in Canada and that will deliver energy and cost savings for as long as you own it.

Eighty-five percent of the electricity required to operate a dishwasher is used to heat the water – so the less water a machine uses per cycle, the better.

Always let your dishes air dry (turn off the “heat dry” option).

ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers enjoy the benefits of advanced technological features and use less energy and less hot water. Some dishwashers feature “intelligent sensors” that determine the length of the wash cycle and the level of hot water required for the load of dishes to be washed. They may also be equipped with a built-in heating element to raise the water temperature.

Average anual electricity use of new dishwashers (in kWh/year)
  1990 1997 2001 2009
Standard 1026 649 634 325
ENERGY STAR qualified 534 322

Clothes washer

In the laundry room

Surveys show that the average family does approximately seven loads of laundry each week. That amounts to a lot of hot water, a lot of energy and a lot of money.

Through superior design, 2011 ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers help you save money on utility bills by using 59 percent less energy than those that meet Canada’s minimum energy efficiency standard and 35 to 50 percent less water than conventional models. And they get your clothes just as clean!

ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers feature:

Using the cold wash option (high-efficiency detergents are formulated for cold-water washing) will mean even more savings from your ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer.

  • sensors that prevent energy waste by matching water needs to the size of each load
  • advanced high-speed motors that reduce the length of spin cycles and remove more water from clothes, so less time and energy are needed for drying

Both front- and top-loading clothes washers can qualify to bear the ENERGY STAR symbol. Whatever your preference, make sure your next clothes washer is ENERGY STAR qualified, to help ease the burden of all that laundry.

Average anual electricity use of new clothes washers (kWh/year)
  1990 1997 2001 2009
Standard 1218 930 905 332
ENERGY STAR qualified 304 251

Savings generated by purchasing an ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer can be $113 over its life expectancy (14 years). Not only that, but as the cost of electricity increases, so does your savings.

Clothes washers comparison
standard model
qualified model
Annual electricity use 332 kWh 251kWh
Annual energy cost 332 × $0.10 = $33.20 251 × $0.10 = $25.10
Lifetime energy cost $33.20 × 14 = $464.80 $25.10 × 14 = $351.40


Currently, there are no ENERGY STAR performance levels for clothes dryers. When shopping for a dryer, look for the lowest EnerGuide rating.

If you are buying a new dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor. The machine will turn off automatically when the laundry is dry.

Water coolers use about the same amount of energy as compact refrigerators.

Water coolers are becoming common in Canadian homes. Some models consume significantly more energy than others to deliver the same result. To avoid pouring money down the drain, look for the ENERGY STAR symbol when buying or leasing a water cooler. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR symbol, water coolers must meet strict technical requirements that place them at “the top of the class” in terms of energy performance.

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