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High-Efficiency Washing Machines Save You Energy, Water and Money

7/8/2010 4:59:48 PM

Tags: conserving water, energy efficiency, energy efficient appliance, saving water

Clothes must be washed, but how they are washed could save you money. Ever since the first high-efficiency washing machines hit the market and received the Energy Star label in 1997, laundry doers have been able to save energy and water every time they go to wash away the dirt and grime.

laundrySo what does high efficiency mean? A high-efficiency washing machine, known to most people as a front-loading washer, reduces water use by 40 to 60 percent and energy use by 50 to 60 percent per load, according to Energy Star and the National Geographic Green Guide.

When you're out shopping for a new machine, start by looking for the Energy Star label. The Energy Star label on the machine lets you know that it is 37 percent more efficient than a standard washer, but you also have to look for "high efficiency" in the name to get more water and energy savings. The Energy Star label just means it is at least 37 percent more efficient; it can be higher. If the washer is high-efficiency, it will say right in the name.

In the case of front-loaders versus top-loaders, more high efficiency front-loading machines exist. A few top-loading machines offer high efficiency, such as the Kenmore Elite Oasis. To find more washing machines, go to the Energy Star website and search for the specifics you are looking for in a washer.

Now there will be multiple choices out there, but look for the smallest model that fits your needs. If you have a larger family, a higher-capacity washer might be what you need, but otherwise, think about how big your washer really needs to be.

Once you have figured out what washer works for you, remember high-efficiency washing machines actually use different detergent. High efficiency detergent differs from regular detergent because it is a highly concentrated solution that doesn't create as many suds. Using normal detergent in a high efficiency machine can result in too many bubbles. This leaves clothes soapy because all of the regular soap does not rinse out.

The high-efficiency detergent can be found right next to the regular detergent. Just look for "H.E." or "high efficiency" on the label. It should also cost about the same price and offer as many loads per bottle. It is just a different soap for a different washer. All the usual detergent brands, such as Tide, Era, Dreft, All, Gain and Cheer, have a high-efficiency solution.

There are additional benefits to using cold-water detergent, which many high-efficiency brands offer. Switching to cold water for washing saves the most money, but even switching from hot to warm cuts the energy use in half. Other simple things, such as washing only full loads, can save money as well.

You can also be a do-it-yourselfer and make your own detergent. Visit our Ask Our Experts department to find out how to make your own laundry soap and how other readers do, too.

Photo by IStockPhoto/Sasimoto 



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Post a comment below.

 

BeckonsAttore
9/16/2013 1:15:14 PM
This is some piece of laundry equipment and it's claimed to be highly-efficient, which is great! Now all we'd need is highly-efficient commercial laundry-equipment. Actually, wouldn't commercial laundry equipment be high-efficient? I don't know. URL: http://www.coinomatic.com/

Carin
10/19/2010 5:02:54 PM
I purchased an LG front loader 4 years ago for the purpose to save energy.It has been the worst mistake of my life. It did begin me on a path to write a book. I spent three years researching, interviews and came up sadly that it is all about marketing. Energy Star has proven to be not worthy and the manufacturers of all of these machines liars. I have interviewed each and everyone, two years ago they all denied mold problems, and now they are selling products to stop the mold. They all insist to use HE soap. I am filmilar with trademarks and copyrights and notice there is no registration mark at all. Calls to national headquarters confirmed my worst fear, they do add more chemicals so you do not get more bubbles, but you can do this by only adding 1-2 Tablespoons of any detergent. Many interviews that I did with detergent companies also boldly lied about their products telling me that they had to go through strenuous paper work, some companies made it sound like they went through military maneuver to receive the HE seal.There is no such thing as an energy saving dryer, yet Sears will commonly have an Energy Seal sign sitting on top of their dryers. I am in no means trying to sell you my book, but please visit my web site www.laundrywisdom.com and send me your questions and I will gladly send you my research and comments. I have found that Listerine works great in getting rid of the mold. Any fabric softener is a sure death to your machine. Please e-mail me for more informat

Izzy Lou
7/26/2010 2:18:30 AM
I am the owner of a GE Frontloading washer (and dryer). I am very pleased with the dryer and feel it is the best appliance I have ever purchased. However, the washer seems to work perfectly 75% of the time. It seems to have problems spinning out the water when I have a heavy item such as a bath towel washing with lighter items such as bed sheets. The cycle will finish but leave the items soaking wet. To spin out the water properly, I am forced to remove the items, set the machine to "rinse and spin" and wait through the rinse cycle, till the spin cycle begins. I then stop the machine and add the items, spin the items out, then repeat this procedure as many times as required! Unlike a top loader which allows you to select "spin" at will, a frontloader must go through a wash cycle before it will spin. And for this reason I get very frustrated with my frontloader. I find I can't always depend on the washer to spin the clothes out properly........but on the occasion it does......it is absolutely fantastic!!

