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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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  • LYNN G. 20 days ago
    I am wondering the same thing about refrigerators and dishwashers? Any suggestions?
  • Alise H. 24 days ago
    the washer door works leaving open is an option
  • Cindy W. 24 days ago
    I have a LG front loader washer and dryer. I did my research and I must admit keeping the washer door open after use is something to keep in mind. I still love the machines and wouldn't trade them for my old machines. (Mainly because after so many repairs the old washer had died. :) and we donated the dryer to someone just starting out.) I bought the machines 9 years ago. They have a 10 year warranty and so far, 'knock on wood' they have been still operating without a glitch.
  • Joe Z. 1 month ago
    Modern high efficiency washers don't end up saving natural resources. Even if they use less water and electricity, they break down in 3-5 years and have to be thrown out. Older washing machines could last at least 10 years.
  • Joan S. 1 month 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.
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