High-Efficiency Washers and Dryers

It can be difficult to make your home as energy-efficient as you want it to be. You know you’re spending too much on utility bills, but where do you start? Solar-powered water heaters are nice, but a solar panel installation may be more than your budget allows. If you’re looking for ways to save on home energy costs, your laundry room is a good place to start. After all, most of us use our washers and dryers regularly, making them some of the most common sources of household energy waste.

Upgrading to high-efficiency (HE) appliances can be an investment against the rising cost of future utility bills. These appliances may cost more up front, but they are significantly more affordable to operate, as they save both water and power. HE washers, for example, are designed to clean clothes without relying on an agitator, resulting in a 20 to 66 percent reduction in water usage. The savings continue from there. Less water used for washing means less water that needs to be heated. That can mean 20 to 50 percent less energy on your electrical meter, giving you long-term savings and benefiting the environment at the same time. With energy and wastewater savings of $50-90 a year, it’s possible to recover the difference between HE and conventional appliances in about three years. Government and state tax credits offered for upgrading can also help offset the price.

Here are some of the other benefits HE appliances can offer:

  • They can extend the life of your clothes, since they employ a tumble process rather than an agitator.
  • They use two-thirds less detergent than conventional machines.
  • Detergent is rinsed out more thoroughly, which is better for your skin.
  • Front-loading machines can wash large or bulkier things like quilts, down sleeping bags, or pillows.
  • Many models offer steam-cleaning modes, great for even the most delicate fabrics.
  • A more efficient washer means a more efficient dryer, too. Less heat is necessary to dry the same size loads from a conventional washer.

After purchasing a HE washer, it is vitally important that you use only specially-formulated high-efficiency detergents. These cleaning products are expressly designed for the distribution and washing cycles of HE washers. For one, these detergents produce fewer suds because they are designed to bond to dirt and soil particles. This insures the dirt doesn’t simply get re-deposited into the clothes as they are being tumbled. The detergents are also formulated to disperse more quickly in water, pulling more dirt away from the clothes in the spin cycle. Using a conventional detergent will upset this process. It will produce more suds, which actually ends up leaving your loads less clean. When shopping, look for the HE symbol on the detergent box or bottle.

When it comes to making energy-saving changes to your home, they don’t have to be expensive. Considering starting the process by upgrading your appliances. These machines see use on a regular basis, which means you will start seeing the return on your investment, and benefits for the environment, right away.


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  1. This article should be titled "High Efficiency Washers and Dryers...Do not buy them from Sears."

    The customer service is a joke if any repairs where ever need to take place. Even under their great "warranty" plan. You will talk to 14 people per phone call, none of which have any idea what they are talking about, or how to use the information that they have (if they even have any). In my circumstance, a repair part was ordered for my washing machine. The part was supposed to arrive in a couple of days. Two weeks later, still no part. After talking to 14 different employees over the phone, I was told the following:

    1. We cannot determine whether or not your part has shipped. Our computers do not allow us to find that information.
    2. Your part has shipped and is scheduled to arrive in 3-5 days (technician had been scheduled already to install the part, and will now have to be rescheduled.)
    3. The part did not ship. Don't know what is wrong.
    4. The part has been shipped, and will be there tomorrow (in time for technician to install part, because he was already scheduled).

    This made me feel better, as I thought the repair might actually happen. Never mind the 2 hours that it took for me to finally get the last answer (that the part was on the way). The funny part is that all I asked each of the different people was "what is going on with my repair part?"....They had no idea that each one gave me a different answer. What a bunch of clowns.

    Then, the next day I receive a call from Sears...The part is now on back order, and they have no idea when it will be available to ship. So, either I have been lied to 4 separate times, or Sears representatives don't care at all about customer service. Good thing I sprung for the warranty... I have sworn never to buy a single appliance (or anything else) again from this place. They have lost all sense of service and they deserve every bit of bankruptcy that is heading their way.

    Do not buy from Sears. You will regret it.

  2. Mine started vibrating on the first spin cycle. Repair person replaced something and helped for a while. I didn't buy the insurance. Needless to say I am looking for some one to haul it off for me as the vibration is unbearable. I put an old Kenmore back in to use.

  3. I have a Kenmore Elite Washer that I purchased 2 years ago. The machine is great and cleans perfectly. BUT, the liquid bleach dispenser that we never use has completely rusted. When you pull up the cup, there is rust underneath that is no getting on to my clothes. Today I pulled out my white sheets to see speckles of rust on it. Has anyone else have the same problem? I called Sears and in their very nice manner they said i'm out of luck b/c rust is never covered under anything. So, essentially I am SOL. Just wondering if I have any options here.

  4. I would like to add that the Kenmore HE frontloader that I have cost me $600.00 and I was told by a repair technician that the life of this machine is ONLY SIX YEARS!! I had my Kenmore toploader for over fifteen years! Where is the savings here?

  5. It is not cost efficient if your clothes come out smelling like a wet dog and you have to wash them again. The top loaders that filled with water were the best. The Kenmore HE frontloader I have does not clean my clothes. Sometimes, I presoak them, which results in more water usage, and sometimes, I wash them twice, which also results in more water usage plus electricity to run the machine and more detergent. I have to use Febreeze and fabric softener sheets to make them smell fresh, which doesn't really work and results in more money being spent. Then you have to wash your HE frontloader by running a washing machine cleaner through it (more expense). If you use bleach to clean it, you have to run another rinse cycle afterwards to make sure there is no bleach left on the drum. More water, more electricity. You have to leave the door open between washes to make sure the drum dries out. My washer is in my kitchen and is part of my "cabinets" and this is so inconvenient. I HATE MY KENMORE HE FRONTLOADER and wish I never bought it. I would love it if they started going back to the old top loaders that use 50 gallons of water per wash. I don't live in the dessert and there isn't a "water" shortage problem so what is the big deal? Nothing like your clothes being completely soaked and washed.


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