News & Updates



By: Jessi Chapin

Bay County, Fla:

Any major appliance can run up a power bill, and with all of the ways to save, it’s hard to know if certain products make a difference. When it comes to making a purchase, many are taking their power bill into consideration.

“It’ll run me around $500 if I’m not careful,” said one shopper, Troy Braley, “And there ain’t too many people who can afford that.”

“The money that goes to Gulf Power,” said one beach rental owner Brian Robinson, “and the percentage that they went up on us, it’s a big deal.”

”With the economy what it is,” said Jim Lewis after recently installing new compact floresent light-bulbs, “obviously right now any money you can save is a good thing.”

From refrigerators, to washers and dryers, several major household devices are available in Energy Star versions. To be labeled Energy Star, an appliance must meet several qualifications for conserving energy that are tested by the federal government.

“One of the big factors is that they’ve got a higher efficiency compressor, they have more insulation within the cabinets itself,” said Appliance Sales Specialist Ken Lambeth, describing the difference between two seemingly-identical refrigerators.

”These will eventually if they last a lifetime so to speak,” he said of the Energy Star refrigerator, “they will eventually pay for themselves in savings. These [regular refrigerator] will never get better, they will only get worse as time goes by because of not having the energy efficiency.”

Using a Kill-o-watt meter, News13 put his words to the test to find out exactly how much wattage some appliances use, and what they could cost per month. Here are those results:

Regular Refrigerator – .20 KWH, or 144 KW/Month = $17.28
Energy Star Fridge – .12 KWH, or 86 KW/Month = $10.36
Difference = $6.92

Regular Window Air Conditioner – .16 KWH, or 3.84 KW/Month = $13.82
Energy Star Air Conditioner – .12 KWH, or 86 KW/Month = $10.36
Difference = $3.46

It’s not just appliances that come energy-efficient. Compact Floresent light-bulbs use about 12-14 watts for the same amount of light, saving a possible $3 a month.

Some, like Laurie Everheart, prefer to save in other ways.

“I didn’t care for them,” she said, “I felt they burnt out more quickly than the old traditional light-bulbs and that they were much brighter, I like the yellower look.”

Others say the products aren’t just energy-savers; they save big bucks.

”"We’ve replaced most of the lights in the house with the new energy-efficient floresent bulbs,” said Lewis, “That makes a difference.”

“I’ve knocked at least a hundred dollars off my electric bill,” said Braley, “That’s a good savings.”

Other products that aren’t Energy Star can still come with energy-saving features. Several newer thermostats, water heaters, and window air conditioners come with timers or automatic features that can regulate temperature as needed, saving in the long run.

To Braley, being energy efficient is no longer a luxury.

“I’ve always tried to be efficient,” he said, “but now you have to.”