Water, Energy and Rebates - Here's How to Save
You may be surprised to know that in the average Hunter household, one of the appliances that uses the most water is the washing machine. By replacing an old washing machine with a new, water efficient model, you could save up to two-thirds of the water you previously used in your old washing machine. Washing and drying your clothes also accounts for 3% of the average household energy bill. To start saving energy immediately simply switch to washing your clothes in cold water. This can reduce energy use by up to 80% when compared to washing in warm water.
If you're thinking about buying a new washing machine have a quick look at the information below. We've tried to simplify the mass of information in the market to help you decide which machine best suits your needs. And if you've already decided upon the washing machine you want, but are interested in details of government rebates and the savings you can make, just click here.
Thinking of a new Washing Machine? Consider the Following.
There are two types of washing machines - top loaders and front loaders. These tips should help you decide which is right for you:
Most top loaders wash by using an agitator. The agitator sticks up through the centre of the drum and vigorously twists and turns the washing. This process removes dirt quickly but is quite rough on clothes. Less common is the impeller method which has an open drum with a small 'bump' in the base - the impeller. This creates turbulence in the wash which acts to clean clothes.
Advantage of Top Loaders over Front Loaders
- Generally cheaper to buy
- Faster normal program wash cycles
- Easy to add clothes once a cycle has started
- Generally have better rinse performance
- Lighter and easier to move
- Slightly fewer break downs and repairs compared to front loaders
Need to consider
- Generally top loaders are harsher on clothes
- Can use up to three times as much water as front loaders, so check the WELS star rating*
- Use more energy when washing in warm to hot water, so check the energy star rating*
- Use more detergent
- Cost more to run
- Top loader impeller models tend to tangle clothes more than agitators, which mean they may also go out of balance more frequently
- Front loaders are gentler on clothes
- Uses less water
- Uses less energy than a top loader (when washing in warm water)
- Use less detergent
- More programs, and higher temperature wash options
- Cheaper to run
- Can be more space efficient as a dryer can be stacked on top
- Front loaders can have longer washing cycles (sometimes up to 2 hours) so look for a machine that has 'fast-wash' options for lightly soiled clothes
- Generally front loaders are more expensive to purchase, but are cheaper to run
- Higher spin speeds. Less water and higher water temperature options can mean more creases, so look for a machine that has 'anti-crease' cycle options
- Unlike top loaders some front loader models do not allow you to easily add clothes to the wash load after the cycle has started
- There are reports that front loaders have louder spin cycles and some people are sensitive to the pitch, so consider where you will be placing your new washing machine
- Tend to weigh more than a top loader
- Some models need special brackets if placed on a wooden floor
- Australian Government (2009) Water Saving Appliances
- Australian Government (2009) Water Efficient Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme
- DECCW (2009) NSW Climate Change Fund: $150 washing machine rebate
- DEWHA (2009) Green Loans: what could you be saving? Fact sheet
- Choice (2009) Washing Machine Buying Guide
Front loaders work by gentle turning the washing over and over in a tumbling action.
Advantage of Front Loaders over Top Loaders
Need to consider
How do you know the water efficiency of a washing machine?
The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme* is the Australian water efficiency labelling scheme that requires certain products to be registered and labelled with their water efficiency.
The WELS water rating label is similar in appearance to the energy rating label, and provides water efficiency information for water-using products. The label shows a 0 to 6 star rating and a figure showing the water consumption flow of the product based on laboratory tests. The higher the star rating, the more efficient the appliance.
How to Keep Saving
The State Government is offering rebates for the purchase of new washing machines with a WELS rating of at least 4.5 stars. For details of this rebate simply click here.
To help Australian families with the cost of installing water saving and energy efficient products the Commonwealth Government is offering interest free Green Loans of up to $10,000. A Green Loan does not affect or make you ineligible for any available Government Rebates. To find out more about Green Loans click here.
* Please refer to the Together Today Glossary for more details