Clothes Washers

The average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry each year. ENERGY STAR® can help families cut their related energy and water costs. ENERGY STAR® certified clothes washers use about 25% less energy and 45% less water than regular washers. They also have greater tub capacity which means you can wash fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry. They are available in front-load or top-load models. The top-load models look like standard machines on the outside, yet they do not waste water filling up the tub. They clean using sophisticated wash systems to flip or spin clothes through a stream of water. Many have sensors to monitor incoming water levels and temperature. They also rinse clothes with repeated high-pressure spraying instead of soaking them in a full tub of water.

The benefits of ENERGY STAR® qualified clothes washers include:

  • Saves an average of 8 gallons of water per load, effectively saving you on water heating and septic system costs.
  • Uses 20% less energy and 35% less water than regular washers.
  • Uses less detergent per load. Always use HE (high efficiency) detergent. Using regular detergent creates too many suds, which will affect the machines washing and rinsing performance.
  • Features a tumbling action (as opposed to agitation) which is gentler on clothes.
  • Quieter than a conventional washer operating on a normal cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

ENERGY STAR® labeled clothes washers use superior designs that require less water to get clothes thoroughly clean. These machines use sensors to match the hot water needs to the load, preventing energy waste. There are two designs—front-loading and top-loading:

  • Front-Loading
    ENERGY STAR® qualified models are similar in design to washers used in laundromats. These horizontal-axis or tumble action machines repeatedly lift and drop clothes, instead of moving clothes around a central axis.
  • Top-Loading
    Some of these ENERGY STAR® qualified washers use sensor technology to closely control the incoming water temperature. To reduce water consumption, ENERGY STAR® labeled top loading clothes washers spray clothes with repeated high pressure rinses to remove soap residues rather than soaking them in a full tub of rinse water.

Check the yellow EnergyGuide label.
This label helps you determine how much energy it takes to operate the model, compare the energy use of similar models, and estimate annual operating costs. Learn how to use the EnergyGuide label.

Think carefully about the size.
While a larger model will obviously hold more clothes, it will also use more energy. On the other hand, a model that's too small will require a lot more clothes washing. ENERGY STAR® qualified models are also available in stackable and under-the-counter designs, which fit in smaller spaces.

Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor.
While ENERGY STAR® does not label dryers, you can reduce your dryer's energy use by choosing a model with a moisture sensor. This feature automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry, which saves energy and reduces wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

Choose a model with a high Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF) and a low Integrated Water Factor (IWF).
Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF) is a measure of energy efficiency that considers the energy used by the washer during the cycle and while on standby, the energy used to heat the water, and the energy used to run the dryer. The higher the IMEF, the more energy efficient the clothes washer. Integrated Water Factor (IWF) measures water efficiency in gallons of water consumed per cubic foot of capacity. The lower the IWF, the more water efficient the clothes washer. Both IMEF and IWF are listed on the ENERGY STAR certified product list.

Top-loading models look like conventional machines from the outside, but these ENERGY STAR® qualified washers use different types of washing action to get clothes clean with less water and energy. Many have sensors to monitor incoming water temperature closely. They also rinse clothes with repeated high-pressure spraying instead of soaking them in a full tub of water.

Front-loading models are similar to machines used in laundromats. They use a horizontal or tumble-axis basket to lift and drop clothing into the water instead of rubbing clothes around a central agitator.

Both top-loading and front-loading ENERGY STAR® qualified clothes washers save water and energy. They also use faster spin speeds to extract more water from clothes, reducing dryer time and energy use.

For both models, check to see if you need to use special detergent. Low-water washers use special low-suds detergent for best results. Ask your sales representative for recommendations on detergent use.


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