Washing machines are one of the most frequently used appliances in our homes. Larger households may even use a washing machine on a daily basis, but do many of us stop and think how much it costs us each time we do a wash, and how this adds up over a year?
It’s not always easy to work out exactly how much electricity each washing cycle uses, but we can get an average idea, and this may influence whether we buy a more energy-efficient machine.
How much electricity does a washing machine use and how much does it cost?
An average washing machine uses around 2.5 units of electricity to run a 40-degree mixed wash lasting around an hour. This is typically the wash setting and temperature most of us will use on a regular basis, and costs around 50p per cycle.
The normal domestic use for most households is considered to be around 270 washes a year – so this works out at an approximate yearly cost of £135 to run an average washing machine.
Using an energy monitor
One way to check exactly how much your washing machine is really costing you is to buy or borrow an energy monitor. An energy monitor is a device which shows how much electricity is being currently used in your home at any time so you can see how much extra electricity is used when your washing cycle is in progress. These can be bought from hardware shops, and it’s also worth checking for offers from your energy provider.
Does the energy rating matter?
It’s certainly worth considering energy-efficiency ratings when buying a new washing machine. Machines with a very poor energy-efficiency rating can ultimately cost you £80 a year more than an energy-efficient machine, even if you only use your washing machine three times a week for an average 40 degree cotton wash.
However, it’s also worth noting that nearly all washing machines are now A rated, with A+, A++ and A+++ ratings available. The energy and cost savings between A rated machines and above aren’t always as significant as you may think – an A++ machine may only save you £10 per year over an A rated machine, and the machine itself might cost much more to purchase. See the most energy-efficient washing machines we could find here.
Of course, it’s also important to consider other factors which may be more relevant than running costs, such as reliability, performance and longevity of a washing machine.
If you are considering a new machine, it’s worth checking out a washing machine running cost calculator online – for example, the Which washing machine lifetime-costs calculator here.
There are also other ways to reduce the cost of running your washing machine. For example, if you wash your laundry using a 30-degree wash cycle, it uses around 40 percent less electricity compared to 40-degree wash, and studies show that modern washing machines and detergents are just as effective at cleaning clothes at a lower temperature.