Do Washing Machines Use A Lot of Electricity?

How much electricity does a washing machine use

How much energy does a washing machine use per cycle?

It’s hard to imagine what life might be like if we had to hand wash all our clothes. The value our washers bring is huge, but that doesn’t stop us from wondering ‘do washing machines use a lot of electricity?’ 

They’re a crucial part of our daily lives that we wouldn’t give up in a hurry. But we’re not willing to pay an arm and a leg each time we wash our clothes. Electricity usage of our household appliances can be pretty hefty. And depending on the efficiency of your machine, it could be using more energy than you realise. 

We probably use our washing machines more than many other appliances in the home. This cost adds up over time. At the cheaper end of the scale, a small-ish 7kg, energy-efficient washer costs most families around £25-£35 per year. Anything larger and not the maximum level of efficiency will cost you more than this. 

It’s, therefore, no surprise that appliances like washing machines and dishwashers account for around 10% of annual bills. We’ve crunched the numbers to find out exactly how much energy your washing machine uses. Let’s take a deeper look at the energy use of a washing machine. 

You may also be interested in reading: Do Dishwashers Use a Lot of Electricity?

How much electricity does a washing machine use?

The amount of electricity a washer uses will vary from machine to machine, varying from 0.52 to 0.8 kWh per use. To get a more accurate figure, there’s a simple way of figuring it out. 

The energy usage of any appliance is calculated by multiplying the wattage by the amount of time it’s in use. 

You can find out how many watts your washing machine uses from the “UL” label usually on the back of the machine. Alternatively, it’ll be noted down in the machine’s documentation or you can google the model number to find out the wattage information. 

So how much does all this cost?

Electricity is sold by “units” which is the number of kilowatts used in an hour, also known as the kilowatt-hour (kWh). The cost of running an appliance: is ‘wattage’ x ‘time it’s on’ x ‘cost of electricity’. 

Alternatively, you can roughly estimate your washing machine running costs in a different way. Convert the washer’s wattage into kilowatts, by dividing it by 1000. This number is the amount of electricity your machine uses per hour, and you can then check your bill to find out your energy company’s kWh rate. Multiplying your kilowatts by the kWh rate gives you the cost per hour of running your washing machine.

Washing Machine Energy Ratings

Several factors influence a washing machine’s energy consumption more than just the frequency it’s used, including the machine’s energy rating.

All appliances should have an energy rating that indicates how much electricity it uses when in use. It’s definitely worth considering this when buying any new appliance as a low-efficiency model may end up costing more in the long run. 

The annual running cost difference between an A-rated washing machine and an E-rated washing machine used around 220 a year could be as much as £30. And as a washing machine should last roughly 11 years, that’s a £330 bill that could be avoided. 

Do washing machines use a lot of electricity when not in use?

Washing machines do use electricity when not in use, in order to keep the appliance in standby mode. There may be a light on, like with a television, or no indication at all like with most toasters. Keeping an appliance on standby uses a very small amount of energy. 

Unless you’re really pinching the pennies, standby electricity isn’t something you need to be worried about. 

How to save electricity when using your washing machine

Keep track with an energy monitor

If your home is fitted with a smart meter, an energy monitor is a displayed divide that lets you know how much electricity is being used at any moment. You can also look at historical data from the week or month before.

This will tell you when you’re using a lot of electricity, so you can find areas to cut back. Some energy company’s offer a lower rate outside of peak times so using your washing machine at night could be cheaper.

Use low-temperature cycles 

Water heating can account for up to 90 percent of the total energy use in a hot water wash cycle. Lower temperatures use less energy, and most detergents now perform just as well at 30 degrees than at 40. There’s even new insight that 20 degrees might be the way to go soon enough! 

Avoid half-loads

Since running the washer uses a lot of energy, it’s good to make sure you’re making the most out of each cycle. Avoid half loads where possible and make use of the half-load cycle if doing a wash is unavoidable. 

Replace your washing machine

Sometimes, an appliance is so old and inefficient that the best thing to do is go out and get a new, more efficient model.

Maintain your washing machine 

Read our tips below on how to maintain and look after your washing machine.

How To Look After Your Washing Machine

Here are our top tips for keeping your washing machine in good nick to keep it working its best for longer: 

We’re all washing our clothes a bit too much. Unless it’s underwear, it’s possible to get away with washing our clothes less frequently. Washing after every wear isn’t necessary, and airing out your garments in between wears can be enough to freshen them up. 

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Do Washing Machines Use A Lot of Electricity When In Use?

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