Thinking about power consumption when buying a washing machine

Sales situation in a store: two people are looking at a washing machine

The EU energy label is intended as a decision-making aid for buying household appliances that are as efficient as possible. The requirements for the energy consumption of washing machines have increased. Therefore, since march 2021, there are new energy efficiency labels that classify all washing machines into the new efficiency classes from A to G. Labels with A and plus sign are no longer available on new devices. In the trade also no G-devices are offered. The devices are more economical the further forward they are placed in the alphabet. The label provides information on the most important purchasing criteria: the size of the washing machine, the water consumption, the spin class, the volume, the power consumption and the energy efficiency. There is also a new QR code that leads to the European database EPREL. There you will find additional product information.

Label washing machine

The label indicates the power consumption for 100 wash loads in the 40 to 60 degree ecoprogram.

The consumption of very energy-efficient washing machines for 100 wash loads is less than 70 kwh. If you are thinking of buying a less efficient appliance because it is cheaper or you want to buy it second-hand, calculate beforehand whether the higher electricity and water consumption will not cost you more over the years than the higher purchase price.

Use our wash cost calculator (excel workbook) to determine both the annual consumption and the total cost (including purchase price) of washing machines. For this purpose, two spreadsheets are available in the excel file. To compare two machines with each other, click on the appropriate tabs.

the optimum spin speed for subsequent drying is 1.400 revolutions per minute. The energy label should indicate a spin efficiency class of A or B. Even higher speeds place a heavy load on the drum bearings and dry the laundry only slightly more.

The new label also has a QR code that leads to the new European database EPREL. There you will find additional product information. When selecting an appliance, savings devices can also be helpful.De and the website germany makes it efficient. In addition, it is advisable to always look at independent product tests, such as those conducted by stiftung warentest.

To make sure you don’t lose sight of what’s most important in this wide range of choices, use our checklist "Selection criteria for buying a washing machine.

Choose the right size

Which washing machine suits you depends, of course, on the space you have for it.

Most washing machines are freestanding machines. If they have a bull’s-eye door at the front, they are front loader. They are standard 60 cm wide, 85 cm high and 57 to 69 cm deep. The drum size usually varies between 6 and 9 kilograms maximum load capacity. Extra-large front loaders can hold up to 12 kilos of laundry. You can place a tumble dryer on top of a washing machine that can be installed underneath.

Attention: If you place the dryer and washing machine on top of each other, make sure that the washing machine is always on the bottom! It moves during the spin cycle and should be placed securely on the floor.

Besides there are top loader, are narrower than front loaders. As standard, they are 40 to 45 cm wide, 88 to 90 cm high and 60 cm deep. Your drum is usually smaller and can hold a maximum of 5 to 6 kilos of laundry. Due to their small size, top loaders are ideal for singles and apartments with a small footprint. They can be conveniently filled from the top, but a dryer cannot be placed on top of them. The selection of these narrow washing machines is small, with only around one in ten washing machines on offer being a top loader.

The washing machine should be adapted to your individual needs. Do you really need a machine with a capacity of 8 or 9 kilos?? Even if these machines have a particularly high energy efficiency class, they are only really economical when they are fully loaded. The larger the drum, the higher the water and electricity consumption.

Single or couple households usually don’t have that much dirty laundry at all. They can easily handle 5 to 6 kilos of laundry. for families, somewhat larger drums with a capacity of 7 to 8 kilos are recommended, as these usually fill up without difficulty when there are several people in the household.

Opt for a low noise level

If you need to place the washing machine in the bathroom or kitchen, quiet washing machines are recommended. The noise level is expressed in decibels (db): quiet machines have a noise level of less than 50 db when washing and less than 75 db when spinning.

As a rule, very quiet machines also have higher-quality components (such as bearings, suspensions and drives), which can have a positive effect on the service life of the washing machine.

Make it easy for yourself with a user-friendly appliance

Simple program selection and a clear display are just as important as the ability to change the program later or to add individual items of laundry. In principle, just a few washing programs are sufficient, offering you a temperature selection between 20 and 60 degrees. The basic equipment includes wash cycles for boiled and colored laundry, easy-care, delicate and wool programs.

In addition, there are various special programs that can make a machine more expensive. Which one you need depends on your textiles and on your habits. Having many programs is not necessarily an advantage. If you do not sort your dirty laundry carefully and wash it separately, you will hardly benefit from the variety of programs available. Think before you buy: do you really need an extra program for sneakers or even a waterproofing program for outdoor clothing??

Prevent damage with an integrated water protector

It is very important that the washing machine has good protection against water damage. Not only damage to the inlet hose, but also faulty level sensors or leaking seals can easily lead to flooding in the installation room. New and good washing machines have such protective devices – an aquastop. In the event of a malfunction, cut off the water supply and pump the water from the machine directly into the waste water pipe.

Here you can find out how you can protect yourself against water damage and repair costs by taking out insurance, and what the tenancy law says about washing machines in a rented apartment.

Operating the washing machine with hot water

If your water is heated by gas or oil heating, or even by renewable energy, it is worth connecting the washing machine (as well as the dishwasher) to the hot water connection – provided the appliances are suitable for this purpose. You should check this in advance. There are special ballasts for washing machines for this purpose. If you heat your water electrically, changing the connection does not save energy.

Attention: if you pipe hot water into a cold water connection of the machine, you can z.B. Losing claims in the event of a defect. Please refer to the instructions for use. If this excludes the use of hot water, it is also not recommended. Sometimes the instructions specify a maximum water temperature that should not be exceeded.

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Tips: clean and yet economical washing

  • The prewash cycle is only necessary for very heavily soiled laundry.
  • Wash at low temperatures, as most energy is used to heat the water. As a rule, laundry will be clean at 30 to 40 degrees with a compact detergent.
  • For increased hygiene requirements, use a full detergent. If the laundry is contaminated with pathogens, select the 60 degree program with a full detergent.
  • the higher the spin speed, the drier the laundry will be. 1400 revolutions are optimal. This is particularly important for subsequent drying in the tumble dryer, as this then uses less electricity.
  • line drying is the most environmentally friendly.

Help, the washing machine stinks!

At least once a month, you should run a wash cycle at a minimum of 60 °C. This will remove any detergent residue and kill germs that inevitably accumulate in the machine and are responsible for unpleasant odors.

As a further hygiene measure, leave the door of the washing machine open after washing and after you have taken out the clean laundry. You should also pull out the rinse chamber a little so that water vapor can escape and the machine can dry inside. It is also advisable to clean the rinse chamber regularly and wipe the rubber seal of the drum dry. This should be enough against odors and germs.

Sometimes you will find a tip to try citric acid. However, this only makes sense if your water is particularly hard and there are heavy lime deposits in the washing machine. But citric acid is just as useless against bad odors and bacteria as vinegar is. This household remedy is also not suitable for the washing machine, because it attacks the rubber on the washing drum in the long term.

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