Six tips for buying energy-efficient appliances


Tips for consumers shopping for energy-efficient washing machines and other appliances:

1. Do research in advance, including going to www.energystar.gov to learn about energy-efficient products and programs. Think about frequency of use, size of the space for the washer, and service support before making a purchase.

2. Watch for annual sales tax holidays that take place in more than a dozen states for energy-efficient and other products. Check the Federation of Tax Administrators' Web site to see if your state is among them; the direct link is www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales—holiday.html.

3. Look for the Energy Star label on product models, signifying they have the government's stamp of high energy efficiency.

4. Be wary of first-year models that may ultimately need to have kinks worked out — caution that applies to any product claiming breakthrough innovations.

5. Seek out rebates offered by some manufacturers and stores for Energy Star products, and check with your tax preparer to see whether there is a government tax credit.

6. In assessing the higher price for an energy-efficient washer, remember that there are effectively two price tags: the purchase price and the lifetime operating price, says Kristina Skierka, an energy-efficiency consultant.