Washing and drying clothes can be one of the largest uses of energy in the home. By investing in energy-efficient machines, you can conserve energy and save money. Buy an energy-efficient front-loading washing machine if possible. These horizontal-axis machines can save up to 60% of the energy, 40% of the water, and 20% of the detergent used by top-loading machines.
Front-loading machines also spin faster, so your clothes will be drier before you transfer them to the clothes dryer. This reduces the dryer’s energy consumption by about 20%. Front-loading machines are more expensive to buy, but you’ll recover the additional cost in 3 to 6 years. Your energy savings will begin immediately.
An Energy Star® model will have the Energy Star logo on the Energy Guide Label. This label has no Energy Star logo.
Buy a gas dryer if possible. They cost considerably less to operate than electric dryers. A plumber may need to install a gas line to your new dryer, but energy savings usually make up this additional cost in less than 10 years.
Buy a dryer with an automatic moisture sensor. This control shuts the dryer off as soon as your clothes are dry so that energy isn’t wasted by timed cycles that may run too long. You can recognize dryers with moisture sensors by the dryness control that adjusts from “More Dry” to “Less Dry.”
When buying any appliance, look for the Energy Guide® and Energy Star® labels. The big yellow Energy Guide label is attached to all new appliances. It compares the energy consumption of similar appliances so you can identify the most economical models. The Energy Star® label, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, is granted only to the most energy-efficient appliances.
The Homeowners Handbook to Energy Efficiency contains simple, practical energy-efficiency ideas.