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    How to Save on Your Laundry Energy Bills

February 2018

Lowering your laundry bill is one of the easiest ways to save on energy. In this article we’ll explore over a dozen useful tips to reduce your energy bills almost immediately. But first you need to understand energy ratings.

Understanding energy ratings

As you probably know, washing machines have labels with their energy rating. This rating explains how many kilowatt hours (kWh/per year) it needs to run.

Generally speaking, the more energy-efficient machines have more stars. Every extra star can add up to 25% more energy efficiency. But remember a five-star energy rating isn't a guarantee of five-star performance. One reason is because energy labels often use warm program settings. Another reason is the size of the load - even though a larger machine may have more stars it can use more power over the year.

Here’s how to calculate your machine’s yearly running costs: multiply your electricity rate by the washer's kWh. So, as an example, if the electricity rate is 27c and the kWh’s are 580, the running cost is $156.60 a year.

What you need to know about energy efficient dryers

Dryers are one of the most expensive appliances to run. Thankfully there are a few simple tips you can follow to save on your energy bill:

  • As always keep an eye out for the energy star rating. Usually, though not always, more stars equal more savings.
  • Use sensor technology: this can save you up to 10% on your energy bills because it stops running the machine when the clothes dry. These sensors have the added benefit of reducing wear by drying clothes too much.
  • Improve energy efficiency by emptying the lint filter after each load.
  • Heat pump dryers might be worth the investment if you dry a lot. They can use approximately half the energy of everyday electric clothes dryers.
  • Different fabrics dry at different sorts. So be sure to sort loads by fabric.
  • Use Mother Nature when you can: of course, the biggest savings of all is a clothes line. It’s also the most eco-friendly.

What you need to know about energy efficient washing machines

A washing machine is a long-term purchase and be used almost daily for 10 years or more. So it’s important you choose an efficient machine suitable to your needs.

When it comes to saving money on energy bills, it’s hard to fault a front loader - they’re usually the most energy efficient washing machines. Sure they can cost a little more to buy but overall they usually save more money on energy.

First, front-loading washers use up to 75% less water and up to 85% less energy than typical top-loaders.

Second, generally speaking clothes last longer, too. That’s because rather than tossing your clothes about they lightly tumble them.

Third, you spend less to dry clothes because front-loading washers squeeze more water out during their spin cycle.

Be on the lookout for a feature called “Eco Mode”. This is an environmentally friendly feature that consumes less energy and water.

The bottom line: Energy efficient washing machines - such as front loaders - almost always have lower running costs.They cost more to purchase but in the long run you will probably save money.

Useful energy saving tips

  • If you’re not using your machine, unplug it. Most people don’t realise that it’s still drawing energy even though it’s not on. And stop using the standby mode (yes it’s still using energy even then)
  • Only wash full loads because it takes just as much energy as a half-empty machine.
  • If clothes are highly soiled, be sure to pre-treat them. Doing so means you need only wash them once.
  • Did you know up to 90% of the energy to wash clothes is heating the water? So go ahead and turn the thermostat down and use less energy. Even better turn it to cold. Be sure to choose laundry detergents that work best in cold water
  • Special note: if you wash in cold water be sure to clean out your machine with an occasional hot wash.

The final word

By choosing an energy efficient dryer and washing machine, there’s lots of opportunity to save hundreds on your yearly energy bill. But it’s not all about the machine. Simple decisions such as using cold water or using a clothes-line on sunny days can deliver big savings, too.

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