The typical household in America cleans and dries 400 loads of laundry in a year. Up to 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat water, and the energy use of dryers is directly related to the moisture content of the clothes; these two factors illustrate the energy-saving opportunities in a typical laundry room.
Maintenance and repairs
Older washers and dryers may require periodic maintenance to keep them operating properly. Here are a few things to check for:
MEF, WF, & washers - Clothes washers must meet minimum efficiency standards in order to be ENERGY STAR labeled:
When is it time to replace?
The expected lifetime of a washer and dryer is about 12-14 years, depending on model, use, and maintenance. Replacement opportunities include:
When evaluating a new washer, look closely at these features:
When evaluating a new dryer, look closely at these features:
Follow these suggestions to keep your laundry energy usage to the minimum:
Hanging clothes on lines or racks in the basement—especially in the winter when the house is dry—seems like a logical, energy-saving approach. But caution is appropriate, and here’s why:
A typical load of laundry may contain several gallons of moisture. As it leaves the clothing, some of it will move to nearby cool locations (like a basement foundation wall or window) where the vapor will condense. Because this surface is usually cooler than the surrounding air, evaporation may be gradual—slow enough to encourage the growth of mold and mildew or cause damage to window frames, etc. Condensation or frost on walls or windows is a sign of too much moisture in the air; make sure you are not trading small energy savings for a potentially damaging solution.