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Buying a Washer & Dryer

Top or Front Loader Washing Machine:
Top loaders are easy to use because you don’t have to bend down to put in and remove the clothing. Front-loaders use 65 percent less energy and a third less water because their tubs don’t fill up the whole washer. They tend to be less noisy but they vibrate more. However, the newer high-end top loaders have almost the same energy efficiency as the front loaders. Check the capacity size to make sure that it fits your needs (front loaders tend to have larger capacities).

Washer Spin Cycle:
Adjustable spin cycles are a good feature to have. The faster the spin cycle, the more water will be extracted and the less time the clothing will need to spend in the dryer. Look for a high Rotation by Minute (RPM). This adds to the energy efficiency of the machine. 900 RPM is a good starting number. But beware that if you put a 1000 RPM machine on the second floor without extra shock absorbers, the floor will shake when it starts the spin cycle.

Washer Detergent Dispenser /Extra Rinse:
Some washers come with a smart dispenser that holds the detergent and will only release the correct amount needed for the load size. And, if you need extra stain-fighting capabilities then this is a feature that you will like. It dispenses extra water during washing. This will also remove extra detergent because of the extra rinse cycle and that is helpful for allergy sufferers who are sensitive to the chemicals in the detergent. But, on the other hand, this uses extra water.

Washer Water Usage:
Most machines use up to 40 gallons of water but some can use as little as 14. So check before you buy, to make sure that the machine is water efficient. Some models come with water level control so you can choose how much water is needed based on the load size.

Washer Water Heater:
This is a feature that many people overlook. It is becoming more commonly available and it saves energy by heating only the water needed instead of the whole water tank in your home.

Dryer Options:
They can be either gas or electric powered. The advantage of a gas dryer is that it can be about 40% cheaper to run than an electric dryer.

Dryer Features:
To save more energy get a dryer that has a moisture sensor that will shut it off once it determines that the clothes are dry.

Some washer and dryers can be installed atop a pedestal that sits underneath and raised it a foot or so. This makes it easier to load and unload. Some pedestals have built-in drawers for storing detergent and other laundry items.

Washers need 11 percent less energy and 20 percent less water to qualify as Energy Efficient. Keep in mind that the less energy and water that your machines use, the longer it will take to wash and dry your clothes. Some washers can take more than an hour and a half to complete a full cycle. And, the higher RPM on your dryer, the less drying time (see Spin Cycle above). If you are buying both a washer and dryer, remember that a good washer is more important than a good dryer.