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  • Washing Machine

    Energy-Efficient Washing Machines

February 2018

What you need to know about buying and operating an energy efficient washing machine in Australia

A washing machine is one of the most convenient appliances in the home. Busy households rely on washing machines to automate laundry day. It is especially handy in a home with young children. A quality washer may not be cheap upfront, but if it is well-maintained, it should last several years. When it’s time to upgrade, opt for an energy-efficient washer that will pay for itself with years of long-term savings.

What to consider when buying energy-efficient washing machines

Are you in the market for an energy-efficient washer? Here are a few considerations to bear in mind:

Your family’s washing needs

There’s more to buying an energy-efficient washing machine than getting your clothes clean. It’s a good idea to consider a few key aspects when it comes to your family’s washing needs. For example, if there’s a baby or a mechanic in the house, you may have more dirty loads that need to be washed more often. If you wear a lot of wool or silk, you may want a washer that can provide the kind of care your fabric needs to last a long time.

The type of washer

Your choice of washer will influence your level of involvement in the washing process. It will also determine your control over the special configurations. Depending on your home setup, you may have to choose your washer based on the amount of space you have available in your laundry. Space is especially important if you use a clothes dryer, too.

Twin tub washing machines are less common these days, with most manufacturers offering the main options:

  • front loader washer
  • traditional top loader washer
  • high-efficiency top loader

A front loader is convenient because it allows you to stack the washer and dryer. This is handy if you have a small laundry, or if you live in an apartment without a separate laundry. Top loaders usually accommodate large loads. They are less likely to develop musty odours, as water does not usually become trapped in the machine.

Front loaders usually tend to consume less water and power than top loaders. A machine with a suds saver option can help save water. If this is important to you, it is a particularly handy feature in top loaders.1

Energy rating

Modern washing machines use less energy than older models did before a national labelling scheme came into effect in 1992. When you’re looking for an energy efficient washer, find the one with the highest star rating.

Running costs

Clothes washers offer different length and types of cycles (full wash versus economy). It’s usually easier to measure the cost per cycle rather than hourly running costs. You can calculate the approximate annual cost-per-cycle by multiplying the annual kWh of the appliance by the tariff on your electricity bill. Alternatively, use the Energy Rating website to compare estimated running costs of your new appliance.2

Water heating

Clothes washers that connect to cold taps only will heat the water to the right temperature when you use warm wash cycles. Washing in cold water is much more energy-efficient than washing in hot water. It is usually a good idea to look for a washer with an economy wash cycle. Otherwise, choose one with the lowest temperature setting.

If you have a solar water heater, off-peak electricity, or natural gas, choose a machine with both hot and cold water connections. Heating water using one of these methods will be more energy efficient than using electricity.3

Load sensing technology

If you frequently wash small loads, an energy efficient washer with variable water levels could be a good choice. This may reduce the length of the wash cycle and the machine will adjust the amount of water used on smaller loads.4

3 Energy saving tips for washing machine use5

  • Instead of washing small loads daily, wait until you have a full load.
  • If possible, combine small loads into one full load.
  • Use the economy cycle as much as possible.
  • Spin your washing on the highest speed available to reduce energy, especially if you’re drying it in the dryer.

Final Thoughts

Washing machines are high energy users, and can quickly escalate your energy bill. By selecting the correct energy-efficient washing machine to suit your needs, as well as using it in the most economical way, you can save money, time, and your impact on the environment though reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

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