Energy efficient washing machine? – Could you be saving more?

Many people don’t know what a good washing machine should cost to run, and many people don’t know what they could save by upgrading their current washing machine to one that is more energy efficient. In the following post I will be looking at a few things:

  • How many loads of washing the average American family does
  • How much the average American family spends on electricity
  • How much water the average American family uses
  • How much electricity does a washing machine use
  • How much water does a washing machine use
  • How much energy could be saved by using a more modern machine.

By knowing these few things, we can then start to understand how much you can potentially save by being more energy efficient.

From here on when I say “the average family” I will be referring to a family of 2 adults and 2 children.

How many loads of washing does the average family do a year

The Average family of 4 does some 400 loads of washing per year. How many would that be per week? Well there are 52 weeks in a year so 400 loads / 52weeks is 7.69 per week, to make it easier we will say 8 loads per week for the average family of 4. Sounds like a lot of washing to do each week, that 1.14 loads per day.

How much the average American family spends on electricity

Electricity bills vary quite a bit from state to state in America with the lowest average bill being $75.96 a month in New Mexico and the highest being $146.09 a month in South Carolina. So what would the average monthly bill be then? To work this out I used data from U. S energy information administration website which showed that there was 131,068,760 customers in 2016 using electricity.

 

Taking the total average energy used by all states “897kw/h” and multiplying it by the average cost of electricity “12.55 cents per kw/h” to get an average monthly electricity bill of $112.59

For further reference we shall use $112.59 for the average monthly electricity bill.

How much water the average American family uses

The water use of a family can vary from many factors, such as how long a shower you take, how often you flush the toilet, how many loads of washing you do per week and so on. Without going into every aspect of water usage and fees, we are going to work on an average figure.

Multiple sources online state that the average water usage for a family of 4 is roughly 350 gallons per day. Some families may use more or less water then this amount. This means that in a time frame of 30 days a family of 4 can potentially use some 10,500 gallons of water. That’s the same as a pool that is 48inches deep and 21ft round.

When comparing it to something you can visualize (like a pool), you really start to get a feel of just how much water we use. On average water is charged at $0.00295 per gallon, so going off the figure of 10500 gallons in a 30-day period you could expect to pay $30.975

How much electricity does a washing machine use?

You could probably guess that older washing machines use more electricity and water then the newer modern versions available. It is estimated that modern washing machines can be up to 60% more efficient then your older style models.

Older washing machines use can use up to 1300watts of energy whilst newer models claim to use as little as 400watts. To give you an idea of what it would cost to run different wattage machines I have made a table showing the difference in costs of higher and lower wattage.

In this table I choose a cycle time of 90mins, an electricity cost of $0.1255kWh and a frequency of one load of washing per day, using cold water only.

Energy table Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4 Scenario 5 Scenario 6
Wash cycle time 90mins 90mins 90mins 90mins 90mins 90mins
Electricity cost per hr $0.1255 $0.1255 $0.1255 $0.1255 $0.1255 $0.1255
Wattage of machine 1300w 1000w 800w 750w 500w 400w
Cost per HR $0.1632 $0.1255 $0.1004 $0.0941 $0.0628 $0.0502
Cost per day $0.2447 $0.1883 $0.1506 $0.1412 $0.0941 $0.0753
Cost per month $7.44 $5.73 $4.58 $4.29 $2.86 $2.29
Cost per year $89.33 $68.72 $54.98 $51.54 $34.36 $27.49
kWh per day 1.95 1.50 1.20 1.13 0.75 0.60

As you can see the wattage of your washing machine plays a huge part in you electricity costs. Using hot water can increase cost up to 80% more.

How much water does a washing machine use?

As shown in the previous section older machines use more resources in this case water. An old washing machine can use up to 40 gallons of water per load whereas compared to some lower performing “newer” machines using only 27gallons per load. 27 gallons per load for a lower performing machine? Sounds better then 40 gallons… But the high performers out there can use as little as 14-7 gallons per load, WOW.

How much energy could be saved by using a more modern machine.

Judging by the data above, it would seem that there is room to save a little on our electricity and water bills. But just how much could we save? To give you an idea I have made up a few examples of what you could be paying yearly for machines on the lower and higher resource usage scale.

Scenario 1: Older machine

Your washing machine is 19 years old, it has an average wattage of 1300watts and uses 40 gallons of water per load. Your family does 8 loads per week using cold water in this machine and uses a normal cycle that takes 90mins.

A 90min cycle in a 1300watt machine costs $0.2447 per load, 8 loads per week is $1.9576 x 52 weeks in a year comes to $101.7952 in electricity. The machine uses 40 gallons per load with water charged at $0.00295 per gallon = $0.118 per load. Doing 8 loads per week you would pay $0.944 weekly and then 52 weeks in the year resulting in a yearly cost of $49.088.

The sum of electricity and water comes to $150.8832 yearly

 

 

Scenario 2 : Average modern machine

Your washing machine is less then 5 years old, it has an average wattage of 800watts and uses 27 gallons of water per load. Your family does 8 loads per week using cold water in this machine and uses a normal cycle that takes 90mins.

A 90min cycle in a 800watt machine costs $0.1506 per load, 8 loads per week is $1.2048 x 52 weeks in a year comes to $62.6496 in electricity. The machine uses 27 gallons per load with water charged at $0.00295 per gallon = $0.07965 per load. Doing 8 loads per week you would pay $0.6372 weekly and then 52 weeks in the year resulting in a yearly cost of $33.1334.

The sum of electricity and water comes to $95.784 yearly ( a saving of $55.0992 compared to the older machine)

 

Scenario 3 : High end machine

Your washing machine is brand new, it has an average wattage of 400 watts and uses 14 gallons of water per load. Your family does 8 loads per week using cold water in this machine and uses a normal cycle that takes 90mins

A 90min cycle in a 400watt machine costs $0.0753 per load, 8 loads per week is $0.6024 x 52 weeks in a year comes to $31.3248 in electricity. The machine uses 14 gallons per load with water charged at $0.00295 per gallon = $0.0413 per load. Doing 8 loads per week you would pay $0.3304 weekly and then 52 weeks in the year resulting in a yearly cost of $17.1808.

The sum of electricity and water comes to $48.5056 yearly ( A saving of 102.3776 vs old machine and a saving of $47.2784 vs average modern machine)

 

As you can see from the results above you can potentially save some money by upgrading to a newer more efficient machine.