HTurner
7/25/2010 7:24:58 AM
Unlike those who like their forntloader we have had our Kenmore set for nearly 10 years and I will never go back to top loader unless it is the newer design. No problem with soap in clothes, and I am able to use smaller loads in the light wash cycle or delicate cycle and can wash fairly heavy area rugs with no load imbalance. No problems with the machine except user error. Things left in pockets do wander down to water pump but that is our fault, and my husband is quite adept at fixing this probem. Our clothes are in better shape; there are many clothes I can hang up immediately with no dry time in the dryer or ironing. When I use the dryer much less lint in the screen, after all this is your clothes breaking down from abuse in the top loader agitators. If I notice it starting to get a bit smelly in the seal aorund the door I just get an old towel and run through the folds in the gasket and dry it out. I keep my door closed because of cats but my sister uses a strap to keep hers open to dry and that works well around a cat also. I can't keep mine open due to traffic flow by front of washer. When I read about complaints I think they have to be from a single bad machine or user error or poor installation. Front loaders have been used for years longer in Europe, they pay much less for theirs also, so the technology is there and it all makes so much sense.

Statik
7/23/2010 7:20:42 PM
We now have a front load washer which replaced our huge top loader. We have had breakdowns with both. The biggest problem with front loaders is that they don't hold as much. They are also more sensitive to water loading issues. I cannot wash more than one of our expensive Egyptian cotton towels at once as they hold too many pounds of water causing the drum to sink and the seal to break. If you are having suds/remaining soap issues, you are either not using HE soap, or you are using too much. Properly used, there is no soap left over. The cycles are longer, but the washing is done with gravity assist, not by the agitator alone as in a top loader. Yes, do your research, but don't knock the technology for user error. Statik

Mary Richter_1
7/23/2010 3:03:02 PM
I've had a Sears Kenmore HE2 Plus going on 4 years. I also bought one for my daughter at the same time. My daughter has 5 children, and her machine gets quite a workout. Neither of us has had any trouble with the machine. It takes my machine 56 minutes to do a regular load. I have never had soap residue in my clothes when they're done. My clothes are not very wrinkled when they come out like a top loader and I find there is also a lot less wear and tear on them and my bras don't get caught on the agitator. If you don't want to leave the door open, wipe the inside dry. I've heard of children drowning in top loaders. I don't understand why it would be dangerous to leave the door open as it needs to be pushed closed. This is one of the best investments I have made.

rebecca_27
7/23/2010 1:39:20 PM
I recently purchased a GE front loader and have had nothing but grief with it. The machine leaked water through my laundry room, dining area, wood floors and into our master bedroom in as little as fifteen minutes. I am so glad it wasn't discovered any later. The machine is always out of balance and am forever readjusting the heavy wet clothes. It is more work then I ever bargained for and it cost so much more including the pedestals for the bottoms of the washer and dryer. There is no such thing as a mini load in it. I would never buy another front load and I am interested in energy saver appliances but this isn't one of them.

sharon berrelez
7/23/2010 11:28:32 AM
I completely disagree with both previous comments. We have had our HE washer and dryer for 3 years and love them. But before we purchased them we went to a small non-chain appliance store and asked the owner what he would recommend. He said customer service really varies widely among companies but I can't remember which companies were horrible. He recommended Whirlpool because they have been manufacturing front loading washers in Europe for years and have stood the test of time. They had been making them years before any others. Yes, they do take about an hour to do a load, but I have never had issues with soap residue or producing mold smells. Keep in mind when you are shopping to test the height to make sure you can easily reach within a few inches of the inside barrel of the dryer when it is located on top of the washer. I am short and did not want to mess with stepping stools every time I had to empty the dryer. When we move and I need to purchase another set I will definitely go with Whirlpool again!

S Knapp
7/12/2010 2:33:02 PM
I have to completely agree with the previous poster. When my second son was born I knew our laundry needs were going to increase so we replaced our old 20 year old top loader with a front loader. Two years later it was broken and we were out $700. We hadn't bought the service plan which ran for $300, and it was out of it's one year warranty. The repair costs were going to be the same as an inexpensive top loader. We went with the top loader and it was still going strong 4 years later when we sold our house. In our new house we tried a more expensive front loader and we just had to replace it less than two years later. I will never get a front loader again. We carry our water so water savings is important but I can't take the environmental cost of buying a machine that will just break and go in the land fill. Recently I have heard that the machine repair men in town recommend always buying the very expensive service plan or not buying a front loader.

Barbara_87
7/9/2010 11:33:54 AM
I am so sorry to disagree with your article on energy effecient washing machines.There is no such machine.It's a fraud and has been all along.The cycles are increased from 30 minutes to an hour,yes they use less water but they don't rinse out the soap (even if you use less)and the door must be kept open or it begins to smell like mold.Dangerous with small children and curious animals. Horrible.Terrible purchase.A waste of my hard earned money and I believe a waste of energy (it uses more energy to run it than a normal top loader and if you have to re-wash to remove the soap add that into the mix.Please before you invest in a front loader, do your homework.Ask around. t's not a wise choice no matter what brand you select.Personally I bought the LG model. My co-worker bought Maytag. It too was horrible. If only I could toss it out and purchase another.... http://energystarfraud.com/history-of-fraud-on-the-energy-star-program







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