December 19, 2014

Just How Much Energy is That Appliance Using?

My computer stays on through the week, only getting shut off on the weekend.  My answering machine and TV stay plugged in, their little red lights glowing in the night.  I do turn off the treadmill between uses and the DVD player too.

My energy habits are probably similar to many Americans.  If you’re wondering how much energy you’re wasting, or conversely, saving by turning appliances off, check out this energy calculator from GE:

This is a really cool tool that calculates  how much power each appliance consumes in watts or kilowatthours.  Alternatively, you can see how much each appliance costs to use in dollars, and how much it consumes in equivalent gallons of gas.

Some appliances are marked with a blue star indicating that an  EnergyStar model is available or click on the green star to see how much energy (and money) you’ll save with a new appliance.

Approved Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Programs

If you are wondering which Department of Energy (DOE) rebates are available in your state, just check out this interactive map.  There is also a simple table listing the individual states along with the total rebate dollars available, websites and phone numbers.

DOE has approved the appliance rebate programs for the states and territories linked or listed on this page as of April 27, 2010. This list and map will be updated as additional program details are available.  This DOE site is the only official DOE-sponsored Web site – beware of other unofficial sites.

Recall: Lennox Hearth Products Vent-Free Gas Logs and Fireplaces Due to Gas Leak and Fire Hazards

Name of product: Superior VFGL Vent-Free Gas Log Sets and VF Vent-Free Fireplaces

Units: About 5,700

Manufacturer: Lennox Hearth Products, of Nashville, Tenn.

Hazard: The front burners of vent-free gas log set fireplace inserts and the vent-free fireplaces can fail to ignite allowing gas to escape and posing a fire or explosion hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Lennox received two reports from installers of the log sets failing to light. No injuries were reported.

Description: The recalled products are Lennox Superior brand VFGL Log Sets and VF4000, VF5000 and VF6000 fireplaces. Log sets are comprised of ceramic-fiber logs with a dual gas burner system and are designed to be placed in a wood-burning fireplace or a ventless firebox enclosure. Fireplaces are comprised of log sets, a ventless firebox enclosure and accessories. Each product has a metal rating plate attached to the grate of the log sets or to the frame of the fireplaces containing the unit’s model number, serial number and other information. The following models are affected by this recall:

Vent-Free Gas Log Set Models

VFGL18 — MSN — 4
VFGL18 — MSP — 4
VFGL24 — MSN — 4
VFGL24 — MSP — 4
VFGL28 — MSN — 4
VFGL28 — MSP — 4
VFGL18 — VSN — 4
VFGL18 — VSP — 4
VFGL24 — VSN — 4
VFGL24 — VSP — 4
VFGL28 — VSN — 4
VFGL28 — VSP — 4

Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Models

VF4000 — CHN — 2
VF4000 — CHP — 2
VF4000 — CMN — 2
VF4000 — CMP — 2
VF5000 — CMN — 2
VF5000 — CMP — 2
VF6000 — CMN — 2
VF6000 — CMP — 2

Included in this recall are units with serial numbers starting with “6408C” through “6408M,” and those starting with “6409.” Units that had repairs made to the burner assembly between March 2008 and December 2009 are also included.

Sold by: Various fireplace and HVAC retailers and installers from March 2008 through December 2009 for approximately $540 to $775 for the log sets and $1,300 to $1,850 for the fireplaces.

Manufactured in: U.S.A.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled log sets and fireplaces and contact Lennox for information about how to arrange for a free inspection and repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, please contact Lennox Hearth Products at (800) 826-8546 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at http://www.lennoxhearthproducts.com


Getting Your Government Funded Appliance Rebate

The good news is  that the US Government’s appliance rebate program has finally begun.  The bad news is that you have a bit of footwork to do before you get it.

Under the federal program, the rebates can go to buyers of new central air conditioners, room air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, and water heaters with the Energy Star seal.  Also, it doesn’t matter how old your clunker appliance is, it needn’t be in working order and, in some states, such as Arizona and Florida, you won’t even need to trade it in.

The tricky part is that each state will run its program differently, deciding which of the possible products it will include in the program, when to start and stop offering rebates, the size of the rebates, and which residents will qualify. In Minnesota, for instance, only washers, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators are covered. The refrigerator rebate is worth up to $100 in Nebraska, but no more than $50 in Georgia. The Alaskan program is limited to residents receiving disability payments from the state or federal government. In Kansas and Oregon, rebates are restricted to low-income people. States have until February 2012 to allocate their rebate money, but the programs will likely expire long before then. Some will last only a week.

Eight states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin) have launched their appliance programs, at least for some products, to capitalize on President’s Weekend appliance sales. The rest are likely to rev up by May, many around Earth Day in April. You can find the rules for your state’s program at Energy Star Web site.

More details to be aware of courtesy of CBSNews.com:

Energy Star appliances can cost $50 to $100 more, on average, than ones that don’t. But the appliance should pay for itself over five or six years through savings on your utility bill. In some cases, your savings come faster. Replacing a washer made before 2000 with a new Energy Star model, for example, can save up to $135 a year, according to the Department of Energy.

• Only 55 percent of new major appliances have the Energy Star label. So you might not be able to get the rebate on the product you want to buy.

• You might not actually get cash. Although some states will issue rebate checks, many will instead give out prepaid cards issued by Visa or MasterCard.

