How Much Electricity Does a Washing Machine Use?

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Doing laundry can be a costly affair. After buying a washer and dryer, you still have to pay for detergent, dryer sheets and electricity on a regular basis. Electricity is arguably the least of these costs, since in 2011 you can do a month's worth of laundry for less than $3.

Typical Electricity Use

  • Washing machines typically use 350 to 500 watts of electricity, or between 0.35 and 0.5 kilowatts. According to the Otter Tail Power Co., you use your washer for seven to 40 hours per month, depending on how many loads of laundry you do. Your dryer uses between 2 and 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. At the average cost of electricity, the monthly cost of washing your clothes ranges from 23 cents to $2.33.

Energy-Efficient Models

  • Washers made in the 20th century are less efficient than newer models. According to Energy Star, older models use 130 percent of the electricity and 150 percent of the water used by energy-efficient models. Look for the Energy Star logo when buying a new washer.

Using Less Electricity

  • You can also use less electricity by washing your clothes in cold water. Energy Star estimates savings of $35 per year doing this alone. Reduce your electricity use even more by washing only full loads of laundry.

Renting Vs. Buying

  • It may be more cost-effective for you to eliminate a washer from your home altogether. If you bought your washer, divide its cost by the number of months you plan to live in your home and add to the result the monthly cost of electricity for washing clothes. If you didn't buy your washer, just multiply the monthly cost of electricity by the number of months you plan to live in your home. Compare your monthly cost to the cost of using a local laundromat and determine which is the better deal.

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