Don’t wash money down the drain: Tips for saving energy in the laundry

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Heating water is one of the most energy-draining tasks around the home. Find out how to reduce this drain in the laundry.

Around one-fifth of the water used in the home is used in the laundry. And a lot of energy is expended to heat this water for cleaning, and again to heat it for drying. Fortunately, the laundry is ripe for opportunities to reduce energy wastage and save money

Washing machine

    • Cold wash — Up to 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes into heating up the water. To avoid this huge energy spike, you can wash your clothes in cold water. This is a great option for clothes that are generally dirty and works fine the majority of the time. For heavily sullied items or whites, though, hot water may be necessary to get out all of the stains. This might mean you’ll have to group heavily soiled items together for a hot wash.
    • Cold rinse — Yes, this tip is quite similar to the last — but — cold rinses can be used for every type of clothing situation, regardless of dirtiness, so activate that.
    • Laundry sink — A dripping tap is akin to pouring money down the drain. It costs money to use water and to heat it, too. A small drip, depending on its frequency, can result in dozens of litres of wasted water, and that’s just from one tap. Hiring a plumber to fix this and other piping problems will save you money in the long run.
    • Front-loader — In general, front-loading washing machines are superior to top loading ones. When washing, front-loaders are more gentle on the clothes, and when drying, they spin more water out. They use less energy and water, up to 70% in some cases, than top-loaders. And they’re cheaper, too!
    • Pipe insulation — Copper pipes can be insulated in rubber tubing to maintain consistent temperatures and thus save power.
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Clothes dryer

    • Don’t use one — There are many instances when a dryer is convenient, but in many others, it’s not necessary. Clothes last longer when they’re air-dried. A clothes horse, washing line, or any other horizontal plank will do just fine.
    • Lint — Lint filter, clean it. Not only will cleaning the filter increase the efficiency of the dryer, but it will also prevent catastrophic house fires that can spark from a full filter.
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General tips

  • New machine, better machine — It may well be worth investing in new machines. Aim for a top-loading washing machine and also the Energy Rating system. Most washing machines and clothes dryers have the starred rating system. The Energy Rating system makes it simpler to choose an efficient device. It takes into account and adjusts for the unique features of each appliance, and so it might be a good idea to take the products’ Energy Ratings into consideration. Recently, the star system has incorporated another 4 stars for super efficient products and can now have a total 10 star efficiency.
  • Operate when full, not too full though — Just like the tip suggests, only operate a machine when it’s at capacity: washing machine, clothes dryer, and dishwasher. With clothes, however, they can be over-packed and not rinse or dry properly, thus requiring a second cycle and a waste of power.
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Take action today

And with that, we part ways. We hope you can now keep an ecological eye on your laundry, spotting beneficial changes that we didn’t even mention — make sure to let us know of any tips you have, in our comments.

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