By now, you’ve probably heard that it’s wise to put full loads into your washer, dryer, and dishwasher whenever possible. But do you know why? The reason is that, for the most part, it takes the same amount of energy to clean a half load as a full load. So if your half load is using a full load of electricity, you’re wasting a lot of energy. Here are some other facts and figures about saving energy in the laundry room and kitchen.

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1. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, you should consider washing all of your clothes in cold or warm water. The fact is 90% of the energy used in a top-load washer is for heating water. So if you were to just switch your temperature setting from hot to warm, it would cut your load’s energy use in half.

2. Be Smart When Using Your Dryer

First, don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it. Second, because light items require less heat to dry than towels and heavier items, dry like items together. And third, check your vent regularly and clean your lint filter after every load. Good habits equal great savings.

3. Upgrade Your Dishwasher

If you have a dishwasher that’s over 15 years old, it’s time for an upgrade. Newer models approved by ENERGY STAR® can save you about $40 a year on your electricity bill. They’ll also save you about 10 gallons a load on your water bill. And the longer you wait, the more these extra costs add up.

4. Upgrade Your Clothes Washer

If you have a clothes washer that’s over 10 years old, buying a new, more energy-efficient model could save you more than $850 over the life of the machine. And that’s just for water and detergent costs alone. Add that to the fact that the new front-loading models are more gentle on your clothes, squeeze more water out so that you use your dryer less, and consume 50% less energy than conventional models — and you’ll wonder why you didn’t switch sooner!

5. No Need to Upgrade Your Dryer

Surprised? Don’t be. When it comes to energy efficiency, most dryers are about the same. In fact, the Department of Energy conducted a detailed study and found that most dryers on the market today don’t vary much at all in their energy consumption.  So unless it’s broken, your old dryer is good to go when used along with good drying habits such as sensor drying.