Energy efficiency is a key factor to keep in mind when purchasing appliances but the energy efficiency of similar appliances can vary significantly. It is usually more cost effective to purchase appliances with high efficiencies. Determining and comparing the energy efficiency of different models is usually easy, because federal regulations require many types of appliances to display EnergyGuide labels.
A label or energy-use information in the product literature is required for furnaces, refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, freezers, water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, room and central air conditioners, heat pumps, and fluorescent lamp ballasts. EnergyGuide labels indicate either the annual estimated cost of operating the system or a standardized energy efficiency ratio.
An often overlooked consideration in the purchase of a new appliance is the manufacturers warranty. The longer the warranty, the longer you won't have to face any unexpected bills. Don't be mislead by commercials, all appliances break down sometime, even expensive ones. If you have required service in the past and found the service company reliable, find out what brands they do factory service for. If you buy one of those brands, you'll be able to deal with the same servicer for your new purchase. You can avoid having to deal with someone new or two different service companies, should problems arise.