Chapter

Laundry Appliances

Save Energy and More with ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR clothes washers use 50% less energy than standard washing machines.

About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes: use less water and use cooler water. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of getting your clothes clean. Switching the temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

Laundry Tips

  • Whenever possible, wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergent.
  • Wash and dry full loads. If you’re washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure that it’s not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages. Also, do not install a screen at the exterior vent if you’re concerned about nesting birds and other pests. A screen will hold debris in and may cause a fire. The exterior vent should have a damper that easily opens and closes by the force of the expelled air, so make sure it’s not stuck open, which will permit the entry of unwanted pests and birds.
  • Consider air-drying clothing and other laundered items on a clothes line or drying rack. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for many fabrics.

Long-Term Savings Tips

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY STAR clothes washers use 50% less energy than standard washers. Most full-sized ENERGY STAR washers use 15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 32.5 gallons used by a new standard machine. ENERGY STAR models also spin the clothes better, resulting in less drying time.
  • When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will save the wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
  • ENERGY STAR does not label clothes dryers because most of them use similar amounts of energy, which means there is little difference in energy use among different models.