This graphic from the EPA shows very clearly that washers and dryers are heavy users of energy, right up there with the fridge, which is often mentioned as a top energy drain. Even though your washer and dryer don’t run constantly as your refrigerator does, it still pays to do what you can to cut down on some of that high-energy use.
These tips come from energy.gov, where you’ll find 16 ways to save energy when doing laundry. Here are a few you may not have heard about before, and you’ll find the rest here.
1. Put right-size loads in your dryer. Of course, an overly full dryer will take longer for clothes to dry, but so can loads that are too small. With a too-small load, you also spend more per item to get those few items dry.
2. Air-drying wet laundry is a no-brainer as a way to save energy. And there are benefits to doing so: In the summer, hanging sheets outside can bring the smell of summer sun into the bedroom. In the winter months, hanging clothes indoors to dry can put much-needed moisture into the air. And in any season, air drying lingerie, sweaters and other delicates, as well as shrinkable or pillable clothing articles is a smart practice to keep the clothing wearable.
3. Switch loads while the dryer is still warm, to jumpstart drying the next load with the heat remaining in the dryer.
4. Use wool or rubber dryer balls rather than dryer sheets. They reduce static and also cut drying time. That is because the balls help separate clothes and get more air to them. Wool balls are also said to absorb some moisture, which also cuts down on drying time. If you do use dryer sheets, scrub the dryer’s lint filter once a month with a toothbrush to remove film buildup that can reduce air circulation.
5. Use the high-speed or extended spin cycle in the washer to remove as much moisture as possible before drying. This has two benefits: reducing drying time and also reducing wear on your clothing from the dryer’s high heat.
6. Consider purchasing a heat pump dryer next time you have to replace yours. While the initial cost is generally higher from conventional dryers, you can save 20-60% on energy use, as the dryers take in ambient air, heat it and recirculate it. Find more info about a heat pump dryer at Energy Star.