Appliances / Energy Efficiency

Time to Start Looking for a New Energy Star Washer & Dryer

OK…so the photo above isn’t really our laundry room, and definitely not our basement. But it accurately sums up the way I feel at the moment.

It’s been a long time since my husband and I have had to make a major purchase for our home. With all the moves we’ve made in the past few years, we’ve done our fair share of washing clothes at the laundry. As much as I hate doing laundry at home, there’s little in this life I hate more than having to do it all at once in a hot, often crowded public laundromat. So when our washer inexplicably quit last week and our friends who run washer repair services in Louisville, KY couldn’t fix them, I almost shed some tears.

We’ve had this pair almost as long as we’ve been married, since they were a late wedding gift from a family member. But as clunky and basic as they are, they worked, and that was all that mattered. Even though we got them before Energy Star-qualified appliances became the norm (and before we knew enough to care about energy efficiency), we really weren’t in a position to replace them. Now it looks like we might not have a choice. And if you’ve recently discovered that your dryer is not working as intended, you can read this blog post by The Baltimore Appliance Repair Shop titled “Solving The Mystery of a Dryer That Won’t Dry Your Clothes” to know what to do.

I admit I haven’t done a whole lot of looking, but if we’re going to buy, we’d prefer a pair that is not just Energy Star rated, but also as water-efficient as possible. Hopefully, this will result in a monthly reduction in our electricity consumption and water usage, which are goals we’re constantly pushing toward anyway. It is going to be a tough squeeze for us financially, but I’d rather go to the laundry than make an uninformed purchase that will use loads of energy or water.

Kate's Laundry Room, from Centsational Girl

Ideally, our laundry room, outfitted with new appliances, will look like the Kate’s from Centsational Girl (above). Oh, who am I kidding? As long as we have working appliances, that’s the one room that doesn’t have to look great.


Do you own an energy- or water-efficient washer and dryer? Which brand, and what do you think of it? Any suggestions or observations are more than welcome!

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Rachel
    September 27, 2010 at 9:31 am

    We got LG front loaders – enegry star and they definitely are conserving water. I can’t remember the model number. We bought them in January 2010 and got the 2009 model from Sears (they were amazing at helping us find the best deal). We have been very very happy with them! Hope you are equally happy with whatever you decide on 🙂

    • jennae
      September 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

      Thanks Rachel! We’re thinking we definitely want front loaders this time, and yours look great! We got our current pair from Sears, and it seems like they’ve always got the best deals on large appliances like this. Thanks for your help!

  • Kate
    September 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    When we had to replace our washer/dryer unit we went with Fridgidaire front loaders because they were the only ones recommended by consumer reports. The washer had the same mold issue that all front loaders have (you have to wipe down the seal and then leave it open or the seal grows mold) but it preformed very well. On the highest spin setting the clothes were barely even damp and dried really fast so that’s another energy savings.

    We got ours at Sears as well because it was a good sale. They actually have a price adjustment deal though where if it’s on sale for a lower price within a certain period of time you can get the difference refunded to you; all you have to do is bring in your receipt.

    • jennae
      September 27, 2010 at 11:16 am

      Kate, I’m glad I asked for suggestions, but I had NO idea about the mold issue! Thanks for the word of warning. I imagine you just saved my husband and I quite a bit of frustration. And learning about the refund program is a big help at well.

      I know that they’ll take away and recycle your old washer and dryer. I just wish we could get a discount too 🙂

  • Kathleen
    September 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    We have an LG front loader, which works pretty well. We were going to go with a Kenmore, but the salesman at Sears told us that LG makes Kenmore appliances and the LG ended up looking exactly the same as the Kenmore, at a lower price (got ours at Best Buy, who does do price-matching by the way).

    I do have some issues with front loaders, despite how great they are with saving water. They also use very little soap.

    1. The mold issue mentioned above
    2. Wrinkled clothes. Because these washers spin so fast to remove most of the water, our clothes are often pretty wrinkled and actually twisted up in the drum. When using the dryer rather than the clothesline, I have to be sure and shake out each item so that it dries easily, rather than just throwing the tangled mass of clothing in.
    3. Loud vibration–this is partially the fault of where we have ours, in the mudroom of a 100+ year old house with unlevel floors. On a concrete floor this would not be an issue (it’s more convenient for us to have it upstairs).
    4. Hard to load and unload due to bending over or sitting on the floor. I recommend buying the optional risers/drawers that are built for the machines. At the time we just didn’t have an extra $400 to add to the already steep bill. But I’m sure they would have been much better for my back, allowing the drum to sit up higher.

    Looking back, I’m not sure that I’d spend the extra money for a front loader. Though I do love how little water they use and how dry my clothes are when I remove them (less time and energy for drying). Plus they look nice!

    Good luck!

    • jennae
      September 28, 2010 at 10:31 am

      Kathleen, it definitely helps to have the pros and cons laid out for me. I have already hate bending over to unload my traditional front-loading dryer, so I can see how that would be an issue.

      And I know I would hate having to shake out every single piece of clothing to get it to dry well.

      Thanks for your input, and for letting us know that Best Buy has price matching. What I’ve found with price matching is that there are so few stores that carry exactly the same models of appliances that it’s hard to take advantage of the matching. But this is one case where we definitely plan to shop around.

  • Lynn
    September 27, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Mold is a definite issue. We had our seal replaced 2x by the company. I believe there might have been a class action suit early on. We still have the washer. Mold is still a potential problem but as Kate said, wipe down INSIDE the seal and make sure all water is out of there, then leave the door open and it should be fine. A pain, but just how it goes. I was told at the time I had the second seal installed that this is just going to be the issue with front loaders. This is one of those, “I can’t believe the can put a man on the moon but can’t figure out how to…” things. Honestly, I’m sure it’s because me invented the thing. Did I say that???

    • jennae
      September 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

      Lol…I know what you mean. It seems like something that would be so simple to fix if someone just gave it enough thought! But hey…it’s an opportunity for some brilliant woman like you or I to swoop in and invent something better that will make us rich and famous 🙂

  • […] of recommendations. Those recommendations could include something as simple as investing in more energy efficient appliances to having the insulation replaced in your attic and basement. It is all up to you as to how you […]


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