Laundry may be one of those dreaded chores but did you know that your clothes dryer can account for six percent of your household electricity use? Drying machines may be one of the biggest energy hogs but your washer can also use a good chunk of energy. The good news is that there are many ways to save money and energy in your laundry room with or without energy-efficient appliances (though we strongly encourage the use of ENERGY STAR certified products). We do want to point out that it is always the best option to wash cloths and then dry them outside using the sun and breeze, but we realize that is not always possible.
While you may only do a few loads each week, here are some tips on how you can save:
- Wash with cold water. Using warm or cold water can save up to half of a load’s energy use and many high-efficiency detergents can be used in cold water.
- Fill your loads! A washer uses the same amount of energy no matter what size load you put in.
- Spin on the high-speed setting to help remove as much moisture as possible.
- Separate heavy and light items into different drying loads. All the heavy items should go in one since it would already be a longer cycle and the lighter items should go together as it will be a shorter drying time.
- Make sure everything is untangled and put into the dryer one piece at a time. This can help reduce the drying time as there is space and air between items.
- Dry full loads, but don’t overdo it. If the load has too much the air circulation is reduced and will create longer drying times.
- Keep the lint filter and vent clean. Having the vent clean allows for better air circulation and having the lint filter clear decreases the possibility of a fire. The vent should be cleaned at least once a year while the lint filter should be cleaned after every load.
- Use dryer balls (made from wool or rubber) that help separate your clothes and keep things moving around. The wool balls are known to absorb moisture and cut drying time (staff at NeighborWorks love these!)
- Don’t add wet clothes to a load you’ve already started.
- Switch loads while the dryer is still warm. This will help the next load dry even faster.
There are so many ways to save money and energy in your laundry room. Remember, if you can, line dry, it’s free! Using energy-efficient appliances can also be a big help. Most importantly, make habits out of these tips to reduce your energy consumption with every load and save money every time! Not sure if your appliances are out of date? Consider having a whole-home energy audit where auditors can help you discover ways of saving and cutting back on energy consumption. Visit www.heatsquad.org to find out how you can schedule your audit.
Authors: Bailey Aines, part-time employee, and Svea Howard, Communications and Outreach Coordinator.