How to pick an energy and water efficient washing machine

The washing machine is the rare appliance which has both energy and water savings considerations. If you are concerned about sustainability, as more and more of us are these days, it can be hard to find a washer that is efficient in both regards. 

Here are some tips for guiding you through the washing machine maze.

Features

Most laundry doesn’t actually require hot water to get a good clean. In fact, hot water can work against you because it sets protein-based stains (these include blood, dairy products, bodily fluids, baby formula, baby food and even mud.) Plus, using cold water is better for preserving fabric dyes.

The latest washing machines are technologically advanced enough that they can effectively clean clothes with just cold water. This is a great development because, according to Sustainability Victoria, running the cold water mode can reduce your washing machine’s energy consumption by up to 80%!

Another feature that’s helpful for economising on clothes washing is a delay start option. This allows you to delay the start of the wash cycle by specified lengths of time. Take advantage of this feature to set the washing machine to run during off-peak hours when energy and water rates are lower.

 

Euromaid Front Load 8kg WM8 with 4.5 Star Energy Rating

Euromaid Front Load 8kg WM8 with 4.5 Star Energy Rating

Size

Naturally, the bigger the machine, the more it costs. However, it actually makes sense to fork out a little extra for a larger washing machine because then you can wash larger loads, which means less wash cycles overall!

Standards

Be guided by the water and energy rating labels which all washing machines are required to carry by law. This is the best way to compare the efficiency of different models and is a pretty simple method: the more stars, the more efficient the machine is. To paraphrase both the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) and Energy Rating schemes, an efficient appliance is one that uses less electricity/water to perform as well as similar models with the same size and capacity.

 

Beko WMB 751441 LA 7.5kg Front Load Washer with 4.5 Water Rating

Beko WMB 751441 LA 7.5kg Front Load Washer with 4.5 Water Rating

Front Loader vs Top Loader

On average, front loaders tend to be more expensive than top loaders, but, according to the savewater! Alliance, they use up to 70% less water, so the costs even out in the long-run. If you intend on getting a top loader, look for one that has a customisable water level setting so at least you can control how much water you use in each load. For more details read our FAQ on how water and energy efficient top vs front loader washing machines are.

Good luck!

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