Live Green and Earn Points


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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  • tommy b. 2 days ago
  • Ralph D. 10 days ago
    Ralph D. I walk along the side of rural roads. With gloves on I pick up the trash discarded out of car windows. The cans and bottles that have a deposit I recycle them at a local recycle center and get 5 cents each. All the other items are put in the trash or recycle bins picked up weekly by the town trash hauler.
  • PC M. 17 days ago
    I kept our first washing machine (Top Loader) 28 years and only got rid of it due the stainless steel tub sprung a leak. I also replaced the belt a few times & lubed a few parts over the years. We replaced our old Top Loader with another Top Loader(9 yrs now). Our dryer is >37 years old and still drying well.
  • Melissa D. 21 days ago
    Put a few ounces of vinegar in the softener dispenser. It helps get out more soap because it reduces the sudsing. It also helps with the yucky front loader smell. Leave the door open to let it dry between loads. If u need more water put it in thw detergent dispenser after it fills up.
  • Audrey N. 21 days ago
    My boyfriend bought a new washer and it’s one of those that sense the amount of clothes and add the right amount of water. I can’t stand it. It’s impossible to fill the washer up to soak something and you end up rinsing an extra cycle or two just to get the detergent out no matter how little you add. Whoever thought of that was definitely a man.
    • Peg P. 21 days ago
      Mine also has an auto fill sensor but additionally gives the choice of small, medium, large or extra large loads. I choose the load one size up from what I really need (i.e. extra large when I only need large) and that gives me the extra water I need. It also wears less on clothes since they aren't packed as closely.
    • Audrey N. 21 days ago
      I didn’t know it would make a difference with the “smart” washer. Thanks for the info.
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