Did you know that up to 90 percent of the cost of washing clothes comes from heating the water? That's why it pays to choose energy-efficient laundry appliances and use them wisely. In fact, replacing a 10-year old washer with a new EnergyStar-qualified model can save up to $120 per year on your utility bills!
Front-loading washers do offer some significant advantages over top-loaders. Instead of a vertical agitator that turns back and forth, the drum of a horizontal-axis washer rotates like that of a clothes dryer, rolling clothes through a small pool of water. This allows more room for larger loads, shorter and more efficient spin cycles, less detergent required and fewer repairs.
The greatest benefit of a front-load washer is energy savings – because it uses so much less hot water, you’ll save up to $100 a year on water heating! One minor drawback is the need for special "low-sudsing" detergent, which is slightly more expensive.
Other new washer features available include:
No matter what fancy new features you choose, it always pays to get the largest capacity washer you can afford. You'll fit more clothes into one load, saving time and energy; if you need a smaller load, you can adjust the water level accordingly.
Clothes dryers are also offering more specialized and energy-saving options. Look for a model with a moisture-sensing feature that shuts off the unit automatically when clothes are dry, rather than using a timer. Other handy features include sneaker or sweater drying racks, self-cleaning or oversized lint filters and special cycles for the new home dry-cleaning kits.
If you're short on space, take a look at "stacked" or "combination" washer-dryers. A stacked unit places the dryer directly above the washer; this style is available from most national brands.
Specialty manufacturers like Equator offer integrated units that wash and dry in the same washer-size tub. These appliances have the additional advantage of being vent-free, so they can be placed along interior walls.
Looking for an energy-smart appliance retailer? Try Alliant Energy's online Dealer Locator to find experts in your area.
Easy energy savers
Maintaining your laundry appliances