Hanging on to aging laundry equipment may strike you as a thrifty way to stretch out the full value of your investment in a washer and dryer. Today's energy-efficient appliances may change your mind about the cost of new equipment versus the price of operating your old machines. A new laundry pair can cut your water and electricity requirements and yield cleaner clothes in the process. How you choose your appliances determines how—and how well—they work together.
Choose a front-loading washer and dryer with matching casework designs and you can set up your appliances in a stacked configuration—washer atop dryer—that saves floor space in your laundry area. Because virtually all front-loading washers sold as separate appliances offer high-efficiency cleaning, you save water and electricity reducing the amount of room you need for equipment that typically occupies a sizable footprint. Manufacturers design stackable appliances to offer matching style as well as matched capacities. Today's laundry options include colors besides white and black, giving you decor choices you can carry through to other aspects of your room design.
A high-efficiency washer cleans clothes differently from the agitator-post designs that dominated laundry appliances in the 20th century. Because an agitator-based machine sloshes clothes back and forth through a tubful of water-and-suds mixture, it requires a full tub before it starts cleaning, and it relies on you to set the water level correctly for the amount of laundry in every individual load. High-efficiency washers spray water through tumbling fabrics, limiting the water they require to half the amount an agitator machine needs.
You'll find the U.S. Department of Energy's ENERGY STAR label on washers that meet the program's standards for inclusion. The label doesn't appear on clothes dryers, however, because their energy needs remain comparable across virtually all models. Washers earn ENERGY STAR status courtesy of their efficient use of water and electricity, displayed on the EnergyGuide label you'll find on all appliances, including dryers. The EnergyGuide estimates the annual cost of operating an individual appliance and the amount of energy it requires over that period, based on national averages for utility pricing and a standardized measure of household use. Appliances that qualify for the ENERGY STAR program display its logo on their EnergyGuide labels, which provide a consistent basis for comparing different models.
Smart Remote Control
Along with saving energy, smart appliances save you time, with enhanced access to their operational status on your smartphone or tablet. A specialized app can show you how long a dryer needs to run before its cycle completes, or on which part of the wash cycle your washer currently operates. Some smart appliances enable you to start and stop them from your smartphone. Along with mobile-device control, these laundry machines provide touchscreen control over all aspects of their operation, with washers that can save custom cycle presets that you name according to how you use them. When you tap in to your laundry pair from your smartphone, you can choose stored wash cycles by name and start a load of clothes using a specific preset.
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