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How are household appliances classified?

One of the most profitable investments when we buy household appliances is to opt for those with the lowest energy consumption. Taking into account the intensive energy use of many electrical appliances, the savings on electricity bills is significant. In addition, from 2021, the system will be modified for the third time in order to provide clearer information for the consumer.

Since 1995, the Energy Label has been informing Spanish consumers about the electricity consumption of many electrical appliances in a way that is standardised to the rest of the European Union countries. A simple and visual way to compare the energy consumption of appliances with equivalent functions.

But there have been many changes in these 25 years. The main one is the increasing commitment by manufacturers to search for more efficient and lower consumption appliances. These improvements have also affected energy labelling, with more information being added over the years and, as we will see, new categories, making the system richer, but also somewhat more complex.

 

Understanding energy labelling today

The main element in energy labelling is a classification system with seven categories, from the letter A to the letter G, with A being the most energy efficient and G being the lowest. In other words, ordered from the least to the most energy consumption.

Therefore, class A appliances are the most efficient, classes B and C have average consumption and from letter D they are the most inefficient in terms of financial expenditure. In addition to this classification by letters, it is complemented by a colour scale. Therefore, A, the most energy efficient, is dark green and G, the worst in terms of consumption, is red, with the ones in between being yellow and orange.

This labelling is mandatory throughout the European Union for refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, electric ovens and light sources, although there are many more electrical appliances that include it.

A change was added a decade ago. As the greatest improvement effort was focused on the most efficient home appliances, those in class A, three additional categories were created within this group: A+++, the one with the highest efficiency within class A, A++ and A+ home appliances.

Another change is that the texts accompanying this label, which provided additional information, were replaced by pictograms. Therefore, in addition to annual energy consumption, additional relevant information in terms of efficiency is also added to this labelling in a simple and graphic way. This includes other expenses such as water in washing machines and dishwashers or storage capacity in refrigerators and freezers based on standardised test results over 24 hours.

However, for this information to be useful to the consumer it has to be accessible. For this reason, not only is the existence of the label important, it is also mandatory that it be displayed in a visible place on each appliance put on sale, either in a physical establishment or online. This allows the consumer to quickly identify the energy efficiency of the appliance and to compare different models.

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The new energy efficiency label

This label format will change in the coming months. Three years ago, in August 2017, EU Regulation 2017/1369 on Labelling of Energy-Related Products came into force, which fully affects the energy labelling classification of household appliances, mainly in order to make it simpler and clearer for the consumer.

Specifically, the most significant change is a return to the first model. Therefore, the scale from A (more efficient) to G (less efficient) is maintained, but eliminating the subcategories +, ++, and +++ that classified the efficiency of the higher category. Now there will only be seven categories clearly divided by letters and colours.

Consumption data is also customised by type of appliance. For example, in refrigerators with intensive use, the consumption per unit of time will be reflected, but in washing machines and dishwashers it will be presented for wash cycles (100 washes). It also includes information related to the duration of ecological programmes with lower energy and water consumption in washing machines, washer-dryers and dishwashers.

From November 2020, this labelling will start to be used in parallel to the existing one (although not visible to the customer), while its full implementation will be introduced progressively. Therefore, in March 2021, the new labels for dishwashers, washing machines, washer-dryers and refrigerators should be visible at all points of sale. In September 2021, they will be implemented for lamps and light bulbs and in 2022 for air conditioners and dryers.

It must be taken into account that the change implies recalculating the scale and maintaining or lowering the ratings which may lead to customers having a negative perception. For example, an appliance that is currently classified as A+++ will remain at the top, but with a “grade” of A, while others previously assigned letter A will go down to B or C. It is, therefore, important that time and effort is spent to ensure consumers fully understand this new classification.

But the objective is clear, that consumers can choose with much clearer and more accessible information and understand which appliances will lead to lower energy consumption and long-term savings.

Comparison of Electricity and Gas Tariffs

You don't need to adapt to Endesa's tariffs because they adapt to you. If you go to our catalogue you can compare the different tariffs for yourself. Or if you prefer, you can answer a few questions and we will take care of comparing all the different electricity and gas tariffs and then make a customised recommendation.

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