Five tips to save energy when using your clothes washer
October 6, 2021
Using a washer and dryer can consume a significant amount of energy, but what if you could find ways to reduce this. This article discusses five tips for saving energy when using your clothes washer - without running out of clean pants to wear!
Energy-Saving Tip 1: Wash only full loads of clothes
Washing full loads can help save you money as well as reducing your energy consumption.
Fill, but don't overfill!
Running larger loads can save up to 12,870 litres of water annually.
However, avoid filling your washer too much. Overloading can reduce efficiency or even damage it.
Do fewer loads of laundry or choose shorter cycles.
Choosing only one or two days a week to do your laundry is a great way to save energy. Opt for the weekend when peak times typically level out.
Select strategic laundry cycles. Most modern washers have a high-speed or extended spin cycle option. These cycle options provide extra agitation to wet clothing, which makes them easier to dry.
Energy-Saving Tip 2: Wash clothes with cold water
Hot water is unnecessary when washing your clothing unless your clothing is significantly dirty.
Hot water damages fabrics faster and uses considerably more energy than cold water.
If you must use hot, be sure to use the cold rinse option to reduce the amount of hot water used during the wash cycle.
A hike through one of the many gorgeous parks in the province is fun, but what about those dirty clothes?
Soak them in cool water before putting them in the washing machine to avoid double washing, which wastes energy.
Energy- Saving Tip 3: Ditch the dryer
Dryers are great if you're in a rush but not a necessity if you've got the time to spare.
In the last 15 to 20 years, dryer efficiency has made leaps and bounds. There are plenty of energy efficient units on the market with intelligent features like moisture detectors, recycled air circulation, and effective air tumble dry settings.
Hang clothes to dry year-round
July winds don't need to fly for you to use your clothing line. If the weather is mild, why not take advantage of mother nature's free dryer?
Dry racks for in-home use are inexpensive, easy to source, and are great for increasing the lifespan of your delicate or dress clothing.
Energy-Saving Tip 4: Use less detergent – and choose the right stuff
Putting too much soap in your washing load can redistribute dirt and irritate the skin.
The appropriate amount for a high-efficiency washer is around two teaspoons.
Avoid powder detergent. Powder detergent is prone to clump, leave residue, and potentially cause washer drainage system issues.
If your home's water is hard, add a little more detergent. Otherwise, less is best!
Energy-Saving Tip 5: Don't get in hot water with your energy bills
From the hours of 6:00 to 9:00 am and 4:00 to 8:00 pm, New Brunswick is busy! We are busy taking showers, running appliances, cooking meals, and using devices, including televisions, tablets, and smartphones. This is peak demand.
These times represent the highest demand on New Brunswick grid systems. Cold months see a significant spike in peak demand, and of course, we have several of those.
Be strategic with your energy usage:
- Do your laundry in the evenings or during the day.
- Take shorter showers - especially if you have many people in the home.
- Run your dishwasher or wash your dishes before going to bed - and be sure to fill your dishwasher to its highest capacity as you would your clothes washer.
Hot water usage can represent almost 20 percent of your power bill, if not more. Stay vigilant with your energy consumption to avoid overages.
Bonus Tip: Clean your washer and dryer regularly
- Clean out your dryer lint trap after every use. Doing this reduces the chance of fire and improves its efficiency.
- Periodically remove the lint trap to fully clean, vacuuming lint and debris.
- Every year, clean the drum and ducting system. Doing this ensures that there is no dangerous buildup in the exhaust system.
- About once a month, clean the exterior of your washer and the washer drum with soapy water or a designated clothes washer cleaner. Doing this helps prevent mildew from growing and keeps your clothes fresh.
- To do this, run a hot cycle once with the cleaning solution and then again to rinse.
- Make sure your washer is ringing out most of the water from your clothes. If when you take them out, they are still heavy and wet, there may be something wrong with your washer’s spin cycle and maintenance could be required.
Look for energy-saving appliances.
Do you need a new washing machine or dryer? Choose an energy efficient model. These models use roughly 25% less energy than their traditional counterparts and up to 33% less water.
Look for a model with a front loader and extra-large capacity. Front loader washers use less water combined with a tumbling motion to clean clothing, instead of the aggressive agitators that traditional clothes washers have.
Natural Resources Canada features a calculator that provides a rough estimate of how much energy your new appliance could cost you in its lifetime based on its EnerGuide rating.
What are five steps you can take to conserve energy as you care for your clothes?
- Fill your washer to its highest capacity for peak efficiency.
- Use cold water to wash your clothing.
- Hang clothing to dry as much as possible.
- Use less detergent.
- Be mindful of NB Power peak demand times!
How can I make my washing machine more efficient?
- Soak items before washing if heavily soiled.
- Use cold water only.
- Use the high-speed or extended spin cycle options.
Can you use a washing machine with just cold water?
Absolutely. Using cold water is better for the longevity of your clothing and consumes less energy.