If you’re considering buying a new set of washers and dryers for your home, it’s not just about picking the price or the way they’ll look in your laundry room.
No, energy efficiency should probably be top of mind when making a choice.
But how do these new appliances compare to the old, clunky ones you used to have?
And are new washers and dryers more energy efficient now? Newer washing machines are usually significantly more improved while dryers typically aren’t compared to older models from decades ago. That’s because washing machines now have more features that help cut down electricity costs and water use like front-loading vs. top-loading, for example. In short, it’s probably a lot more useful to replace the washing machine, but only upgrade the dryer if your existing one isn’t energy-efficient rated already.
What Does Energy-Efficient Mean?
Energy efficiency is a general term that describes that an appliance is able to perform its task while eliminating as much wasted energy as possible. Or in today’s buzzwords, they’re appliances that reduce our carbon footprint.
You’ve probably seen the Energy Star rating on new appliances. This is a label given by the US Environmental Protection Energy (EPA), denoting that the product you’re about to purchase is energy efficient.
Why to Get a New Washer (and Maybe a Dryer)
While both washers and dryers have improved significantly over the years and it’s always better to have newer appliances, the problem is that only washing machines have had major improvements.
So while both washers and dryers are part of the Energy Star rating system (contrary to some information out there), the truth is that it makes no sense to replace one energy-efficient dryer for another energy-efficient dryer, even if they’re a decade apart in age.
Sadly, clothes dryers still suck energy, big time.
Even the Natural Resource Defense Counsil (NRDC) admits that dryers are still stuck in 1970s technology and use as much energy as the fridge, washer, and dishwasher combined.
The only good idea is to exchange a regular dryer for one that’s Energy Star rated. In fact, for an energy-hungry appliance such as a dryer, you can expect maybe $200 in total savings for this switch. That comes out to about $20 per year if the dryer lasts 10 years.
The real savings will come from getting a new washer, this is where big strides have been made over the years. Just upgrading from a regular to an Energy Star rated washer is $370 in total savings in electricity. And this is just in energy savings. Imagine how much water costs can be saved if yours uses 33% less water per cycle.
High-efficiency (HE) washers, which require specific detergent, are also touted as much better than traditional washers. Usually having a front-loading instead of a top-loading feature, these can provide significant savings by tumbling the load gently instead of using an agitator to spin. Some HE washers can also have the Energy Star rating, but not all of them do.
But while HE washers may save money in energy costs and water costs over the long run, they typically come with a higher price tag, so it might be wash overall (pun intended).
What Improves Washer and Dryer Efficiency
Nowadays, washing machines and washer-dryers have significantly improved energy efficiency unlike traditional washers and dryers.
Modern machines also offer more settings for the washing cycle, so you can choose the most energy-efficient option.
Some washers even have weight sensors to accurately load and determine the amount of water and heat to be used. These characteristics mean that efficiency is easier to achieve.
Modern clothes dryers also have built-in sensors to prevent clothes from drying out and dry them in a faster way. When using a water meter, water consumption is another factor that will affect your bill. If you have a water meter, you can seriously consider using a new clothes dryer.
This applies not only to washing machines, but also to washer-dryers, which use a lot of extra water in drying mode because they use a continuous stream of cold water from the main power source to condense the hot steam generated by drying clothes.
The amount of water used for drying varies from machine to machine. Therefore, if you only have space for the washer dryer, please check carefully. Also pay special attention to the energy efficiency value of the machine, which will have an impact on the lifetime of the washer/dryer.
Types of Washers and Dryers to Consider
Stackable Washers and Dryers
The design of modern front load machines allows the dryer to be stacked on top of the washing machine. Allow washing machine and dryer to make full use of floor space. A separate stacking kit is needed.
These modern high efficiency washing machines have five water temperature levels, five spin speeds, multiple dirt levels, and settings for bulky items, heavy load, fast washing, and steam cleaning. The dryer is equipped with ecological acceleration and disinfection plus 36 program options for de-wrinkle, drying large items, etc. These washers and dryers are very energy efficient, with the estimated average energy cost of the two units only exceeding $30 per year.