• Unlike “Cash for Clunkers,” where dealers handled all the paperwork, in most states you have to deal with the forms to get your rebate. That means mailing in your receipt, along with proof of residency, a rebate form from the retailer or your state energy department web site, and usually proof that your clunker appliance was picked up.

• It’ll take roughly four to six weeks to get the rebate.

Before you shop:

1. Drill down into the details of your state’s plan. Some states have rigorous requirements about which products qualify, beyond the Energy Star stamp. Others are rolling out their programs in two phases.
Minnesota and Texas let consumers reserve rebates online or by calling a toll-free number about two weeks before they buy. Check online to see if your state has rebate funds left. Some state sites provide an up-to-date tally of the amount left in the kitty.

2. Make sure the retailer you plan to visit is participating. Some small dealers are sitting out because they’ve decided the program is too costly. In Georgia, online purchases won’t qualify.

3. Learn the precise rebate amount for the appliance you’ll buy. You may encounter unexpected twists. In New York’s “Great Appliance Swap-Out,” consumers get rebates for buying eligible appliances individually or in a bundle of three, where the rebate may be larger.

4. See if you’ll get a recycling bonus. Some states boost the rebate by $25 to $75 if you recycle your old appliance.

5. Ask about additional deals. There’s a good chance your new appliance is also eligible for a manufacturer’s rebate or store promotion, too. You may also be able to combine a state rebate with the federal one. Call your local utility to see if it is dangling rebates, too. Often, utilities offer $50 off new energy-conserving appliances. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a good place to do your research.

6. Apply for the rebate as soon as you can. Some retailers have in-store computer kiosks where customers can apply for rebates on the spot. In Georgia and New York, as soon as you’ve bought a qualifying appliance, you can reserve a rebate either online or by calling a toll-free number. Since states will halt their programs when their money runs out, you won’t want to conserve your energy when it comes to applying for rebates.

Recall: Dehumidifiers by LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following products. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Portable Dehumidifiers

Units: About 98,000

Manufacturer: LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co., of China

Hazard: The power connector for the dehumidifier’s compressor can short circuit, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: LG has received 11 reports of property damage incidents involving arcing, heat, smoke, including four fires that spread to the building structure and involved significant smoke/water damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves 30 pint portable dehumidifiers sold under the brand names in the chart below. The dehumidifiers are white with a red shut-off button, controls for fan speed and humidity control and a front-loading water bucket. “Goldstar” or “Comfort-Aire” is printed on the front. The model and serial numbers are printed on the interior of the dehumidifiers and can be viewed after the water bucket is removed.

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Goldstar GHD30Y7 611TAxx00001~08400
611TAxx08401~40600
612TAxx00001~20400
612TAxx21001~30600 Home Depot
Goldstar DH305Y7 612TAxx00001~00600
701TAxx00001~16800
702TAxx00001~03000 Wal-Mart
Comfort-Aire BHD-301-C 611TAxx00001~01697
612TAxx00001~04200
701TAxx00001~00578
710TAxx00001~00599 Heat Controller Inc.

Sold at: The Home Depot, Walmart and Heat Controller Inc. nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $140 and $150.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dehumidifier, contact LG to determine if it is included in the recall and return it to an authorized LG service center for a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact LG toll-free at (877) 220-0479 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. CT on Saturday for the location of an authorized LG service center for the repair, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.30pintdehumidifierrecall.com

dehumidifier
CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

Truth in Appliance Energy Labeling

Those yellow energy guide labels we all rely on to pick energy efficient appliances, have come under scrutiny from the US Department of Energy (DOE). As we wrote about in November, manufacturers covet the EnergyStar label and use the yellow sticker to entice buyers.

Those labels may not be as accurate as you think. A review of previous filings for the labels found instances of missing or incorrect information.

The DOE addressed the problem this month by giving manufacturers 30 days to provide accurate information on their products’ energy use. Also, it promised to take a tougher stance to enforce energy-efficiency standards.

The agency said makers of such products as refrigerators, dishwashers and air conditioners have until Jan. 8 to provide the information, which is primarily used to certify that the appliances meet minimum energy-efficiency standards

Recall:Goodman Company Reannounces Recall of Air Conditioner/Heat Pump Units Due to Fire Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product.

Name of Product: Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner/Heat Pump (PTACs) Units

Units: About 30,000; previously recalled in August 2008

Manufacturer:
Goodman Company, LP, of Houston, Texas

Hazard: The power cords on the PTACs can overheat, posing a burn or fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: Goodman has received eleven reports of smoke or fire associated with the PTAC’s power cords. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recall includes 5.0 kW Amana-brand, Comfort-Aire-brand and Century-brand Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner units with model numbers PTxxx3x50xx (Amana) and EKTxxx-150x (Comfort-Aire and Century) and serial numbers 0702112056 through 0804237539. The model and serial numbers are located on the control board plate found under the PTAC unit’s front cover.

Sold at: Goodman and heating and cooling equipment dealers nationwide from February 2007 through June 2008 for between $700 and $1,000.

Manufactured in:
United States

Remedy: Consumers should contact Goodman to receive a free replacement power cord. Commercial and institutional owners will be contacted directly and will install the power cord.

Consumer Contact:
For additional information regarding Amana-brand units, contact Goodman at (800) 366-0339 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday; for Comfort-Aire and Century-brand units call (877) 442-4482 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday; or visit www.regcen.com/ptaccord for all products.

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

Shopping for an Air Conditioner?

Shopping for a new air conditioner? maybe one of these. Shop safely with Appliance.Net