You probably think about the amount of energy used by your stove, air conditioning, or big-screen TV; and of course, those can be big energy hogs. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll realize that your laundry room is where a lot of power and water get used on a daily basis. But don’t sweat it! You’re about to get some great ideas for how you can save energy — and money — in your laundry room.
1. Choose Appliances Wisely
High-efficiency washers are popular for a good reason. They use 40%+ less energy than a traditional machine, plus up to 65% less water. You’ll also get a more powerful spin, which results in clothes coming out with less moisture — meaning less time in the dryer. Whether you choose a front-loader or top loader is up to you. You can get an HE machine either way.
As for your dryer, look for one that’s Energy Star rated. Many people also say that gas dryers are cheaper to run because clothes dry faster, but if you don’t have a gas hookup, you can still do well with an efficient electric model. If your dryer has an air dry feature, you’ll be able to save energy by drying clothes with cool air rather than warm air. Make sure that you’re using a temperature that’s safe for your clothes. And remember: there’s nothing wrong with the line dry method!
2. Water Temperature
Unless you have a heavily soiled or oily load, cooler water will usually get your clothes just as clean as hot water. Using cold water is better for most fabrics, and you’ll save a lot of energy by not asking your machine to heat the water or maintain the higher temperature. Be sure to check labels for recommendations.
3. Load Your Dryer the Right Way
Drying similar fabrics together (jeans with jeans, delicates with delicates, etc.) will help keep you from wasting energy, since everything will dry at the same rate. Also, never overload your dryer. It will be much less efficient, and could even be dangerous. Cleaning the lint screen and with every load (and clearing exhaust vents regularly) can help facilitate airflow for better efficiency, and prevent possible fires.
4. Keep Ironing to a Minimum
Did you know your iron can emit 4.8 lbs of carbon dioxide for every 2 hours of use? It can also use up to 1,800 watts of electricity. Since you might be one of those people who hates ironing anyway, follow these tips to avoid it.
5. Size Does Matter
When choosing a washer and/or dryer, make sure you’re choosing one that’s appropriately sized for your family. If your’e single or a couple, you don’t likely need one of the bigger sized machines. But if you have a family of 5, you’ll likely get better efficiency by getting a larger machine so you can do fewer loads.