How much water does a washing machine use? That’s the question we will answer in details here.
Washing machines are really important domestic household equipment. They are much loved for their efficiency in cleaning and drying our clothes.
If you have used washing machines for years to do your weekly laundry, you probably cannot imagine your life without an efficient washing machine.
We don’t just use them for the clothes we wear. We clean out blankets, bags and even shoes with these things.
Modern washing machines have been made to be more efficient in getting even heavier loads cleaned in shorter times.
Technology is improving the newer models of washing machines and it’s nice to see. We welcome anything that makes laundry easier. Isn’t that so?
More recently, the focus of efficiency of washing machines has been geared towards energy conservation.
Most washing machines use hot water cycles. The hot water used requires heating. And heating water takes quite an amount of electrical energy.
It’s logical to think that if the machine used less water to clean a certain amount of laundry, this would directly translate to lower energy consumption.
In a nutshell, energy efficiency now implies less water usage in washing machines.
Water Consumption Of Different Washing Machine Types
Water usage in washing machines is largely dependent on the type of washing machine, the model and the age of the washing machine.
Older machines will require more water over time to wash clothes effectively.
That said, the amount of water used by washing machines can be estimated based on the type of washing machine used.
Let’s consider the three main types of washing machines.
Top Loading Washing Machine
This type of machines are so named because the dirty laundry to be washed is loaded from the top of the machines.
Top loading washing machines are the least expensive and most traditional of all washing machine types.
They are installed with an agitator which rubs against the clothes quite aggressively to clean them.
This type of washing machine uses the most amount of water and is far from being as efficient as more modern washing machines.
Older versions of top loading washing machines could use as much as 45 gallons of water per load cycle.
More modern versions of this machine use about 40 gallons of water per load cycle. This is quite a lot of water when compared with more modern washing machines.
Front Loading Washing Machine
Unlike the top loading washing machine discussed earlier, front loading washing machines are loaded from the front door of the machine.
There are no agitators present in this type of machines. Also, these washing machines do not have their wash tubs fully loaded with water, as is the case for its top loading counterparts.
Front loaded machines are partially filled with water and the clothes gently tumble in and out of the water as it spins, and with the help of gravity.
This gentle washing method also produces less wear and tear on the fabrics. The sheer design of the front-loading washing machine helps reduce its water usage.
A typical front-loading machine uses about 20-25 gallons of water per load cycle. And this is about half of the water usage of the front-loading washing machines.
High Efficiency Washing Machines
High efficiency washing machines are the newest types of washing machines. Actually, they could be either front loading or top loading washers.
However, top loading high efficiency washers do not have agitators. Rather the agitators are replaced with impellers.
These are smaller than agitators and allow more gentle washing motion in the washing machine.
The objective of high efficiency washing machines is to utilize the smallest amount of water possible to wash clothes. This is done primarily to save energy.
High efficiency washing machines contain sensors to determine the exact amount of water that will be required per load.
With this, it’s no surprise that high efficiency washing machines are the most conservative when it comes to water usage.
A typical high efficiency washing machine uses between 15-25 gallons of water per load. In some machines, the number of gallons could even be lesser.
These machines could save up to 7000 gallons of water per year, according to the California Energy Commission.
As mentioned before, less water requires less heating energy for washing. There is an estimated 50 per cent energy saving acquired when high efficiency washers are used, according to Environmental Protection Energy.
Energy Star rated machines are said to average about 13 gallons of water per load. These energy star rated machines have a yellow energy star sticker on them.
The sticker indicates that they meet the standards of the government by using less water and power.
These star rated machines usually have bigger wash tubs and use high pressure sprayers to rinse clothes as opposed to the standard soak and rinse method of traditional washers.
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Things That Affect Water Usage in Washing Machines
Frankly, most of us are all for energy savings when it comes to using washing machines. If there are ways we can cut down on how much water we use to do our laundry, we should be made aware of them.
Washing cycles settings, load size and rinse settings can affect the amount of water used in our washing machines.
Heavy duty loads or washing a lot of clothes at the same time will naturally require more water.
Setting the wash cycle to use hot water increases energy consumption. Certain wash settings like the use of fabric softeners require deep fill rinsing. And this typically requires more water.
It’s safe to say that one has to keep an eye on our wash and rinse settings and consider how much more water we might be using.
High efficiency washing machines are built to ensure that the barest minimum amount of water is used for washing.
However, the way these machines are designed to achieve this goal is sometimes less than satisfactory.
It is a simple fact that you need water to wash clothes. High school physics and chemistry show that it is actually the water that does the dirt removal as it dissolves it.
Some high efficiency washing machines barely use enough water to get the clothes wet or soaked in its washing cycle. One wonders if this is a step too far.
Nevertheless, it is within our will to cut down on energy consumption by reducing water usage.
From our earlier discussion, this could mean ditching older, less efficient washing machines for more modern ones.
It also implies sparingly using wash settings that induce high amounts of water usage, such as deep feel during rinsing.
In a time where climate change is a hot topic to debate. Our contribution to keeping our environment safer and healthier could start from the little contributions and concessions we make in the laundry room.
So whatever energy saving mode you choose to adopt as you wash, always bear it in mind to reduce the amount of water you use. Let’s start there.