Wednesday, June 30, 2004

In hot water

If you've shopped for a major appliance, you're probably familiar with the Federally required EnergyGuide sticker. It is hard to miss, being about the size of a normal sheet of paper and being a nice fluorescent yellow.

The layout of these things are standardized, with a space for the energy usage of the model you're looking at, and a horizontal line graph showing the lowest energy use and highest energy use among all comparable models. And, somewhere on this line is an arrow giving you a visual indication of where this particular model is on that spectrum.

Seems pretty straightforward.

Guess again.

My Dad's water heater is in the laundry room/lavatory which gives me occasion to look at it from time to time, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I got to looking at it the last time I was there and noticed something peculiar. The energy usage number was 4993. The minimum and maximum usages for comparable models was 4624 and 5109 respectively. Which would put this model at about the 76th percentile or about 3/4 of the way from left to right on the graph. So, you'd expect to see something like this
_______________X______
Instead, the graph on the water heater looks like this
________X_____________
Which indicates to me that this is one of the MORE energy efficient models, not one of the LEAST. (Must have been using a reverse logarithmic scale to get it to come out that way. Well, yeah? Doesn't everybody?)

A marketing tactic I will be aware of the next time I need to make a major purchase.

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