Let’s face it: there’s probably never a great time to have to think about buying a new washer dryer set. But one upside is that it gives you an opportunity to make an energy-efficient change for the better on three important energy resources – water, electricity and possibly gas. We’ve seen many improvements in this appliance category, from purely aesthetic tweaks like designer colors and sleek styling to practical design innovations that make them more energy efficient.
Just by doing a little bit of homework, you can easily find a great washer dryer and save a load of cash while you’re at it.
Four Washer Dryer Buying Guidelines
Since being energy efficient is a big deal for our customers, we started our search for washer dryer facts by visiting the ENERGY STAR® site. ENERGY STAR labels help consumers identify energy-efficient products among similar performing appliances. In addition to a nice recap on new washing machine technology, ENERGY STAR offers four main guidelines for shoppers:
1. Get a dryer that has a moisture sensor — There’s a reason you won’t see an ENERGY STAR logo on a dryer: none are very energy efficient. However, opting for one with a sensor that tells the machine to shut down when clothes are dry does help reduce wasted electricity. If you really want to make an impact on energy savings in the laundry room, consider using a low-tech old-school method – clotheslines!
2. Understand the EnergyGuide label — Those bright yellow labels are there to help consumers understand exactly how much the appliance uses and translates that usage into dollars, so make sure you know how to read one. It’s also where you’ll find that ENERGY STAR label, which means your washer will use about 37% less energy and over 50% less water than an old washer.
3. Don’t buy a washer that’s too big (or too small) — It might be hard, but before you fall for one of those dazzling red washer dryer pairs, pick a set that’s “just the right size” for your needs.
4. Look for high Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and low Water Factor (WF) — MEF is calculated based on the combined energy used to heat the water plus wash and dry a load of laundry. A high MEF means greater efficiency. By contrast, you should aim for a low Water Factor washer, which uses less water. Both figures can be found in the list of ENERGY STAR qualified washers.
Additional Resources For Washer Dryer Buyers
Even though you might be abandoning your old washer dryer set for newer models, don’t forget that you can help your old appliances find new lives when you recycle them. Many stores will take care of this for you when they deliver your new washer dryer set, but you can also find a recycling facility near you if you’d rather.
And for additional shopping help, it’s also worthwhile to check with Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that empowers consumers and has tested a bevy of both washers and dryers. Their results show that you don’t need to pay hundreds of extra dollars for an appliance with countless bells and whistles. There are plenty of reasonably priced washer dryer sets that do a great job without breaking your bank. And while you’re thinking “efficiency,” take a moment to visit BrightenSM Energy Savings Solutions, an online resource from TXU Energy, for more eco-friendy ideas in your home.
Got more washer dryer shopping tips you can share with us? Share your comments below!