Ways to reduce energy costs when doing laundry

Laundry is a necessary household task and may ending up costing a great deal of money if you are doing several loads a week. In particular, both water and electricity costs can increase by using a washing machine and/or dryer on an excessive basis. In fact, the average American household does about 300 loads of laundry a year. Here are some tips for reducing energy costs.

-If it’s in the budget, consider purchasing energy efficient machines. The prices for them has been trending down over the years. Energy certified washers and dryers use about 40 percent less water and 25 percent less energy, and they can pay for themselves in a matter of years. Front loading machines are considered more energy and water efficient in general.

Consider using less hot water as almost 90 percent of energy used is to heat the water. Most loads of laundry can be cleaned just as well using cold water which is also gentler on clothes. So there is no difference in how clean the load gets or doesn’t bu the water type. If you must use hot water, make sure the water heater is well insulated.

Do less laundry! This is such as simple way to save money by not having any bills to begin with. Wait until you have a full load of clothes or for smaller loads, make sure you adjust the water levels accordingly.

-Put clothes on a higher spin cycle to get as much water out of them as possible which will in turn reduce dryer times. Or hang them as well to improve the evaporation of the water from the clothing. Do not overfill a dryer with too many clothes. This will allow the heat to circulate efficiently to all clothes in the load.

-If your dryer has a moisture sensor feature, use it rather than cranking up the drying time past what is necessary. A cooldown cycle on a dryer uses residual heat to finish drying without using as much energy.

Dry like fabrics with like fabrics. Towels and blankets should be separated from t-shirts, etc. Moisture settings work off of the wettest fabrics (and often heaviest fabrics) which will extend dry times. Therefore, one heavy item may run the dry cycle much longer than necessary. Dry lighter fabrics together to reduce drying times overall.

Clean the lint dryer on a regular basis to help air circulation. There is an extensive amount of electricity used during the drying process. If you use dryer sheets, scrub the filter clean on a regular basis as well. Dryer sheets leave a film behind which can reduce air circulation.

-Make sure to check the outside dryer vent to make sure it is not blocked and on occasion, have a professional clean out the dryer ducts. While there is a small cost to hire someone to clean this, the long term energy savings will be beneficial.

Keeping ducts and vents clear also reduces the chance of fires as more than 15,000 fires a year are caused by clogged dryer vents and ducts. Try to attach the dryer to an exterior wall to shorter the length of the dryer duct and make sure the duct is as straight as possible to prevent clogging. This will also increase the efficiency of the dryer.

Consider line drying if possible. All types of clothes may be tumble dried until damp and then hung on a line until they are fully dried which is highly energy efficient.

All of these steps can help a household reduce their washing and drying costs. Not only that, by using the steps above they will also pro-long the lifespan of your equipment, thereby saving money on repair costs.

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