Washing machines are a fast and more efficient way of washing your laundry at home. But how much water do they use?
Doing your laundry consumes water with a washing machine consuming a significant amount of it. According to research by the Water Research Foundation 2016, a washing machine accounts for around 16% of an individual’s total water consumption. With most US States and communities enforcing water restrictions and climate change occurring, it’s important to be aware of how much of this important natural resource we use. Besides, you also get to save on costs if you get your water and sewage treatment from the municipality.
The amount of water a washing machine uses on average is 19 gallons per load depending on the type of washing machine, model, capacity, load size, how old the machine is, cycle type, and if it has an Energy Star certification or not.
An average family in the US does around 300 loads of launder a year. This makes laundry a priority in saving water. Based on the average amount of 19 gallons per load, an average household runs between 5 – 6 loads a week which means that the machine uses around 5,600 gallons of water a year.
Factors that affect a washing machine’s water use
The load size significantly affects the washing machine’s water use with larger loads requiring more water. When doing laundry that contains bulky items such as coats, jackets, and beddings, you may need more water to achieve proper cleaning. The wash cycles are another thing to consider when washing clothes. Heavy-duty cycles may consume more water compared to normal cycles. The washing machine’s rinse settings also play a huge role in water consumption with the Extra Rinse or Fabric Softener setting causing the machine to consume more water.
This is a lot of water to use on washing alone. However, high-efficiency washing machines are more water-efficient compared to older models. Most of these high-efficiency washing machines are ENERGY STAR certified hence consume around 33% less water and 25% less energy than a regular washing machine. This can save a household around 1,400 gallons of water a year on average.
The standard washing machine uses a top-loader with a vertical-axis drum, needs enough water to suspend the laundry in the soapy water while cleaning the clothes to try and remove the stains and dirt. This limits the washing machine from efficiently using the water. On average, this type of washing machine consumes between 40 and 45 gallons of water per load depending on the model with newer models consuming as little as 9 gallons.
For high-efficiency washing machines whether a top or front loading uses less water and energy making them more efficient. Besides water and energy, these washing machines use less detergent, are more gentle on your fabric, and less water requires heating. Most of them on average use between 15 to 30 gallons of water per load. The most efficient of them use less than 5 gallons per load.
How to save on water
There are various ways you can save on water. First, get the right washing machine. Get yourself a high-efficient Energy star labeled washing machine with a front-load design. However, if you wish to go with a top-loader, then choose one with high-efficiency.
The second way to save on water is by choosing the right load size and cycle. The best thing to do is to wash a full load of laundry to save on water. In case you have few items to wash, then take time and adjust the settings to the least capacity as much as you can. You can also skip the extra rinse cycle unless you really have to. If your clothes have stains, then you can pre-treat them before washing them.
Another method you can use to conserve water is by not doing laundry anyhow. We like tossing clothes that can be worn again into the laundry basket. You try on a cloth and then toss it on the floor come laundry day, you carry it along with dirty laundry.
Leeakges are a contributing factor to water consumption. A small leak can cause a significant increase in your water bill. Your washing machine sink can be consuming water even when not in use. Therefore, it’s important to do maintenance on your laundry room by checking your washing machine for any leaks. Pay attention to the hose pipe and its connection, and on the floor, you should check for puddles. The hoses should be replaced between 3 to 5 years as a burse hose can not only increase your water bill, but it can also cause extensive damage to the house.
Despite washing machines use a lot of water, some use less than others. The amount of water consumed is an average figure which depends on several factors. However, the water-saving tips apply to all washing machines.
Does the amount of detergent used affect my washing machine’s water use?
Yes, the amount of detergent used influences the amount of water a washing machine uses. To ensure that the machine uses enough water, use the right amount of detergent. Alternatively, use a concentrated detergent.
How do I tell if my machine is high-efficient?
Check for the Energy Star and see how many stars are displayed. The more the number of stars, the more efficient the machine is.