Tuesday, July 28

How does a front-load washer save water & energy?

A little over a year ago our 10+ year old washer and dryer stopped working (I don’t think it was a coincidence that they stopped working at the same exact time) I guess technically speaking they still “worked”; the dryer still spun but did not actually dry the clothes and the washer would still fill up with water it just wouldn’t drain out. You know, minor inconveniences ;-)

We decided to go ahead and replace them, with front-loading ones.

I knew that front loaders were “greener” in that they were suppose to use less water and less energy but I never knew exactly why/how.

So what do I do when I want to find out something?

Google it of course.

I am glad I did cuz I found this very informative Energy Star website that answered my questions and then some.

Here are a few of the things that I learned/confirmed about front-loading washers:
  • Use a horizontal or tumble-axis basket to lift and drop clothing through a small amount of water instead of rubbing clothes against an agitator in a full tub of water which dramatically reduces the amount of water used in the wash cycle.
  • Efficient motors spin clothes two to three times faster during the spin cycle to extract more water. Less moisture in the clothes means less time and energy in the dryer.
  • Have extremely efficient sensors to monitor incoming water temperature.
  • Rinse clothes with repeated high-pressure spraying instead of soaking them in a full tub of water.
  • Their gentle way of washing not only lengthens the life of often-washed items, many models can safely clean silk, wool and other hand-washables (I can vouch for that)
  • Without a bulky agitator, there is more usable space in the washer for laundry (including larger items like comforters). More capacity means fewer loads (Another thing I can vouch for. The sales rep told us that we can load it up with the equivalent of 21 large bath towels. I have found this to be true. Easily.)
  • When using front-loading washing machines you should use special HE detergent which are low-suds detergent and typically formulated to wash clothes better in cold water (again saving energy by not having to heat the water).
  • Use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When the machine is not in use, this seal can trap moisture and lead to mold. Leave the door ajar for an hour or two after use to allow moisture to evaporate. Make sure children do not climb into the machine while the door is open. (It is funny that they should mention this because just this morning I walked by the laundry room and saw 2 little feet sticking out of the dryer. My daughter was searching for her favorite pair of Cinderella underwear.)

It is amazing what you can learn with a quick Google search!

I would highly recommend perusing the website for yourself. They have lots of information about Energy Star; lighting, water heaters, rebates, purchasing locations, a kids page, FAQ, etc.


Sara said...

thanks for sharing! I knew some of these reasons, but not all.

I bought a front-loading machine when I bought my house a few years ago, and I love it. The only thing I don't like is that I can't just open the top and drop in the extra sock that I dropped on the floor on the way to the machine. Once it's running, there is no turning back!

oh well ... it's still fun!

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Your welcome Sara. I always like to know why and how and when I find out I like to share ;-)
I can add items to my washer after it has started I just have to be REALLY careful to only press the stop button once. I learned that lesson the hard way. Also, on mine, the child safety lock cannot be activated or else there is no stopping. But you are right, the lifting the lid method is much easier ;-)