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Using your appliances efficiently: Clothes washers

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TThe average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry per year.  In light of all this activity, it benefits homeowners to be as efficient as possible when using a clothes washer. Below are some tips:

  • Wash in cold water. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.
  • Adjust the water level for your load size.
  • Don’t overload your machine. Overloading will consume more electricity as the motor strains to move the excess clothing.
  • Fill it up. Clothes washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load, so run full loads whenever possible.
  • Position the washing machine near the hot water tank if possible. Heat can be lost as the hot water travels between the tank and the washer.
  • Consider an upgrade. If your washer is over 10 years old? Replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR qualified washer could save over $145 each year on your energy bills. Plus, you’re wasting 18 gallons of water every time you wash with a non-ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer. Use Vectren’s Energy Calculators to determine exactly how much you could save by upgrading.
  • Activate the high spin speed option. If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option to reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. This decreases the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes.
  • Balance your loads before starting the cycle. A washer that consistently gets out of balance often wastes water and electricity.
  • Leave the door open after use. Front-loading washers use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When the machine is not in use, this seal can trap moisture in the machine and lead to mold. Leave the door ajar for an hour or two after use to allow moisture to evaporate.
  • Avoid the sanitary cycle. This super hot cycle, available on some models, increases energy use significantly. Only use it when absolutely necessary.
Click here to see energy efficiency tips for your dryer.

Vectren does not endorse any particular product or wholesaler.

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