If you've been using your parent's avocado-colored washing machine for the last 20 years, chances are you won't see an Energy Star seal within a 10-foot radius of the thing. It's going to cost a little money up front, but when you replace old washers and dryers with Energy Star appliances, you can reduce water usage by up to 50 percent while also reducing electricity and natural gas. According to Energy Star, if every American purchasing a washer this year chose an Energy Star appliance, the country would save 790 million kilowatts of electricity, 32 billion gallons of water and 2 trillion BTUs of natural gas. That's a lot of energy savings!
Whether you have an Energy Star appliance or not, you need to take steps to conserve energy when doing your laundry. Simple changes, such as waiting until you have a full load before running the washer and washing clothing in cold water, can really pay off. Energy Star points out that 90 percent of the energy it takes to run the washing machine comes from heating the water. If you cringe a little at washing your duds in cold suds, pick up a laundry detergent such as Tide Coldwater to do the dirty work. Tide Coldwater gives you a brilliant clean at lower temperatures.
Dryers are certainly convenient, but people got by without them for a long, long time. Ask yourself if you have what it takes to ditch the dryer altogether and dry your clothes on a drying rack or clothesline. You'll save energy and money, and your clothes will retain their color and feel softer for longer.
Admittedly, doing away with the dryer isn't doable for everyone. If you just can't part ways, make over your routine with the following tips:
If you're one of the 32 million Americans who live in apartment complexes, use the common-area laundry room whenever possible. According to Laundrywise, in-unit laundry washers use an average of 11,810 gallons of water each year, while common-area laundry rooms use an average of 3,595 gallons annually per apartment. Electricity and gas savings are also approximately five times higher when common-area laundry rooms are used. This is primarily because people do larger, more efficient loads in common-area laundry rooms than they do when using an in-unit machine.
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