Considering the purchase of a new energy efficient washing machine this year? Read this post first.
According to the ENERGY STAR website, the average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry each year. In order for a clothes washer to be ENERGY STAR qualified, it must use 20% less energy and 35% less water than regular washers. ENERGY STAR washers also have a larger tub capacity for fewer washings.
Both top- and front-load washers can be ENERGY STAR certified. ENERGY STAR top-load models do not fill water to the top of the tub like standard top-load washers do. They clean by flipping or spinning clothes through a stream of water and have sensors to monitor water levels and temperature. Rinsing is also unlike traditional top-load washers; ENERGY STAR top-load washers rinse clothes with repeated high-pressure sprays rather than soaking. Front-loaders, on the other hand, simulate the motion of putting clothes in water by dipping them over and over via spinning. They only fill partially with water and spin faster to reduce drying time and energy consumption by better extracting moisture.
We have reviewed major brands and identified 8 of their most efficient washers for sale in 2013, based on ENERGY STAR ratings. These comparisons focus on two equations: Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and Water Factor (WF). Energy efficient washers have a high MEF and water efficient units have a low WF value. These numbers are often compared to Federal Standards as a benchmark. The Federal Standard MEF is 1.26 and the Federal Standard WF is 9.5. All 8 of our picks exceed the Federal Standards by varying degrees.