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Clothes Washer Wastewater Savings

In many places you are charged for wastewater based on the amount of water used. In some areas, wastewater charges are higher than water rates! Replacing your old clothes washer with a new high-efficiency model can save money on your wastewater bill in addition to your water bill. If wastewater is billed based on your water consumption, any water efficiency you achieve will also reduce your wastewater bill.

A recent study conducted in Seattle measured water use in single-family homes before and after installation of high efficiency clothes washers (DeOreo, et. al. 2001). Three different makes and models of clothes washer were tested and all three saved water (and hence wastewater) and all three received high satisfaction ratings from the study participants. Most major manufacturers now offer at least one high-efficiency model. The results are shown below in Table 1.

Table 1: Water use in homes with standard and high efficiency clothes washers

Avg. Volume per Load (gal.)
Avg. Gallons per Person Per Day
Non-conserving Home
Conserving home

High-efficiency clothes washers reduced the average volume per load by 40% overall.

What happens when a family of four replaces their old clothes washer with new high efficiency model? Figure 1 shows a projection of the difference in water use for the non-conserving homes. The family would save more than 8,000 gallons of wastewater per year by installing a high efficiency clothes washer.

Figure 1: Annual clothes washer use, standard and high-efficiency machines.

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