Clothes Washers and Dryers
Hot water accounts for 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes. Choosing the warm setting instead of hot can reduce a load’s energy use by half; choosing cold reduces it even further. Cold-water laundry detergents save energy as well – modern detergents are as effective in cold water as in hot. Washing in cold water saves energy because the water heater does not have to run as often. Using the soak cycle when washing heavily soiled clothing helps reduce the chance of having to wash clothes twice to get them clean, which saves energy.
For even greater efficiency wash only full loads, and select the appropriate water level for the load size. Do not overload the washer or dryer; clothes may not get clean and you may need to dry them more than once.
To save energy when using your clothes dryer, clean the lint filter after each load so air circulates better, and periodically inspect and clean the dryer’s outside exhaust vent. A clogged exhaust vent lengthens drying time and increases energy use. A clogged exhaust vent also is a safety hazard, as the lint in the vent can ignite and cause a fire.
A dryer’s cool-down cycle will reduce energy use by letting clothes finish drying using the heat trapped in the drying chamber. Compared to a dryer’s timed setting, the moisture-sensing setting saves energy because the dryer quits running at the optimal time instead of running the full time selected.
Dry towels, heavy cotton clothes and bedding together, separate from lighter weight clothing. In the winter, humidity provided by drying clothes on drying racks is welcome.