Photo: Touchstone Energy
Question: How can you save water and energy as you do your weekly laundry?
Answer: Shift to a high-efficiency (HE) washer. According to Energy.gov, Energy Star-certified clothes washers use 25 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than standard models and over the lifetime of the washer, can save you about $380 in energy costs.
For example, traditional top loading machines use 20 gallons or more per load, while high-efficiency machines use about 14 gallons, a savings of about 2,000 gallons a year.
Features that offer savings
These features increase the energy efficiency of the machine:
- Sensors monitor incoming water levels and temperature closely to avoid using more than is needed
- Rinsing clothes with high-pressure spraying instead of soaking in a full tub of water
- Front loaders tumble clothes in a small amount of water instead of rubbing them against an agitator; any machine without a center agitator causes less wear-and-tear on your clothing, too
- Advanced top loading machines flip or spin clothes through a reduced stream of water, which reduces the amount of water used
- Efficient motors spin clothes two to three times faster to extract more water during the spin cycle, reducing drying time (saving even more energy during dryer use)
- While you will probably need HE detergent, you’ll use less of it than in a “regular” washer, so you’ll be purchasing detergent less frequently
- These machines have a large capacity so you can run fewer loads (although each load usually takes longer than an old-style top loader)