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Energy-Efficiency Tips: Your Laundry

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When you think of energy efficiency in your home, the big appliances typically come to mind. We’re talking about the air conditioner, heater and refrigerator, specifically. But every appliance in your home uses energy, which means there’s a chance to save energy and money with every appliance in your home. How often do you think about washing clothes? I don’t mean dreading over the thought of washing pile after pile of dirty laundry on your floor. I mean, how often do you actually think about the process of washing your clothes? Did you know there are several things you can do regarding your washer and dryer to cut down on your energy use and, in turn, reduce your energy bill? Here are the top laundry tips from the U.S. Department of Energy:
  • Make sure you’re only washing and drying full loads. Throwing a pair of jeans and two shirts in the washer by themselves not only wastes energy, but wastes water as well. If you do have to clean a small load of laundry, make sure you change the settings on your washer to use less water.
  • Use cold water to wash your clothes. This equates into a huge savings, since you don’t need the water heater running to produce hot water.
  • Look for Energy Star washing machines. According to the Department of Energy, Energy Star washers use 50% less water and 37% less energy than other washing machines. Keep in mind that Energy Star doesn’t put its labels on dryers, because most dryers use the same energy.
  • However, you should always look for a dryer with a moisture sensor. These sensors keep the dryer from over-drying your load, using less energy in the process. Some of these dryers also include “cool-down cycles,” which use the heat that’s already in the dyer to finish drying your clothes. That cuts down on the amount of energy being used.
  • You know the lint guard in your dryer? Clean it before each use. This not only increases the efficiency of the dryer, but it also cuts down on the risk of fire.
So when you’re looking to cut down on your family’s energy usage, remember there are appliances other than the air conditioner and refrigerator that can make a major impact! Don’t look past the so-called other appliances in your home. A few, simple lifestyle changes here and there can make a major difference and save you money.