Top Loading Washers and Dryers
Highly efficient top loading washers include a technology that assures there is no agitator arm, and it can handle clothes gently. You can still use all the basic and healthy washing methods in them, including gentle washing, bulk washing and washing in cold water (but not wool or hand washing).
Moisture sensor and plenty of options, but just as simple, it won’t make you feel that you are missing everything you need. For example, the tumble dryer does not have an interior light or steam function, but you can change the position of the hinge. Both units have passed Energy Star certification.
Portable Washers and Dryers
These two small devices can be put away when not in use, which is very suitable for small rooms. Each weigh less than 40 pounds, and most people can put them in the closet or put them aside with no effort. The washing machine can be connected with bathroom or kitchen faucet temporarily.
Both units are designed to wash and dry less clothes; for example, you can wash and dry five T-shirts, a pair of jeans, a pair of jeans, or a large bed sheet in just a few hours. It washes in hour and one hour in drying.
They are also very suitable for those who often need to wash a few clothes (such as uniforms) but can wash the rest. These units do not have an energy star rating because they do not rate such machines, but due to their small size, these two machines use much less power than larger, more complex machines.
Combo Washers and Dryers
It is very suitable for homes where there is no space to place a separate washing machine and dryer, or the external ventilation source required by a conventional dryer. Some models also use standard voltage power.
In terms of overall efficiency, washing machines have become more efficient in the past 10 years, and drying technology has not changed significantly. This means that certain combined equipment can be more energy efficient than two separate standard machines.
The improved energy efficiency of the combined units is due to lower hot water consumption and the mechanical structure of the washing machine-the stainless-steel drum which rotates faster than ever (up to 1000 rpm) and draws more water from the laundry. Due to reduced energy and water consumption, laundry services using combined washing machines are approximately $100 per year for four family members.
Working of Energy Efficient Washers
In Comparison with standard models, washing machines certified by energy star reduce energy consumption by 25% and water consumption by 45%. How do you ask? There are many forms, let us break them down one by one.
First, the washing machine has a larger bucket capacity; many other energy stars washing machines also use innovative technology that allows you to wash clothes without filling the bucket with water.
Instead, they spray clean clothes and bathe with high pressure. But not so much water. In fact, this technology allows the energy-efficient washing machine to use only 13 gallons of water per load; in contrast, the standard machine uses up to 23 gallons per load. Energy-saving washing machines are also equipped with high-speed motors, which can spin clothes faster than traditional washing machines. This means that the water squeezed out of the clothes consumes more energy than the dryer.
Working of Energy Efficient Dryers
As compared to the traditional dryers, energy star-certified dryers use about 20% less energy. Here, a combination of multiple factors can also help save energy and money. For example, moisture sensors enable energy-efficient dryers to sense when clothes are completely dry. The dryer turns off automatically if no moisture detected. In the standard model, drying clothes that have already been dried wastes energy.
Many energy-saving dryers are also equipped with heat pumps that are more efficient than traditional dryers. The traditional clothe dryer sucks in air, and every time the traditional clothes dryer releases air, it heats up, sucks in and continues heating.
However, energy-saving dryers take in air, heat it, and then circulate it to save energy. If the air becomes too humid, it passes through the tumble dryer, removing moisture and making the air usable once again.
Understanding how these devices work can save you money, energy and the environment. Nothing is more expensive than inefficient washing machines and dryers. When buying, always look for a washing machine with a high integrated modified energy factor (IMEF) and a low integrated water factor (IWF).
The IMEF score measures the energy efficiency of the washing machine, while the IWF score measures how many pints of water you use. Look for a model with a high combined energy factor (CEF), which shows that the dryer is highly energy efficient.
No matter which model you choose, you are serving yourself and the environment. Sustainability is the future, and now is the time to use technology.