Buying new appliances can be one of the most satisfying phases of a remodeling project, but it requires a fair amount of time and attention. Each type of appliance is available in an almost startling variety of types, styles and shapes; selecting the right models for your kitchen involves balancing the cost, performance, energy efficiency, convenience and style of each model you’re considering.
Since most appliances come in a few standard sizes, you may be able to plan your layout without knowing the exact brands or models you’ll be installing. However, some appliances require structural modifications, so it’s necessary to make some preliminary decisions early in the planning process. The appliances in a typical U.S. home are responsible for about 20% of the household’s energy con- sumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Purchasing energy-wise appliances makes sense for your budget as well for the planet, and the essential information is easily accessible these days.
Yellow Energy Guide labels posted on all refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers sold in the U.S. provide an estimated annual operating cost and indicate the cost of operating the models with the highest and lowest annual operating cost. Comparison shopping for efficiency as well as features and price is greatly simplified by the wealth of information available on the internet. Sources throughout this section list websites for major manufacturers; many buying guides and retail outlets have websites as well.