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10 Ways to Save Energy in the Laundry Room

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10 Ways to Save Energy in the Laundry Room

Photo © United States Department of Energy

The laundry room is one of largest energy-consuming rooms in any home. We’re all interested in saving money, and any reduction in water and energy use helps everyone by protecting the environment.

Here are ten ways to make your laundry room more energy efficient:

  1. Purchase an Energy Star-certified washer, which will use at least 40% less energy and up to 65% less water than a standard washer. Most full-sized Energy Star washers use 18-25 gallons of water per load, compared to the 40 gallons used by a standard machine.Energy Star models also spin the water from the clothes better, resulting in less drying time.
  2. Choose a washing machine that meets your household’s needs. Washing machines range in capacity from 1.6 to 3.8 cubic feet. If your normal laundry loads are small, choose a smaller model that uses less water and use a public laundromat for large items like comforters.
  3. About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.
  4. Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor which will shut off your machine when clothes are dry. An air-dry feature, which dries clothes with cold air, reduces energy use and wrinkles.
  5. Most dryers consume a similar amount of energy to dry one load of clothes. However, a dryer powered by natural gas will dry a load of clothes three times faster than an electric dryer.
  6. Plan your laundry duty so that you can dry multiple loads during each session. You’ll save energy by using an already heated dryer that doesn’t have to be brought up to temperature each time it is used.
  7. Separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.
  8. Clean the dryer lint filter after every use. Check the outside dryer exhaust frequently to make sure it’s clean and that the flapper opens and closes freely. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting materials, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
  9. Line drying is, of course, the most energy-efficient alternative for drying clothes. If you don’t have adequate outdoor space or live in an apartment, place a dryer rack by an open, sunny window.
  10. Irons can consume up to 1,800 watts of energy, and if used for two hours, one iron emits 4.8 pounds of carbon dioxide. Line drying clothes, drying with cold air, or removing them promptly from the dryer will keep wrinkles to a minimum.

Specific questions? Just ask here.

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