The average American household does 400 loads of laundry every year. The implications of this water and energy expenditure are clear—inefficient clothes washers and dryers can cost homeowners substantial amounts of money. Fortunately, affordable, energy-efficient models that save water and electricity without compromising performance are already on the market today.
Energy efficient clothes washers are available in top- or front-loading models. Front-loading washers have traditionally been more energy efficient—they do not need to be completely filled with water, relying instead upon a tumbling motion to rotate the clothing through a relatively small amount of water. New top-loaders remove the central agitator and use fine streams of water to clean clothes with instead of filling the entire machine. Powerful motors in both models spin the clothing to expel more water and cut down on drying time.
ENERGY STAR does not certify clothes dryers because most models use similar amounts of energy to run. However, product features like moisture sensing and specific use patterns can reduce the amount of time the dryer is on, which saves energy.
Low Cost Savings Tips
Make sure that you are optimizing your loads. Most people tend to under-load their washers and/or select the “large load” setting when it isn’t necessary.
Machine dry only when necessary. Not only will air-drying prolong the life of your clothes, it will lower your bills. When you must use the dryer, put similar weight fabrics together and do not dry for longer than necessary.
Most laundry does not require hot water. Choose the “cold wash” setting to lower your water heating costs!
Inspect your dryer vent frequently. A blocked vent is both a fire hazard and a cause of energy inefficiency. Ideally, you should use a rigid venting material (not plastic) to safeguard against a collapsed vent.
70-90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-loading washer goes towards heating the water.
Energy-efficient washers use up to half the amount of water of traditional washers, lowering both your water bill and the costs associated with water heating.
Unless your clothes are oil-stained, the warm or cold water setting will usually be sufficient to clean clothes.