If your household is anything close to the average American family, you find yourself running a lot of loads of laundry — most American families actually wash close to 400 loads of laundry a year. So, if you've been bothered by a poorly-functioning washer or a lint-trapless dryer, this may be the year for you to upgrade to a better model. If in doubt, calculate the age of your appliances: if your washer and dryer are more than 15 years old, make it a priority to replace them this year.
Before you start window shopping, though, take some time to consider these points. They may just save you time and money when it comes to replacing your old appliances.
- Take time and watch the sales. Like John and Sherry at Young House Love, you can save a lot of money (they saved almost 50 percent) by tracking sales at major retailers. If you can afford to wait and bide your time, you'll be able to save — sometimes a lot — of money.
- Buy Energy Star appliances. Over the life of an Energy Star-qualified washer, you'll save enough money by simply doing your laundry in this energy-efficient machine to pay for the cost of the matching dryer. Not only will the machine save you money, it will also lower your water usage (and bill). Energy Star-rated washers also require only a dollop of detergent and will get clothes squeaky clean on a cold water cycle (saving money on your heating bill).
- Look for special rebates. Rebates may be available for your new washer purchase. Look for these through the retailer or on Energy Star's website. Just plug in your zip code to determine whether or not you qualify.
- Consider your home's layout. If you're squeezed for space, look for a smaller size washer (unfortunately, these smaller models are often much more expensive). Stacking models can also work well in homes with a small footprint.
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- Get creative with placement. Do you actually need to place your washer and dryer in your main living space? Is the basement or the garage an option? If you do decide to place your washer and dryer in a more remote spot in your house, look for machines with a higher capacity so you won't have to lug so many loads of laundry up and down the stairs.
- Keep your clothing needs in mind. Do you own a lot of delicate clothing? Need a steam setting? You can buy a machine that can accommodate these needs, though it will likely be more expensive. However, you'll save on your dry cleaning bill if you upgrade to a machine with special settings such as delicate settings, wool settings, and steam settings.
- Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor. While dryers haven't advanced very much in terms of efficiency, especially when compared to washers, you can reduce your dryer's energy use by choosing a model with a moisture sensor. This feature automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry. Not only does this save money, it keeps your clothes in better shape, since they aren't worn out by overdrying.