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Save Money with Your Laundry - 5 Ways to save on energy bills.

If you're looking for ways to reduce your household spending as well as utility bills, consider addressing your laundry costs. You may be using your washing machine or dryer more than you need to, consuming unnecessary electricity and clocking up avoidable costs. There could be other savings to be made in your daily wash cycle too. Here are five tips for cost-effective washing and drying of your clothes.

1. Use low-cost settings

The higher and lower settings on your washing machine correspond with differing electricity consumption, and for some loads, a low-energy setting will suffice. Garments that have hardly been worn and just need freshening up, for instance, will do fine with a brief, gentle wash, which will be cheaper than a long, hot one with fast spins.

Divide your laundry into separate piles for different settings as appropriate. This may seem a bore but will soon become routine and will pay you dividends in the long run. If you don't have enough clothes in the pile for a full load, you can economize further still with the half-load setting.

2. Invest in Energy Star Washers and Dryers

When you need to buy a new washer and/or dryer, purchase Energy Star certified units. They will reduce your utility bills by about 25%. While the up front cost may be a couple hundred extra per unit, they will pay for themselves (as the result of lower energy bills) within a matter of months.





3. Use detergent sparingly

Washing powder is an expense that's all too easily overlooked. Prices vary but they soon add up, whichever brand you buy, so use yours sparingly. You may apply the standard, recommended quantity with every wash, but light loads and barely soiled clothes won't need the full quota, so cut back as you see fit.  Fabric conditioner is an extra expense, so use that sparingly, too, or cut it out altogether because it's not essential.

4. Use cold water

Wash your laundry in cold water. The EPA estimates it can reduce your utility bills by about half. As it is estimated that 50 to 70% of the power used in a washing machine is when it heats up the water – therefore using cold water will save you substantially.

5. Dry naturally when possible

While cutting back on your washing expenses, consider your drying costs, too. The longer and faster the washing machine spins, the more electricity it will burn, and the same applies to tumble drying, of course.

If you have a backyard, balcony or another outdoor drying place, use that instead whenever the weather permits. Why use expensive electric drying methods when fresh air and sunshine will do the job for free? If you have no outdoor drying area, or if it's raining, open your windows wide and arrange your clothes on rails or chair-backs to dry indoors - you'll be freshening up the rooms at the same time.

6. Wash and dry clothes off hours

A few dozen states, and dozens of utility companies, have plans in place in which they charge households more money for when they use electricity during peak consumption – demand periods. What that means is when many people all turn on power/electricity, the demand is higher so utility bills are higher. Therefore wash your “cloths” off hours. The Department of energy estimates you can save 10 to 20% on utility bills 9if your company has this rule) by doing laundry after 7pm or before 3pm.

7. Only wash clothes when essential

If you're a heavy user of your washing machine, see if you can cut back a bit. You may be able to reduce the number of washes per week, and the length and power of each one, without compromising hygiene or appearance. Outer garments, which don't have direct bodily contact, may not need frequent washing, especially if they're worn indoors or under coats, away from mud and dirt. Clothes worn for a short time may be clean enough to wear again, perhaps several times, while little marks can be brushed or dabbed away manually.





8. Wash by hand

If you only have a few clothes for washing, or garments that only need a swill, you could wash them by hand, saving all the costs involved in a machine wash. This can be done quickly and simply, and at next to no cost, while you save up your dirtier clothes for the next machine wash.

Now consider your other electric appliances to see what further economies you can make. Every dime you save on utility bills at home can be spent elsewhere - like on other essential needs!

By: Jon McNamara


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