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Because You Asked

Because You Asked: When Should I Replace My Washing Machine?

By Recyclebank |
No one wants to waste a functional appliance, but what if a newer model could aid your conservation efforts? Here’s how to weigh the pros and cons.

Dear Recyclebank: My washing machine is one of the big water users in our house. It's over 10 years old. Should I replace it for the water savings, or run it as long as possible since it's not broken? How should I get rid of it when I do replace it? –Barb E.

Dear Barb: It’s admirable to want to keep your good quality machine, rather than jumping ship for the newest model right away. That said, appliances continue to make great strides in efficiency, and it is definitely worth comparing your options.

Since you purchased your current machine ten years ago, the Department of Energy has established efficiency standards that reduce water usage for washing machines by 19 to 35 percent, depending on the model. Since your washer is one of the largest water users in your household, the potential savings from a new machine would likely add up quickly. Water use isn’t the only factor you’ll want to consider, though. A washing machine also contributes to your home’s energy use, and the new efficiency standards have reduced electricity consumption by new machines by as much as a third. Certain models may even exceed these goals; the EPA and Consumer Reports have both noted potential reductions of over 50 percent. These energy savings, even more than water savings, can have a substantial impact on your monthly bills.

Appliances also lose efficiency over time. Your washing machine may be using more water than it used to in order to rinse the same amount of laundry, or may be using more energy to compensate for mechanical issues. If you’ve noticed increases in your bills, consider whether your laundry may be the culprit. If your machine still seems to be working at its highest possible efficiency, you may want to keep it around a bit longer since the energy and water used to mine materials and manufacture new machines would probably make your potential impacts somewhat of a wash (pun intended!).

SOURCES: Consumer Reports, ENERGY STAR, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy

Have you replaced your washing machine with a greener one? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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  • Joan S. 21 days ago
    We bought a efficient front loader, and I hate it. We have a tankless hot water heater. Because the front loader has a cycle of filling, then swishing to sense the water level,the only way to get hot water to it (without using the 3+ Sanitary hour cycle) is to run the hot water in the kitchen sink for a while to keep the hot water in the que. That counteracts the efficiency. It does not clean as well as my old machine, you have to leave the door open so the inside can dry out - another pain because mine w/d is in a closet. I wouldn't be surprised if there is not some mold somewhere in the washer. We try to be very conscientious in our life, but I will get rid of this asap.
  • Jennifer S. 23 days ago
    When you can't repair it anymore than replace it!!!! Otherwise you are just adding more garbage to landfills unjustly.
  • Sandy P. 24 days ago
    The washer I bought several years ago senses how much water to use based on the amount of clothing you place in it (top loader). It cleans very well, but I always try to pretreat difficult or greasy stains.
  • Tasha G. 24 days ago
    works for us
  • Kym M. 25 days ago
    The new HE washers are not as great at cleaning as the old style washers that used an obscene amount of water to clean. We live on a property with a well. This pushed us to replaced our 20 y/o washer with a high efficiency top loader. With a lot of trial and error and practice, I have been able to figure out how to get the clothes mostly clean. The spin cycle is wicked and as many others have said, gets the clothes pretty dry so they don't take as much time in the dryer. I wish they could make these washers "better" because it sure doesn't clean as well as our old machine. It does do the job for the most part and I am saving water.
    • Jennifer S. 23 days ago
      I agree, The older models were built better & lasted longer. Newer washer do not last as long either. They are made of plastic, not that big old steel washer I wish I still had. LOL
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