NORTHBROOK, Ill., Dec. 15, 2009 - Energy efficiency is the No. 1 attribute consumers seek when purchasing new home appliances, according to a new survey from Underwriters Laboratories (UL). More than half of American homeowners (57 percent) ranked energy efficiency as one of their top two considerations when purchasing new appliances.
In the coming months, many consumers will consider purchasing new appliances thanks to the U.S. government's $300 million rebate program encouraging the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. The state-run programs will offer cash rebates to consumers who buy new qualified home appliances. Homeowners and other consumers can use this opportunity to make sure the appliances they bring into their homes meet safety standards. Products that bear the UL Mark have been tested to UL's rigorous safety standards and found to be free of foreseeable safety hazards.
"As today's appliance technology continues to advance, it is now, more than ever, critical to consider safety when purchasing these items," says Ms. Simin Zhou, vice president and general manager, UL's Appliances, HVAC/R and Components business unit. "Energy efficiency is an important attribute, but family safety also needs to be part of the decision making process."
The most common risks associated with home appliances are electrical, fire or mechanical hazards. A 2009 National Fire Protection Association report states that in 2006, U.S. consumers reported approximately 17,700 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines, resulting in 15 deaths, 360 injuries and $194 million in property damage.
"A UL Mark on a home appliance provides peace of mind because it means the product has been tested and certified to meet the highest standards in safety certification," said Ms. Zhou. "Keeping appliances clean and only using them as intended also can go a long way towards preventing home appliance hazards or injuries."
Checking appliances for potential hazards and/or the lack of a third-party safety certification mark will help consumers determine if their current appliances are sufficient or it's time for a new purchase during the upcoming state rebate programs.
To help consumers learn more about the State Energy-Efficient Appliance Rebate Program and understand appliance safety, UL launched www.ul.com/appliancesafety. Online content will be updated regularly throughout the duration of the state rebate programs and beyond. Consumers can find out when their state's program starts and ends, what products qualify for the rebate program and how much money they will receive if they upgrade one or more of their current appliances. UL also explains how product features, brands and style considerations can still be factored in to safe appliance purchases.
"Consumers may not always stop to think about safety risks in their homes so we want to do our part to help them keep their current appliances safe for continued use and make smart decisions when purchasing new ones," said Ms. Zhou.
About Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. For more information, visit About UL.
The appliance safety survey was conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Underwriters Laboratories, from Oct. 15-19, 2009 via telephone. The nationally representative survey was administered to 1,391 U.S. adults, ages 18 and over. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.6 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the U.S. represented by the sample. For more the complete results of UL's appliance safety survey, visit www.ul.com/appliancesafety .