» The Dirty Truth

The Biking Architect

A place for creative, green, sustainable, design inspiration…

Biking Architect Home About the Biking Architect Table of Contents RSS Feed Blogroll

Bike LogoThe Dirty Truth

I have been working hard on research about taking on the Architecture2030 challenge at home.  The next products I am researching are washers and dryers.  This has provided me quite a bit of information and quite a challenge.

Washing Machines

Washing Machines

I have a 20 year old large capacity, energy efficient pair right now.  They are working fine but they do use a great deal of energy and we are not a family of 6 any more so looking for something smaller seemed a good way to drop our energy consumption.

The rule of thumb seems to be to not replace your washer or dryer if they are less than 5 years old and the repair is at least 50% of the cost of a new appliance.

Dryers tend to outlast washers and dryer technology has not changed much in the last 20 years.  Ours is working well and we drop our energy use dramatically when we switch to the outside clothes line in the warmer months.  The permanent press cycle really does the job for us and we don’t have to iron most shirts if we take them out in a timely fashion and so I think we are at fairly max efficiency for a dryer right now.

We do keep the dryer extremely clean.  We don’t use dryer sheets or sprays that are toxic or cause build up.  We keep the venting system wiped down and cleaned out monthly and the outside vent clear. Once a year, we unplug and remove the front panels of the dryer and clean it out and lubricate the motor.  We use drying racks for sweaters, and workout clothing which are meant to wick and dry rapidly.

The washing machine is a different story which I thought would have a happier ending because all washers must use 21% less energy starting in January and mandated by the U. S. Department of Energy.

This is a very valuable goal but the manufacturers have sacrificed cleaning capabilities for energy usage requirements.  There are a couple of High Efficiency (HE) top loaders that work as well as the few front loaders, which are very expensive and only 2 are recommended for their cleaning quality.  There is a lot of hype for the googahs that come as accessories and cost like fury, but do not increase the cleaning capacity of the machine.

Many people start switching detergents and adding additives like crazy because they assume a washing machine is designed to clean!  They find laundry day is getting more and more expensive and the environment cries out in pain from the overdose of the toxic swill of chemicals.

We can bring anything we wish to bring into our own homes, any chemical or expensive toxic product we wish.  Industry is regulated – your home is not.

Our current washer does a superior job at cleaning and we use an environmentally safe product which keeps our pipes clean, unclogged and the fish swimming happily and healthily.  We can regulate the water temperature and cleaning speeds on the washer.  Our cleaning products cost us $.14 a load and do not irritate the skin or leave perfumes.

We take the agitator apart and clean every part of the washer – weekly.
We have someone come in to unplug and remove the panels so that the insides are cleaned, the washer can be rebalanced and moved out to clean around it once per year.

Our only repairs have been when the flooring expert unbalanced the washer when moving it out, and a washcloth made it through to the drain and clogged it when the washer was unbalanced.

I think we will just keep what we have and focus on other areas to modify our energy usage.

Oh yes!  I understand that you can now get “smart stick “plugs for your washer and dryer which would mean that you could turn off your appliances at the plug and not have them leaking energy between use?

Hope I can find one?

What are you investigating to lower your homes energy usage?

What have you discovered to use if you use a public washing facility?

Have you taken the Architecture2030 challenge?  How is that going?

Let’s get a conversation going…

Enjoy this site? Subscribe and keep up with all the updates!
Or support this site by promoting us through your favorite network:

del.icio.us Digg Facebook Google Google Reader Ask.com Yahoo! MyWeb reddit StumbleUpon

Thu, January 22 2009 » Products

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge