Washing clothes consumes more energy than many other household chores. Following these five tips will help you save money and reduce your energy footprint when using your laundry or washing machine.
1. Think before washing
The first thing to consider is whether items need to be washed. Hand towels, beach towels, tablecloths, clothing and other lightly used items don’t have to be laundered after each use. Hang these items on a coat or towel rack so that they can air-dry and are ready to be used again. You can save money, consume less water and electricity by reducing the total number of loads that you wash.
2. Load machine to capacity
Most people under-load their washing machines. You should load your machine to capacity whenever possible. Look for the label that displays your machine’s load capacity. Place your load in a laundry basket and place it on your bathroom scale. Do this a few times until you are comfortable gauging the volume of the load without the scale. This will help you maximize the washing machine’s load capacity. This technique will save money because it is more cost and energy efficient to wash one large load rather that two smaller ones, even if you use the lower load settings on your machine’s dial.
3. Low temperature
After you load your machine to capacity, ensure that you set it on the lowest water temperature setting necessary to clean the clothes. Use cold water whenever possible. Many of today’s laundry detergents are designed to work effectively all temperatures. Certain items may require hot water to remove stains, but pre-soaking heavily soiled clothes in cooler water temperatures can be just as effective. The rinse water cycle doesn’t affect the cleaning cycle. You can set your washing machine rinse cycle on cold for all your loads. Remember to check the thermostat on your water heater. A temperature setting of 120°F is sufficient for most household requirements. This will save energy even when laundry requires that you use hot or warm water for wash cycle. By using lower temperature settings on your washing machine and water heater thermostat, you will save on the energy needed to heat water for laundry.
Properly maintaining your machine can also save money. Clean the lint traps, remove dirt and debris from the tub so that the outlets aren’t blocked. You machine will use less energy to pump out the dirty water after each cycle. Read and follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for service and maintenance. This will ensure that your machine works as efficiently as possible.
5. Energy Star
The average household washes approximately four hundred loads of laundry per year. Therefore, it’s important that your washing machine be as energy efficient as possible. If your machine is more than ten years old, you should replace it with a newer model. Some of today’s “Energy Star” rated machines are designed to use thirty five per cent less energy and fifty per cent less water when compared to regular models. Many of these washing machines have higher load capacities than conventional models this means that you will need to do fewer loads. Energy star models will significantly reduce utility bills associated with doing laundry.
Following these five simple tips will save you time and money when comes to washing clothes.