We all need clean clothes and clean dishes, and nothing can set a household back quicker than when the washer and dishwasher are on the blink.
If your top loader or front loader is reaching the end of its life cycle, and if that mechanical pot scrubber’s just not doing the job like it used to, try to hang on for a few more years.
That’s because the U.S. Department of Energy, as authorized by Congress, is requiring these indispensable home appliances to be more energy efficient, and this efficiency includes water usage. Improved washers won’t be available until the 2015 model year, so it might be worth it to stretch a year or two more out of what’s in the laundry room right now.
Under the new washer standards:
- The historically more popular top loaders, which typically cost less than front loaders, will have to be 33 percent more energy efficient and slice water usage by 19 percent.
- Front loaders will be required to use 15 percent less electricity and 35 percent less water, impressive given the fact that front loaders are already water misers as opposed to top loaders.
Compared to existing models, DOE projects that a typical household could save as much as $350 in energy costs over the life of a new washer. That’s typically seven to 10 years, a lifespan shortened, of course, with larger households and more frequent use.
Water savings are also impressive: DOE estimates a savings of 10,000 gallons (that’s 250 baths) per typical household, per year.
Under the new dishwasher standards, which will be required on the 2013 models:
- Energy efficiency increases 15 percent
- Water usage will be cut by 20 percent
According to the DOE, washers and dishwashers account for about 3 percent of your household’s electricity usage and about 20 percent of your water bill.
Always look for the Energy Star label and the yellow Energy Guide tag (attached to appliances) that shows energy costs. The Energy Guide can help you compare electricity costs among models, a big help with shopping.
With utility costs rising, purchasing more energy-efficient appliances is a good way to cut the cost of living — and cleaning.