ENERGY STAR Appliances Add ‘Most Efficient’ Category

(At the risk of sounding pretentious) My beloved theory of chase and flight posits a privileged class of people whose behaviors and tastes subordinate others “chase,” thus motivating the former to run — fast.

What does this have to do with appliances? Think of commercial-grade appliances and then look at the stainless steel kitchen package we sell for $1499 (through Sept. 5!).

Same goes for energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR was created by The Man in 1992 to encourage the purchase and manufacture of energy-efficient home products through a voluntary program labeling the most-efficient products.

Think Studio 54 for dishwashers.

But now that ENERGY STAR is old enough to vote and buy cigarettes, entry to the club is less exclusive; 75% of dishwashers qualified as ENERGY STAR by 2009 standards.

Says Consumer Reports:

It’s good news that products have become more energy efficient. But when many or most of the products in a category qualify for the Energy Star, it makes it harder, not easier, for consumers to identify the truly exceptional products.

It would seem the manufacturers won this chase, until ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient program was launched this year.

The 2011 efficiency clique calls out the best in four categories, including clothes washers and refrigerators.

Here’s a sampling of the best washers and refrigerators:

LG 3.9 cu. ft. True Steam Washer in Cherry Red (#WM3360HRCA)

Not only is it sexy, this LG washer kills allergens, can maintain cleaning performance without heating the water and has a 15-minute wash option for us procrastinators. And it’s also on sale through Labor Day.

Frigidaire 4.2 cu. ft. Affinity Washer with Ready Steam (#FAFS4272LW)

This Frigidaire steam washer offers a little more capacity, NSF certified cleaning power and power saver cycle that apparently reduces energy use by 60%.

Frigidaire Affinity 4.4 cubic foot washer with Ready Steam (#FAFS4474)

This Frigidaire washer is the big sister to the previous (more capacity) plus an allergen cycle.

Electrolux 5.1 cu. ft. Perfect Steam Washer (#EWFLS70JSS)

This Electrolux steam washer also is NSF certified plus it fit the most clothes in one cycle and it has the fastest wash and dry time (if you have the dryer: 15 and 14 minutes, respectively).

And refrigerators: there were only two and there’s practically the same, save for depth. One will stick out from your cabinets, the other will sit back in line with them and set you back an additional $400.

LG cabinet-depth French-door refrigerator (#LFC21776ST)

LG's French Door Refrigerator (#LFC25766ST)

The Great Minnesota Appliance Sale

While we might not be “at” the Fair — as far as having a booth or being in the Grandstand — Warners’ Stellian annual State Fair appliance sale, Savings on a Stick, is a big one for us.

Not only do the Warners have a storied history with the Minnesota State Fair, but we also have some of our best deals (through Labor Day).

Because I’m a notorious spiller (and when are stains more apropos than during fair time?), I’m going to play favorites and talk laundry.

You can replace your washer and dryer for as little as $699 (which includes delivery, re-installation and recycling of your old units in the Twin Cities metro) with this Amana laundry pair.

But the smartest move is to upgrade to a front load washer and dryer — which tend to offer more capacity while using less water and energy. Energy Star washers can make up for the cost of the dryer in energy savings over their estimated lifetime. Plus, this Frigidaire washer and dryer pair is $300 off right now.

My personal favorite laundry feature, though, is steam. You can get the cleaning power in you washer (plus some more capacity) and the refreshing capabilities in your dryer for a few hundred more, starting with this Frigidaire steam washer and steam dryer.

If you happened to see us at the Eco Experience building in the Common Cottage exhibit on Sunday, you probably were lucky enough to score a $50 off coupon. In fact, there might still be some left if you hurry…

Hard Water Wastes Your Energy and Detergent

If you’re not ecstatic about the performance of your dishwasher and/or washer, don’t immediately blame your machine. There could be something in the water.

Using a water softener can cut detergent use in washers and dishwashers by more than half and lower washing machine temperatures from hot to cold, as shown by two independent studies released in the last two years.

Less detergent and cold water achieved the same stain removal in washing machines using softened water as double the detergent and hot water in hard water. And dishwashers using softened water needed less than half the detergent if used in areas having very hard water (Minnesota is among areas with the hardest water), while achieving the same results.

Plus, the study showed that untreated hard water can cause significant efficiency losses and added costs in water heating – up to 48% in some cases. In addition, hard water was found to rapidly lead to clogged shower heads, in some cases possibly as soon as a year and a half.

After just one week of constant testing with hard water, more than three-fourths of shower head nozzles became clogged, according to laboratory results. Shower heads using softened water, meanwhile, performed nearly as well as on the day they were installed.

If it sounds like you have hard water, our local guys, Water Doctors, can diagnose your water and if necessary, customize a water treatment system for your home.

Energy Saving Tips for Appliances

The biggest step toward making your house energy efficient is choosing Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances offer 10-50% energy savings compared to standard, new appliances.

Aside from buying energy efficient appliances, try these energy saving tips.

Ditch the Rinse

Stop rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, which wastes up to 20 gallons of water. Energy Star dishwashers use only 4 gallons of water per load on average.

Turn Down the Heat

Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

Use Your Senses

Use the moisture sensor option on your dryer, which automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry, saving energy and reducing wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

Right Size

Choose the right-sized pot on stove burners. Keep the pot covered to cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.

Rearrange the Kitchen

Move your refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher or heat vents. Make sure the door seals are airtight. Also, keep your refrigerator and freezer stocked to hold temperature better and operate more efficiently.

Cook Smarter

Microwaves only use about half as much electricity as regular ovens, so using them is already a smart alternative. But you can save even more energy if you defrost food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave.

What are your best energy saving tips? Share them in the comments!

Warners’ Stellian Earns Sustainable St. Paul Award

Saving 20% sounds like a good deal to lots of us. Save half? Even better, right?

So you can bet that around here we get pretty excited about the fact that we save about 75% of the waste we generate from entering landfills.

And we’re not the only ones pumped up about our appliance packaging recycling program.

Recognize the guy on the left?

Left, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman Bill Warner, Carla Warner, Jeff Warner, Zach Shields and Robert Warner. At right is our Councilmember Lee Helgen.

Just in time for Earth Day, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman honored Warners’ Stellian with a Sustainable St. Paul Award for our efforts to reduce waste and recycle.

So, when you do your part to reduce your environmental impact by using Energy Star appliances, we do ours, by savings hundreds of tons of packaging from clogging our local landfills. Thanks to all our customers for their support in helping us make this crucial commitment.