How to Read an EnergyGuide Label

Learn how EnergyGuide labels can help you choose an energy-efficient appliance.

EnergyGuide labels are a helpful tool for consumers to compare energy-efficiency ratings and cost savings when buying new appliances. If you're looking to save money by purchasing an energy-efficient appliance, make sure you understand how to read these labels.

Understanding EnergyGuide Labels

EnergyGuide labels are bright yellow with black lettering and provide guidance for using the information they contain.

  • The label for major appliances features the estimated annual energy consumption in kilowatt-hours per year (electric) or therms per year (natural gas).
  • The estimated yearly operating cost is provided toward the bottom of the label.

Each label also provides the following information:

  • The manufacturer, model number, type of appliance and capacity are listed at the top of the label.
  • The line scale in the middle of the label shows how that particular model compares in energy efficiency with other models on the market of comparable size and type. You will see a range from lowest to highest.
  • Estimated annual operating cost is shown near the bottom of the label. This energy cost is based on recent national average prices of electricity and/or natural gas, and assumes typical operating characteristics.

Federal law requires that EnergyGuide labels be placed on all new refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, dishwashers, clothes washers, room air conditioners, central air conditioners, heat pump, and furnaces and boilers.

EnergyGuide labels are not required on kitchen ranges, microwave ovens, clothes dryers, demand-type water heaters, portable space heaters and lights.

Actual savings may vary and will depend on various factors, including geographic location, weather conditions, equipment installed, usage rates and so forth. Completing multiple energy-saving measures will not necessarily result in cumulative savings.