If you have a lot of laundry to do each week, the costs can really add up, especially if you have an older washer and dryer which aren’t as energy efficient as new ones. The lifespan for most washers and dryers can be well over a decade depending on how frequently they are used. And while it may seem sensible to continue to hold onto your appliances, they may be costing you more money than you think. For example, according to AHAM data, a washing machine shipped in 1995 consumed 2.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) per cycle, while one shipped in 2010 used only .66 kWh/cycle – that’s a decrease of more than 70% and a nearly $100 savings per year on electricity bills. Visit the ENERGY STAR website for more models that can save you even more!
Even if you are not planning to purchase a new energy efficient washer and dryer you can still save energy and money by following these energy saving tips, courtesy of the Alliance to Save Energy:
- Use cold water. About 90% of the energy consumed by your washing machine is used to heat the water. Save energy by washing your clothes in cold water.
- Although you may find that regular detergent is sufficient, try cold-water detergents that are specifically formulated to work in cooler temperatures.
- Run a full load. Unless you have sensors, your machine will use the same amount of mechanical energy regardless of how full it is. If you don't run a full load, be sure to set the water level for the amount of laundry you are running.
- Use energy-saving settings. Choose the high spin speed option to cut down on drying time.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees F (instead of the usual 140 F) so you can save energy even when washing clothes in hot or warm water.
- Sort similar fabrics together, starting with a load of fast-drying fabrics, and do back-to-back loads to take advantage of residual heat.
- Clean the lint filter after each dryer load to improve air circulation and cut down on drying time.
- Use energy-saving settings. Select low temperature for delicates and medium for most clothes. Choose auto-dry instead of timed-dry to prevent over-drying, which causes shrinkage and static electricity and generally wears clothes out.
- Throw in a clean, dry towel or tennis ball to dry clothes quicker. The towel absorbs moisture, while the tennis ball helps circulate air between clothes.