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Energy Efficient Laundry Practices

Oct 13, 2007
Saving energy and lowering the electric bill is on almost everyone's mind. There are lots of places to reduce our energy consumption, like heating and cooling. However, you can also save power by changing the way you do your laundry. The washer and dryer are the household's most forgotten major appliances, but they use a lot of power every week. Here are some things you can do to save energy while cleaning your clothes.

Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. Almost 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes to heating the water. Washing your clothes in cold water will make your electric bill drop, as well as keeping clothes from shrinking and colors from running.

Turn the water heater down. Many water heaters are set higher than necessary. Turn the dial on yours down to one hundred twenty degrees, or Normal, and save money. In addition, the risk of getting a serious burn from overly hot water is reduced. This can be a safety concern for homes with children, in addition to the increased energy use.

Keep the vents clean. If your outside dryer vent and lint trap become clogged, the dryer will operate much less efficiently. You might even have to run a load twice to get it all the way dry. Make sure to clean the lint trap before every load, and check your dryer vent if things seem less efficient than normal.

If your washer and dryer are old, consider replacing them with newer models. New dryers with moisture sensors stop running once a load is dry, and front loading washers use much less power, water, and soap to clean clothes. The money and energy you save will be well worth the expense of new appliances as the savings accrue over time.

If you can, skip the dryer. A clothesline is easy to set up, and gives your clothes a real, fresh smell that dryer sheets and scented detergents can't duplicate. It also saves power. In nice weather, put your clothes on the line and leave the dryer for rainy days. For apartments with no place to install a clothesline, wooden or metal drying racks can fill the same niche. These foldable racks allow you to air dry your clothes, and collapse for easy storage.

Don't wash towels after only one use. If each family member has his or her own towel, hang them up to dry and use them for a few days before laundering them. A single use won't dirty most towels, and you'll do a lot less laundry every week. That saves you time and money.
About the Author
Find out how to earn an income by teaching others how to inform people about reducing their utility bills at: Ignite and Stream Energy and explore the possibilities that energy de-regulation has created.
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