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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: stevedoug on January 06, 2014, 09:08:56 AM

Title: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: stevedoug on January 06, 2014, 09:08:56 AM
I have a washer in dryer in my condo, that will eventually be converted into a rental (1 to 3 years down the road).
Both appliances are electric.
The dryer is 'original' from around 1986, and is extremely inefficient. It gives off tons of heat, and makes a comical amount of noise.
Some of the tub/motor assembly is slowly wearing out and makes a terrible noise. I repaired it once, and it lasted about 6 months.

I think long term a purchase of a more energy efficiency solution may pay off in the long term.

Are the front load "High Efficiency" dryers a lot more energy efficient? does anyone know of any resources that give me some numbers? same for washers?
IE if they are 10% more efficient it will take quite a long time for me to reap the benefits.

TL;DR: do you have information for a ROI of a energy efficient washer/dryer?
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: AtlStash on January 06, 2014, 09:54:49 AM
stevedoug, Try the link (  It has a good calculator and explanation.

Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: stevedoug on January 06, 2014, 10:40:53 AM
stevedoug, Try the link (  It has a good calculator and explanation.

Wow, that is perfect.
Thank you very much!
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: Greg on January 06, 2014, 12:42:36 PM
More savings would be had if you also changed the washer to a front-loader with a high speed spin.  This makes line drying very fast, and save on dryer use cost if line drying isn't done.

About front load washers from the above linked website:
Front-loaders cost about $100 more than top-loaders, but common savings are $100/yr.  The only time a front-loader won't pay for itself is if you already use cold water almost exclusively, and you do a lot less than the average 7.5 loads per week.
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: Thegoblinchief on January 06, 2014, 01:02:05 PM
Make sure to research reliability, though. (Anecdotally) I know quite a few people that have issues with their HE washers, especially all of the electronics on the control panel, whereas I've had zero issues with my 7 year old low-tech but Energy Star rated (at the time) top load washer.

Now that I'm line drying I guess an extra high-speed spin would be nice, but my clothes are almost always dry within 24 hours.
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: Michread on January 06, 2014, 01:47:03 PM
Front loaders are notorious for not lasting!  Get a he top loader.
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: Dr.Vibrissae on January 06, 2014, 02:35:00 PM
My in-laws are getting us a new energy efficient washer and dryer as a Christmas/New baby gift (one string attached, no naming the baby after a dead rockstar ;) like we do with the pets).  The link was great for helping me decide against another gas dryer, the cost savings is not that great, and with the electric I can definitely take it with me when I move in a couple years.

My FIL is insisting on the top-loading washer.  He got a front loader a few years ago, and had huge reliability problems, so much so, that he replaced it with a HE top-loader two years ago, which he loves. 
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: stevedoug on January 06, 2014, 03:15:29 PM
great information.

I was considering the top loaders to save space in my small-ish condo.
But I will look into reliability... I don't want to buy a new one in 4 years. So maybe a top loader HE is best.

Anyone have any links to reliability info? I feel like this is an area where consumer reports would come in handy?
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: TGod on January 06, 2014, 03:21:26 PM
This is a timely thread. We just decided to buy a new washer & dryer (I know, I know...look for a used one). My dad is an electrician and just installed a energy meter in our house yesterday (or "smart" meter has a fatal error so it's not recording or doesn't show us what it's recording, and has been like this since we moved into our house in August, but they're in no rush to fix it, one guy told me that they'll just back estimate our usage, the other guy says he's sure it's still collecting our energy usage we just can't see it...u can believe I'm gonna fight 'em if they give me an insanely high bill when they finally get it fixed...but I digress).
Anyway back to the laundry...the meter my dad hooked up shows that our dryer is using about 6500 watts compared to the lower wattage of the newer ones. our dryer which came with the house is older (20 years?) and takes about 2.5 cycles, yes that's right about 2.5hrs to dry the clothes. There's heat coming out and it's spinning, there is good airflow from the vents etc, so we can't figure out what's wrong with it. With the meter attached it shows us that its running at 6500 Watts, so more than the newer ones, in addition to the fact that it takes over twice as long to dry stuff it's costing us money.  The washer, though seemingly solid is really hit and miss in terms of how wet the clothes are when they come out, sometimes they are soaking other times they are fine we can't find any rhyme or reason to it.
We decided to take advantage of the boxing "week" sales at home depot and buy a mid-range, well reviewed set which will be delivered in a month and allow us to take advantage of the 6-months no interest payment plan.
Of course, I woke up this morning with a big purchase hangover, which I never used to get before MMM. All day so far I've been questioning our decision, should we just stick with the old one, tear them apart, try and fix them, or continue to keep my eye out of a well priced used set. Egad!!!
Anyway, the point of this rant is that in my old house I had a front loader, was fine, bit stinky but we were rural so we pulled water from the creek so I'm sure that had something to do with it, but generally my clothes were pretty clean and we hadn't had any repair issues with it since it's purchase in 2006 (lots of laundry, diapers etc so it's well used) This one at the new house is top loader and generally doesn't get things as clean. I'm seeing a fair amount of comments in MMM and elsewhere that people generally aren't happy with the front loaders.  What gives? What types of problems are people seeing with the front loaders?
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: Greg on January 06, 2014, 03:35:34 PM
A lot of problems are two basic areas; musty smell from residual water in the machine, and expensive and complex electronics repairs.  The first problem is easy to fix, leave the door open between loads.  The second problem is trickier, I always recommend the most basic models, preferably without digital displays and touch-controls, which always seem to go bad early.

My very basic stacked GE/Whirlpool front-load machine's been in service for 13 years without issue or any service.  The first few years we did a load daily for cloth diapers.  Now it's 1-2 loads per week.
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: Frankies Girl on January 06, 2014, 03:53:56 PM
We have a very old washer and dryer - from the late 80s/early 90s. I'm sure they aren't energy efficient at all, but just had a plumber in to clear a clogged line, and he said that the front load HE washers aren't all that great from a plumber's point of view, because they are so low flow they don't have enough water in the cycle to clear the soap and dirt build up compared to the regular, and they sludge up more than regular washers - so you have to run a cycle using the special "washer cleaners" just to clear the gunk and that same gunk can make your machine and clothes smell bad (especially around the rubber seals). And that can also cause the sludge to build up more in your pipes since there's not as much water blasting through them...
Title: Re: High Efficiency Washer/Dryer
Post by: stevedoug on January 09, 2014, 08:56:14 AM
Lots of good real world examples in here.

A key benefit from the HE front loaders is the stackable nature. That will save some space in my condo.
I'd love to see some real world (non anecdotal) evidence of reliability rates of top load vs front load. And I strongly agree with a few posters that getting a non-fancy pants model makes the most sense. No touch buttons, crazy electronics, displays, etc.