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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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  • Mary F. 19 minutes ago
    I took my son's advice and bought an energy efficeint washer. i hate it .... there is barely any water, I 've had the repair man out 4 times and I asked him if he could raise the water level and he cannot.. I wash and rinse small loads 2 times.. I cannot wash a quilt or blanket.. When it was delivered they asked me to keep it but I refused. Never again I should have known
  • Sandra G. 11 hours ago
    One way to save on water, electricity, and wear and tear on the machine is not to do so much laundry. Hang on now....we hang our bath towels on individual rods and reuse several times. You shower, so you are clean, and the towel is just wet. Same things on sheets. You are clean when you go to bed so why wash sheets so often? I think we do a lot of laundry out of habit. Even the denim jeans manufacturers say not to wash your jeans every wear unless they are truly dirty.
  • Deirdre B. 3 days ago
    wow i've never had a washing machine last that long. mine just broke and i'm weighing my options.
  • erica m. 5 days ago
    When switching to a HE washing machine, it took me a few trials-and-errors to realize it was important to recognize the machine is really different than the old style one. Learned a ton by studying the manual. Had to change a few habits, like leaving the door open to dry out to prevent mold.
  • pat r. 6 days ago
    I replaced my old washer with a new energy efficient model. It does not clean the clothes as well which causes me to have to wash twice sometimes.
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