Buying refrigerators in 2014 - be careful with energy ratings!

JHZR2August 31, 2014

Were shopping new refrigerators in August of 2014. I noted a wide discrepancy in the ratings of some refrigerators (Samsungs) from others.

It turns out that there is a new EnergyGuide label (more black on yellow), and this relates back to new and different energy test protocols.

These new tests are more realistic supposedly, and reflect more realistic energy use.

Walking through Home Depot and Lowes, it turns out that only Samsung is providing units with the new labels. So if shopping and looking at energy, you cannot look at the labeling with the two different styles of label, and compare side by side.

Interestingly, Consumer's reports claims that they do their own efficiency tests to identify operating costs, and they differ from what the energy guide labels claim. Interestingly, some of what I've seen on the old labels is similar to what CR says,and some are vastly different. So I don't know who/what to trust, but the values are changing, as are the tests, so just beware.

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How many of you are actually basing which appliance you buy by how much energy they might use ?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 11:57PM
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>>How many of you are actually basing which appliance you buy by how much energy they might use ?>>

We did, because an immense amount of sun pouring through our (remodeled) windows killed our old frig quickly.

I specifically looked for an insulated energy-efficient refrig, and our electric bill dropped the next month by $25 with no other changes. HUGE difference, more than I was expecting. And it has lasted longer than the old one, so we definitely got our $$$ worth from paying attention to energy efficiency.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 1:56PM
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As I recall reading somewhere, one disparity in past energy ratings was that testing in some cases was done with the ice maker turned off.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Ditto. According to CR, when they checked the power used by the LG (and GE) FD fridge with the icemaker in the door, the power usage doubled.

Not that I'm a big fan of CR, but IIRC they turn on the ice maker and put stuff in the fridge/freezer before measuring the power being used.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 4:02PM
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Energy ratings factored not in my fridge decision.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 4:03PM
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On top of the estimated usage, be cautious of their calculations used to determine the yearly cost of the appliance. I noticed that they estimated the cost per kw @ I think 10 cents or so. Well it's not 2000 anymore and it's more like 21-24 cents now. So if this is important to you, do your own calculations based on your own utilities price per kw!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 4:48PM
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"Well it's not 2000 anymore and it's more like 21-24 cents now"

Huh? Most Americans pay much closer to $0.1/kWh. Only an unlucky minority, mainly in California and the Northeast pay even close to what you say. Even so, my state consistently shows up in the top 10 for most expensive energy prices and my electric is still under $0.2/kWh. Utility prices vary greatly throughout the country and the world. Hawaii is over $0.35/kWh.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 21:06

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Maybe "most Americans" pay in the range of 10c, but here in San Jose the top rate tier, which we always hit, is more like 34c per kWhr. At my wife's ski condo, rates are even higher (just replaced a 30 year old fridge there last week -- payback will under 3 yrs).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:11PM
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Not surprised at all by that.

So, should we base the energy guide stickers on San Jose or most Americans? I agree with the rates they are currently using on the EnergyGuide labels.

However IMO we should just leave the dollar amounts off the tags in the first place. There will always be people who look at them without using their brain and think that is how much it will actually cost to run. Not only do energy costs vary - energy usage of the same appliances varies greatly in different conditions. The energy stickers should not contain any "absolute" values - only relative ones to allow the shopper to compare with other models. Fridge power usage will vary based on ice maker usage, door opening frequency, and climate. DW/washer consumption will vary based on frequency of use.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 21:33

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:32PM
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The usage value and cost is just like the EPA MPG values they give when you buy a car.

Maybe some ignore it, but then again, there are plenty of folks who gripe when gas gets too expensive.

It's worth a look and some consideration, at least if there are a few models of interest that one is deciding upon. Of course acquisition cost can effect and energy savings, but there are lots of dynamics.

Essentially, the new test is apparently more realistic to the typical usage of a refrigerator. Yes, climate, percentage filled, how often it is opened, ice use, etc all make a big difference. But a test, with standardized process and conditions, are the only way that one can truly compare without other variables. It's a fine way to do things. And the fact that the test is done that way to minimize external variables to have an apples to apples comparison is fine by me.

The dollars don't bother me either. Anyone with half a brain can calculate cost at their electric rate.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 10:10PM
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