Monday, January 23, 2012

Is Your Laundry Room Costing You Money?

The price of energy is going up all the time, and you're probably looking for ways to save on your house bills.  As it turns out, your least favorite room may be one of your biggest energy hogs.  I'm talking about the laundry room.

Now, you can save all sorts of money if you're willing to stop washing your clothes, but I'm guessing you're not looking to go that route (and all the folks you work with appreciate that).  Let's take a look at some more practical ways you can save money in the laundry room.

1. Avoid washers and dryers with lots of fancy features.

If you're shopping for a new washer and dryer, stick to the basics.  More expensive machines may have extra cycles, electronic control panels, and other fancy features, but they don't wash clothes any better than basic units.  Those perks usually just add to the operating cost of the machine.  (Not to mention, more doohickeys means more doohickeys that can break, requiring the hiring of a repairman...)

2. Use cold water.

A hot water load uses four times as much energy as a cold water load.  You may want to do your whites in hot, but towels and linens are fine in cold.  Actually, the majority of your clothes are fine done in cold water, unless they're very dirty (just make sure to use liquid detergent, as some powders only dissolve in very hot water). 

3. Don't use "warm-rinse" cycles.

Many of the washers on the market today feature warm-rinse cycles.  According to experts (yes, there really are laundry experts), you never need warm water to rinse your clothes, and you can waste $50+ a year on this feature.

4.  Nice day?  Dry your clothes outside.

Hanging a clothesline between two trees won't cost you anything beyond the initial investment of a package of clothespins from the dollar store.

5. Clean the lint trap.

Assuming suggestion #4 didn't fly for you, and you're sticking to your dryer, at least make sure you clean out the lint trap after every load.  The dryer actually has to work harder, thus using more energy, when the trap is full.

6.  Don't use the maximum dryer setting.

Unless you're doing a load of towels or other hard-to-dry items, don't use the dryer's maximum setting.  A middle setting (between minimum and maximum) works fine for most clothes.  In addition, it saves you pennies a load, which adds up to hundreds of dollars over the life of your dryer.

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