The most energy-efficient approach to laundry is to hand wash and air dry all clothes, though the majority of us don’t have the time to do this. However, there are multiple ways to improve your energy efficiency and save electricity costs in the laundry room.
Use cold water – You can save a lot of money by washing your clothes in cold water. In fact, almost 90 percent of the energy your washing machine uses is to heat water, according to the EPA. Cold-washing also helps preserve your darks, brights, and delicates, preventing fading and shrinkage, and allowing you to wash multiple colors together. Use cold-water detergent for the best results.
Do a full load – Washing machines use the same amount of energy, regardless of how full they are, so you will save money by only running full loads. If there is a situation where you can’t do a full load, make sure to select the appropriate water setting for a smaller load.
Turn down your water heater – For especially dirty loads, you may sometimes wish to use a warm or hot water setting. However, you can still save money when doing hot or warm loads by reducing your water heater temperature setting from the usual 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maintain the dryer – Maintaining your clothes dryer by making sure the outside vent is clear and having the appliance serviced from time to time will allow it to operate more efficiently. Call to have your dryer serviced if you notice it is taking longer to dry clothes. By having your dryer vents cleaned, you might also prevent a dryer fire. Finally, make sure you remove the lint from the lint trap after every load.
Use energy-efficient washer and dryer settings – On your washer, selecting the “high spin” option, if you have one, will help reduce drying time and costs. Also make sure to select shorter washing cycles when possible. On your dryer, select the “auto dry” setting, in which the dryer will turn off automatically once your clothes are dry. This will also help prevent your clothes from wear and shrinkage from over-drying.
In addition to following these energy-efficient laundry tips, also consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR-certified washer and dryer, especially if your washer or dryer is more than ten years old. Energy-efficient ENERGY STAR appliances use significantly less water and electricity than older models, bringing you significant savings … which you can use to buy more clothes, if you like!
Written and published by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
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