Erin Doman on January 5, 2016 5 Comments While it may seem like the cost of washing and drying a load of clothes is next to nothing, the cost can add up quickly throughout the year. This cost can be even higher if you are washing clothes for more than just yourself. Whether you are part of a full household that requires multiple washer loads to accommodate for everyone or you are just trying to save energy, there are things you can do to make your laundry room more efficient. Most expenses in the laundry room come from heating water or air for washing and drying. With 90 percent of the cost going towards heating water, only 10 percent goes towards the electricity needed to run the motor. However, there are ways you can save money and reduce energy, while still ensuring your garments come out smelling fresh and clean. Here are a few helpful tips for how to cut energy use in your laundry room. 1. Use Cold Water Since 90 percent of electricity costs go towards heating the water, you can save a bundle by using cold water to wash your clothes. This can also help reduce the risk of your clothes shrinking, or the colors fading. Washing in cold water costs about 4 cents per load, as compared to 68 cents per load in hot or warm water. The reality is that it is rarely absolutely necessary for you to clean your clothes in warm or hot water. Cold water will clean your clothes just as well. You can also save up to $30 per year with a gas water heater, or up to $40 per year with an electric water heather. Likewise, a gas dryer can cost 15 to 33 cents less each cycle than an electric one, which can cost anywhere from 32 to 41 cents each cycle. 2. Run Full Loads This may be one of the most basic tips, but it also happens to be one of the most neglected. There may be days you really need one shirt to be clean, but don’t have enough items to make a complete load out of it. It is essential to always make sure you have a full load of laundry to maximize the use of your money. It costs just as much money and uses just as much electricity to wash a small amount as it does a full load. If each load costs up to 68 cents, wasting that money on one shirt rather than a full load can add up. This can also eventually cause you to need to wash several more loads per year than you should. If you are in a situation where you need only a single article clothing clean on short notice, try washing it by hand instead. It is also important to remember that not all garments need to be washed after wearing them only once. Consider which articles of clothing need to be cleaned and reuse the rest to conserve electricity. There are deodorizes and germ-killing sprays you can use instead if needed. 3. Keep Your Machine Updated Out of date or old machines typically use more energy. Most newer models are certified energy-efficient washers and generally use only 15 gallons of water per load, compared to 23 gallons per load of the average older machine. On average, a gallon of water costs a penny. This means you can save about $24 per year with an updated machine. You should also consider purchasing a front-loading machine, which uses two-thirds less water than top-loading machines. With less water used per load, your energy costs could be cut up to 50 percent. This equals out to 18 to 25 gallons per cycle, as compared to 40 gallons used by standard machines. These machines can also last about five to 10 years longer than top-loading machines. 4. Choose a Fast Spin Cycle The spin cycle is used to wring out the clothes to get rid of excess water and prepare them for the dryer. The faster the spin, the more dry they will become. Choose the fastest spin cycle for your loads, as this can reduce the drying time needed. The less time needed to heat air, the more money you can save with each load. 5. Empty Lint Filters Frequently When it comes to your dryer, there are several ways to cut energy use in your laundry room. For starters, make sure the lint filter is empty. Not only can a full lint filter cause a house fire, but they can also increase energy usage and cause your clothes to dry at a slower pace. Be sure to remove lint frequently and clean the ducts annually. 6. Move Dryer to Warm Location While it may be tempting to locate your laundry room in a cold basement, it is not as energy-efficient as putting these appliances in a warmer room. If possible, locate your dryer in a warm room in your house, rather than a secluded room or cold basement. If the arm going in and around your dryer is warmer, this will cause less energy to be used to heat it up. 7. Don’t Mix Fast- and Slow-Drying Items Just like with the wash cycle, it is important that you only run the dryer when it is full. Thick sheets, towels and fuzzy blankets will generally take longer to dry than T-shirts and undergarments. For that reason, it is best to not mix fast- and slow-drying items. This can waste energy, as some items will be dry before the rest. Trying to dry clothes that are no longer wet is a huge waste of energy. 8. Take Advantage of the Sun Before technology allowed for washers and dryers, clothes drying was done solely by hanging garments on a clothesline outside. This worked great for many, and still does to this day. You can easily cut energy costs by drying your garments outside on a clothesline when the weather is warm. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, garments can also be hung on a rack inside to air dry. 9. Move Dryer to Outside Wall If your dryer is located on an inside wall, generally the exhaust air will have to travel farther from the machine to the outside. This can cause more energy to be used each cycle. If at all possible, try to relocate the dryer as close to the exhaust port as possible, and locate it against an outside wall. If you can reduce the number of bends in the pipe as well, do so. This can make the dryer work more efficiently. 10. Use Smooth Ducts Most machines are fitted with flexible, ridged ducts. Unfortunately, this type of duct makes it more difficult for air to flow. If your machine has flexible ducts and has to push exhaust air past the pleats, it will use more energy. Ridged ducts can also create a fire hazard in your home, as it is easier for dust and debris to become caught in the hot and confined spaced. Instead of using this potentially hazardous ducts, use smooth ducts to increase efficiency and reduce the turbulence. It is worth your investment to replace your old ducts with smooth ducts, as it will save you money and energy in the long run. Get the Most Out of Your Laundry Room Most people would agree that doing laundry is never a fun task. When you take high electricity costs and amount of energy used per load into consideration, it can be difficult to find the motivation to complete the task. By following these ten tips, you can cut energy use in your laundry room and ultimately save much more money than you otherwise would. Saving money and energy is something we are all striving for, and these simple tips can make this transition easy.