It seems that every company on the market claims to have energy efficient products that can lower your bills. How many times have you been walking through the store and you see the claims of “lowering your heating bill” or “eco-friendly dishwasher”? Just because an appliance company might claim to be “energy efficient” that does not mean it is necessarily true.

Every appliance is different and every appliance has a different rating scale. The good news is that the United States Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection agency have started working with Energy Star to label products when they are energy efficient thus protecting you from .

The Energy Star label states that the products either exceed federal energy consumption standards (normally by at least 15 percent or more) or they have energy saving features built into them. All products that have the Energy Star label are energy efficient products made to save you money and save the environment.

All products have different types of ratings and rates. When shopping for a new energy efficient product make sure you check the labels for the corresponding rating.

Central Air Conditioner:  SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is the measure that is used to rate efficiency. The higher the number the more energy efficient the unit is try and look for a unit with a SEER of 12 or more.

Washing Machine:  EF (Energy Factor) indicates the number of complete cycles a washer will operate while using one kilowatt-hour of electricity. The current federal standard for energy efficient washers is an EF of 1.18, while Energy Star washers require an EF of 2.5.

Dishwashers:  EF (Energy Factor) indicates the number of complete cycles a dishwasher will complete while using one-kilowatt hour of electricity. Dishwashers that qualify for the Energy Star label have an EF of 0.52 or greater.

Refrigerators and Freezers:  The labels indicate the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity the appliance will use in one year of operation. The smaller the number, the more efficient the appliance and lower your bills.

In addition to saving you money every month, buying certified Energy Star appliances can also give you a tax credit at the end of the year. To find out if your new appliances make the cut check out here for a complete list and details and to see if you qualify. Buying energy efficient appliances will help reduce your carbon footprint and will also lower your water bill and electric bill.