The new front load and top load high efficiency washers are fantastic at saving energy. They use up to 75% less water and up to 85% less energy, not to mention less detergent. They do all this and still mange to clean your clothes just as well, if not better, then the traditional top load washers. HE washers are also gentler on your clothes then the traditional top load washers due to the fact that there is no agitator beating your clothes. With the fast spin speeds, they extract more water which results in shorter dry times, again, saving energy and wear and tear on your clothing. Right now DTE energy is offering up to a $50.00 rebate for purchasing an energy star washer. This offer is running until the end of the year or until funds run out. You can check their website for more details. A little side note here: dryers do not have energy star ratings. The Department of Energy’s appliance standards program has found that dryers do not vary significantly enough from each other in terms of energy consumption. This is also why the Federal Trade Commission does not require dryers to have a yellow energy guide label.
But what if you can’t afford to spend money on a new washer right now? How can you get the most energy savings on the washer and dryer you currently own?
Let’s start with the washer. A whopping 90% of the energy used by a washer goes to heating the water! The cost difference between a hot/warm wash load and a cold/cold wash load is about 64 cents per load. You can save hundreds just by lowering your wash temps. Start washing more in cold water. Liquid detergents work best in cold water. Especially if the water temp drops below 65 degrees, powders will have a hard time dissolving below that temperature. If you wash in warm or hot, you can always use a cold water rinse. Using a warm water rinse does not get your clothes any cleaner. Always be sure to select the proper water level to load size. When it comes to load size, always try to do a full load each time, being careful not to overload the washer resulting in longer dry times in the dryer. Washing just a couple of items at a time is like running your dishwasher with just a couple of glasses in it. You wouldn’t do that would you? It’s a waste of energy, wait until you have enough items to wash full load.
Now the dryer: Proper air flow is the key to running an energy efficient dryer. Let’s start with venting. Make it as short as possible and use rigid venting instead of flexible wherever possible. Consult your owners’ manual to see what your dryer manufacturer recommends for the maximum length allowed for best drying results. Keep that vent clean! It’s not just a mater of energy efficiency, but your safety as well. When you set about your spring cleaning, put “clean lint from dryer” on your list. Clean not just the vent, but remove the lint filter housing and clean that out as well. Be sure to clean the lint screen after EVERY load. If you use fabric softener sheets, they can cause a waxy build up on your lint screen blocking air flow. If you run your lint screen under your water faucet and it can hold water, then it can also hold back the flow of air in your dryer. Be sure to wash your lint screen with hot soapy water. Do not over dry your clothes. Use the auto setting on your dryer to determine the proper length of dry time. Also choose the proper temperature for each load. No need to use high temps on every load. The idea is to dry your clothes, not cook them. A permanent press load should only take about 30 mins to dry. Be sure to properly sort your load separating heavy cottons from perm press. And do not over load the dryer. All of these tips will cut down on your dry time and save you energy. But the best energy saver of all is to line dry your clothes whenever possible. A “solar dryer” doesn’t cost a thing to operate!