Replacing your old clothes washer with a new high-efficiency model can save water – lots of water. Clothes washing is typically the second largest user of water indoors after toilet flushing.
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 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. Hot Water volume per load (gal.)
||Avg. Loads per Capita per Day
||Avg. Gallons per Person Per Day
*Mayer, et. al. 1999
High-efficiency clothes washers reduced the average volume per load by 40% overall. Hot water use was reduced by 63% and per capita use was reduced by 38%.
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 water per year by installing a high efficiency clothes washer. Many of these machines will also reduce energy consumption by using less hot water and because they feature higher spin speeds and hence the clothes come out of the washer with a lower moisture content and require less drying time.
Figure 1: Annual clothes washer use, standard and high-efficiency machines.