Water Usage of Washing Machines

People give energy efficiency, wash performance and spin speed a lot of thought when updating their laundry equipment, but purchasers are now also considering how much water various types of washing machines consume.

Average Washers vs. Water-Saving Washers

Do you know how much water your washing machine uses during an average wash cycle?

According to Eco-Rate, the average washing machine uses 40 to 55 gallons of water per load. However, machines that fulfill Energy Star requirements consume between 18 and 25 gallons per wash.

Energy Star Criteria for Water Usage

Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that aims to help people save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. Energy Star gauges washing machine water usage in terms of gallons per cycle per cubic foot of washer capacity. This is referred to as the water factor.

Interpreting a Washer's Water Factor

The lower the water factor, the less water the washing machine uses. As of 2010, to qualify as an Energy Star product, a washer can have a water factor no higher than 7.5. This figure will drop to 6.0 on January 1, 2011.

Front Loaders vs. Top Loaders

According to Eco-Rate, Energy Star-labeled front loading washing machines are more water efficient. However, Energy Star-labeled top loaders also dramatically reduce the amount of hot water used in the wash cycle.