Eco-Friendly Washers & Dryers

Written by thomas urbauer
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Eco-Friendly Washers & Dryers
Some washers and dryers provide environmental benefits. (laundry dial image by Sirena Designs from Fotolia.com)

Eco-friendly washers and dryers not only benefit the environment but also offer consumers several benefits in the form of less energy usage, which equates to money savings on utility bills. Washers certified by Energy Star, a government program that identifies energy efficient and eco-friendly appliances, are a wise investment for buyers. Though Energy Star does not offer similar certification for clothes dryers, there are still features to look for to increase the environmental friendliness of your dryer, along with additional tips you should use.

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Washers

Eco-friendly washers use less energy and water than regular models. Another eco-friendly feature in several new washers is the larger capacity. This results in fewer loads of laundry, which can significantly reduce total energy and water usage. Washers that qualify as Energy Star models use an average of 30 per cent less energy and 50 per cent less water than their less eco-friendly counterparts, according to the Energy Star website. When purchasing an eco-friendly washer, look at the EnergyGuide label for specifics on energy use. Consider whether a large capacity model will save energy in your household. Those with considerable laundry will benefit from a large capacity washer, but those with a limited amount of washing to be done may see more savings from a smaller model, which will naturally use less energy to operate on a per-load basis.

Dryers

You will not find an Energy Star label on any clothes dryer, due to a government sponsored study, which showed that dryers do not differ substantially in their energy usage. Likewise, dryers are not required to have an EnergyGuide label. However, there are other steps you can take to make your clothes dryer as energy efficient as possible. Some dryers feature a moisture sensor, allowing the machine to turn off when it senses that the load of laundry is completely dry. Look for this feature when purchasing a new dryer. Use a high or extended spin cycle on your washer if available to reduce time required in the clothes dryer. Always clean the dryer's lint filter before use to maximum energy efficiency of any model. The Energy Star website also suggests allowing clothes to air dry when possible, thus entirely removing the energy usage of the clothes dryer.

Energy Star Appliances

To be rated as an Energy Star appliance, washers must meet both general requirements for all appliances and others specific to washing machines. All appliances displaying the Energy Star label must offer substantial energy savings while still offering the features and benefits consumers are seeking. They must also be priced competitively against their less energy efficient counterparts, or offer consumers the chance to recover any additional costs through reduced energy bills. The energy efficiency of these appliances should also be verifiable through testing and information made easily available to consumers when purchasing. Specifically, washers must be 30 per cent more efficient than their counterparts and offer a capacity of at least 1.6 cubic feet to qualify for the Energy Star label.

Modified Energy Factor

The modified energy factor is a measurement of the energy efficiency of eco-friendly washers. This is a mathematical formula, which uses the energy and water heating energy used by a given washer, along with the energy from a dryer needed to dry the clothes. When making a purchase, look for washers with a higher modified energy factor, indicating better energy efficiency. Washers carrying the Energy Star label are required to have a minimum modified energy factor of 1.8.

Water Factor

Water factor is another term you will run in to when looking for a new clothes washer to purchase. This is a number indicating the amount of water the washing machine uses. In this case, a lower number is better. A maximum water factor of 7.5 is allowed for washing machines with the Energy Star label, according to the Energy Star website.

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