10 Ways to Save Energy in the Laundry Room

Save Money, Too!

Money on clothesline
 Diane Macdonald/ Photographer's Choice RF/ Getty Images

The laundry room is one of the largest water and energy-consuming rooms in any home. We are all interested in reducing the amount of money we spend on utilities and ways we can reduce water and energy consumption helps everyone by protecting the environment of our planet.

These 10 tips will help make your laundry routine more energy efficient and help lower the amount you spend each month on your water, electricity, and natural gas bills.

1. Choose an Energy Efficient Washer

Purchase a high efficiency top load or front load Energy Star-certified washer. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. While a new washer is a significant expense, these models use at least 40 percent less energy and up to 65 percent less water than a standard top load washer. Most full-sized Energy Star washers use only 8 to 14 gallons of water per load, compared to the 40 gallons used by a standard machine. Energy Star models also spin the rinse water from the clothes at a higher rate reducing residual moisture which results in less time in the dryer for clothes.

2. Choose the Best Size Washer for Your Family

Choose the correctly sized washing machine that will meet your household’s needs. Washing machines range in capacity from 1.6 to 5.3 cubic feet. If your normal laundry loads are small, choose a smaller washer model that uses less water. The purchase investment will be much less. Use a public laundromat for cleaning large items like comforters that are only washed once or twice a season.

3. Use the Correct Water Temperature for Washing

About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes is spent on heating the water. Unless you are dealing with clothes that are heavily stained with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job in cleaning your clothes. Plus, lower water temperatures are more gentle on fabrics and will help your clothes stay looking their best. Simply switching your wash water temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy costs in half for each load of clothes. Always use a cold water rinse setting.

4. Select an Energy Efficient Dryer

Choose a EnergyStar 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. Always choose the correct dryer cycle for each load to protect your clothes and save some money.

5. Compare Electric and Natural Gas Dryers

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. Compare the operating costs of electric versus gas-powered clothes dryers. In many areas, natural gas is offered at a less expensive usage rate than electricity. Be sure to take into consideration the cost of installation since a professional technician is required to install a gas line and dryer.

6. Plan Your Laundry Routine

Washing full loads will save water and energy costs. Plan your laundry duty so that you can also dry multiple loads during each session. You’ll save energy resources by using an already heated dryer that doesn’t have to be brought up to temperature each time it is used. You will also save energy if your dryer is in a conditioned space that is not excessively cold.

7. Separate and Conquer Drying Times

Hopefully you have sorted your dirty laundry well before washing. If not, separate your freshly washed clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes. Never overload the dryer. The clothes need room to tumble so that air can reach each surface.

8. Clean Your Dryer Vents

An unobstructed flow of air makes a dryer work more efficiently and can prevent fires. Clean the dryer lint filter after every use. Check the outdoor dryer exhaust vent 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. Get Outside

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. Skip the Iron

Clothes 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 or drying on lower temperature settings and removing them promptly from the dryer while still slightly damp will keep wrinkles to a minimum.