Clothing washers and dryers, collectively, use about 5 percent of the electricity in the home. And a water heater consumes about 14 percent. That’s why cutting energy consumption when doing laundry can result in noticeable savings on your electricity bill. Try some (or all) of these cheap power tips for your washer and dryer to see how much you can conserve.
What are some cheap power tips for my washing machine?
Next time you throw a load of laundry in your washer, try the following:
Wash with cold water
Using cold water to wash your clothes (unless they’re terribly dirty) is one of the easiest ways to cut electricity usage when doing laundry. That’s because the hot water cycle of most washers uses considerably more energy than the cold water cycle.
Take away the need for water heating, and you’ve just made your load more energy efficient. Plus, washing in cold water has additional benefits: It can help prolong the life of your clothing and reduces wrinkles and pilling.
Wash a full load, using the correct setting
According to ENERGY STAR, clothes washers use about the same amount of energy no matter the size of the load. That means it’s more energy efficient to run a full load than two half-full loads.
Also, choose the correct setting on your machine for optimum efficiency. For example, you don’t need to use the “Sanitize” or “Heavy Duty” settings for a regular load of clothes. And you don’t need to use the “Normal” setting when a shortened “Delicates” cycle would suffice.
These small changes can contribute to a more affordable power bill.
Wash clothes less frequently
We’ve been conditioned to toss a worn clothing item into the laundry basket, no questions asked. Next time, before you toss, use this cheap power trick: Use your eyes and nose to determine if something really needs to be washed. Maybe an overnight airing out would be sufficient.
If a family of four did this consistently, think of how much less laundry would need to be done over the course of a month.
What are some cheap power tips for my clothes dryer?
There are many ways to reduce the energy used for drying clothes. Here are a few:
Hang items to dry
Not using the dryer at all is the best way to conserve a dryer’s energy usage! And Texas’s warm climate makes line-drying clothes a real possibility for much of the year.
Try hanging a clothesline or two outside and pinning up a load of wet clothes. In addition to being a cheap power tip, hanging clothes to dry outdoors reduces wear and tear in the dryer and leaves them with a fresh, clean smell.
Shake out wet clothes first
If line-drying isn’t possible (or it’s just not your thing) you can try other cheap power tricks like this one. As you remove clothes from the washer, shake them out before you put them into the dryer. This will save your dryer the time and energy needed to expand the clothes from the condensed form they arrive in after the washer’s final spin cycle.
Run loads back-to-back
Using the dryer for two or more consecutive loads can be more efficient than doing the loads at different times. This is because, after the first load is finished, the dryer is already hot. The time and energy needed to heat it up for the next load is thus eliminated.
Dry like items together
If you can, separate loads based on fabric weights. You don’t want one heavy towel extending the drying time of a load of otherwise lightweight clothes. So, dry items like towels and heavier cottons separately from lighter-weight items.
Use wool dryer balls (or tennis balls)
Instead of a fabric softener sheet, use a few dryer balls. This helps air circulate in the load, speeding up drying time. (Clean) tennis balls also do the trick. In addition to upping your cheap power game, dryer balls help fluff up items like pillows and comforters and can also reduce wrinkles and static.
Empty the lint filter after every load
Pulling out the lint trap from your dryer and cleaning it after every load can help it run more efficiently. A full lint filter makes it difficult for warm air to pass through it to the outside vent, increasing drying time.
Clean the dryer vent
On top of cleaning the lint filter, you should also have the dryer vent cleaned once or more per year. A clogged vent can slow drying time, in addition to being a fire hazard.
You can either hire an appliance repair specialist to perform this task or do it yourself if you know how.
More tips to complement low-rate electricity at home
In addition to these cheap power tips and tricks, you can also become more energy efficient around your home. Here are a few easy tips to start optimizing other areas of your home:
- Use smart plugs to control electronics
- Minimize phantom load by unplugging unused devices
- Compare power consumption of your appliances and electronics with a watt meter
Do I need to find the cheapest electricity plan or cheapest energy company to secure affordable power?
It’s true that the cost per kilowatt hour (kwh) of your electricity impacts your monthly electricity bill. However, the solution is not necessarily to sign up with the cheapest energy company. That’s because cheap power is not always the best choice for your home, lifestyle or needs.
Many other factors should also be considered when looking for a new plan, including:
- What benefits, perks or credits offered by the provider that may be valuable to you
- The reputation of the energy company
- How long the energy company has been in business
- Other “extras” offered, including innovative tools to help you conserve energy usage at home
- Time of use discounts (like “free nights” or “free weekends”) that may help lower your bill, depending on your usage habits
- The term length offered, and whether it works with your current situation
Where do I find an electricity plan that will help me achieve a cheap power bill?
A successful energy plan search begins and ends with Everything Energy. With innovative shopping tools that give you the power to sort, compare and enroll, you’re sure to find affordable energy companies and plans that fit your lifestyle. Visit www.everythingenergy.com to search for free.