How to Make Your Washer/Dryer Work for You!

WDWashing and drying clothes is one of the biggest energy hogs for homes behind only hot water heaters and refrigerators. This could be especially true for a family of four or five that does multiple loads throughout each week. In the overall laundry cycle, the dryer accounts for close to 80% of energy consumed, so making the drying cycle faster and more efficient is key. For example, an energy efficiency horizontal axis washer will not only use 50-60% less water, but will also cut the drying time by close to 75%.  Because it may be impractical to replace older, less efficient washers and dryers, there are a number of simple modifications you can make to your household laundry routine that will help you save on your electric bills today!

  1. Use high efficiency (HE) detergent with cold water:  Clothes come out just as clean, while fabrics retain colors better and don’t break down as fast.
  2. Program the washer for an additional spin cycle:  Removing excess water from clothing reduces drying time and uses less energy.
  3. Hang dry certain items:  Though you may want to machine dry some things, if you have the space and cooperative weather, hanging clothes can cut out the dryer altogether.
  4. Don’t overload the dryer:  Overloaded dryers take longer and don’t dry clothes as efficiently.
  5. Dry similar materials together:  Similar fabrics dry more consistently together than with a mix of materials and types. (i.e. Dry towels with towels, polyester with polyester, ect.)
  6. Shorten the drying time:  Some dryers have a moisture sensing mode that will stop the cycle once clothes are dry. Alternatively, check clothes before the end of the cycle to prevent over drying.
  7. Keep filter and vent clean and free of lint:  Preventing lint from building up keeps the dryer running at its highest efficiency.
  8. Install short, solid metal exhaust duct:  The shorter the exhaust duct from the dryer to wall, the faster and more efficient the dryer.
  9. Upgrade the exterior vent hood:  Wind or excess lint can prop open inferior vent hoods, letting in outside air.
  10. Replace W/D with high efficiency models:  It is generally believed that when the cost of repair exceeds approximately 1/3 of the cost to purchase, it makes financial sense to purchase new.

Guy Caroselli wtih Alex Howle, LEAP