Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Apr 12

How to save energy (and time) in the laundry room

over and under washer and dryer

My laundry room. Believe that? I've got a bridge to sell you . . .

Efficiency in the laundry room is not what you think it is. Well, OK, it does start with exactly what you think it is. You want the washer next to the dryer. Not on a different floor, not in a different room, but next to each other. Close enough that it’s an easy move from the washer to the dryer, and from the dryer to the folding table. No cat box under the folding table (for many reasons, just trust me on that). But that may not be efficiency, that may just be ergonomics. Or semantics, I don’t know.

The face of efficiency

I can tell you this. Being the launderer in the family, my idea of laundry efficiency began with the biggest capacity top rated Energy Star washer and dryer I could fit down the basement stairs, because fewer loads is most efficient. (NOT lazy- efficient!) And Energy Star appliances make sure that I use as little energy as possible when I’m doing laundry. It’s like the Energy Star people had a hidden camera on me.

No, wait, Energy Star means my washer and dryer use as little energy as possible. Which is a great thing.

Vann’s has just partnered with the Energy Star Retail Partnerships, a sub-section of the EPA, to promote Energy Star products. Which was really a formality, because we’ve been recommending top rated Energy Star products in our stores and on our website for years. Energy Star just makes sense, from an economic and an ecological standpoint, making Energy Star a no-brainer for multiple reasons.

Washers are Energy Star rated, (the Whirlpool Duet washing machine being just one example of Vann’s top rated Energy Star washers) and you should take advantage of this. Interestingly, a washer’s Energy Star rating is judged on two things, actual energy consumed and how much water is used during the washing process (which is especially important if you live in an arid area). If you really want to maximize your top rated Energy Star washer’s efficiency, use a lower temperature setting for the water. Changing from a hot wash to a cold wash will save 50% every time you launder.

Even though the dryer is the second largest user of household energy (behind the furnace), annoyingly, there are no Energy Star ratings for dryers. Most dryers use about the same amount of energy when drying clothes, but there are things you can do to make your dryer more efficient. Use the moisture sensor, if it’s available, so the clothes aren’t getting heated and spun after they’re dry. Empty the vents after every use, because free flowing air is more efficient than blocked air (and it helps prevent fires). And, surprisingly, use the fastest spin cycle setting on your washing machine to remove excess water and speed up the drying process. This is really where you can save on washer / dryer energy, with a faster spin cycle setting.

The last time we went shopping for a washer and dryer, we came home with the Whirlpool Cabrio, now the Duet. The Duet dryer has four temperatures, moisture sensor and the ability to time dry if needed all of which appealed to our energy conscious side. And we did see a drop in our energy consumption, but that may have been the fact that we were replacing a dryer that was new during Prohibition (OK, I exaggerate . . . mostly), and was, by comparison, so inefficient.

The Duet washing machine was a top-rated Energy Star washer, and has saved us water and energy since we purchased it. And, I would go straight for the Whirlpool Duet appliances again because they’ve worked so well for us. The manufacturers, and Vanns, recommend that you purchase your washer and dryer as a matching set. No, not because they look good together, but because they’re designed to work together. The washer sets up the laundry for the dryer, making the dryer more efficient. Study after study has proven that the small premium you pay when purchasing Energy Star appliances is repaid and much more over the life of the product.

While finances have a lot to do with purchasing any top rated Energy Star appliance, it is far from the only reason. Less energy use is greener, so it’s better for the planet, which passes along a better place for your children to live. Just like grandma’s china and Uncle Ralph’s ’56 Chevy Impala, you’re entrusted to pass things along to the next generation, gently used.

Not a bad plan, and Energy Star helps make that happen.

Why Energy Star is important

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