A homeowner’s guide to laundry
Laundry is something that all of us do. In most homes, it is a daily routine that takes up time and consumes a decent amount of energy, which can impact monthly utility bills. This is why it is important to weigh several factors before purchasing laundry appliances.
In this article, we will expand on these factors and outline what you should look for when purchasing a washer and dryer. We will also analyze the cost of doing laundry at home and show you how to protect your appliances with a home warranty, such as those offered by Cinch Home Services.
How to choose a washing machine
Due to the numerous technological advancements of appliances, there has never been a better time to purchase a new washing machine. These days, even entry-level laundry machines come with a myriad of features that boost functionality and ensure high efficiency.
While this wide selection of options is a net positive for the consumer, it can be overwhelming to navigate if you don’t fully understand what to look for. To that end, the section below will provide an in-depth look into some of the things you should take into account when buying a washing machine.
Things to consider when buying a washing machine
Before buying a washing machine, it is essential that you take some time to familiarize yourself with the core features and functions of these appliances. Here are some of the key points you should focus on:
- Top-load versus front-load: One of the first things you should consider is whether to opt for a top-load washing machine or a front-load one. Top-load washers feature controls in the back and are loaded from the top. These machines use an agitator or an impeller to wash dirty laundry and are generally faster and cheaper than their front-load counterparts. Front-load washers, on the other hand, are loaded from the front and offer gentler cleaning. They are also more energy-efficient and are usually equipped with more features to accommodate different types of fabric.
- Cycle settings: Using the right cycle setting is integral to getting the right cleaning for your clothes. For example, using a high-speed spin setting can easily cause damage to delicate fabric, whereas a low spin cycle might not be enough to properly clean heavy fabric such as denim. To prevent this from happening, it is advisable that you get a washing machine that offers a wide range of cycle setting options.
- Energy and water usage: Naturally, you should have an idea of how much energy and water a washing machine uses before you purchase it, as this will help you avoid unexpected surprises when your monthly bill is due. When buying a washer, make sure to check the energy and water requirements of the appliance. Energy consumption is measured in kilowatts (kWh) per hour, while water usage is expressed in gallons per load. The lower the figure, the more efficient the washing machine is.
- Variances between top brands: Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing a washing machine is the difference between the various top brands. Each brand is differentiated by a few characteristics that are consistent across several lines of products. For instance, Whirlpool machines are known for their durability, but they are also quite loud relative to most of their competition. LG offers some of the most advanced smart features on the market, but their drainage system requires more maintenance than other brands. Understanding these variances is key to making an informed purchase decision.
How to choose a clothes dryer
Your at-home laundry setup wouldn’t be complete without a dryer. While these appliances may seem to serve a simple function, it is important to keep in mind that they come in many configurations and are equipped with a host of features that vary depending on price point and mode of use. The following section will provide some insights into what you should look for when buying a clothes dryer.
Things to consider when buying a clothes dryer
As is the case with any home appliance, there are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a new clothes dryer. The market offers plenty of options, and given the fact that dryers can be a significant investment, you can’t afford to make a purchase decision without carefully assessing every aspect of these appliances. Here are the main things to consider when you’re in the market for a dryer:
- Size: The size of the dryer is an important factor that you should take into account. Ideally, you should get a dryer that can handle your household load while still boasting a relatively compact design that doesn’t take up too much space in your laundry room. As a rule of thumb, the dryer should have at least twice the capacity of your washing machine, as this allows for more efficient air circulation around your laundry.
- Features and functions: As mentioned, dryers offer a wide selection of features. Several of these features can enhance the functionality of the appliance by a significant margin, so it’s important for you to be aware of them if you want to ensure wrinkle-free and homogeneous drying for your clothes. Some of the features that you should look for include a moisture sensor to prevent overdrying, a noise-dampening function to reduce noise and a drum light to help you retrieve items with ease.
- NSF certification: While most dryer manufacturers claim their machines are effective in killing germs and bacteria, very few can point to a third-party certification that verifies the accuracy of the claims. This is why you should narrow your options down to the dryers that come with a NSF International certification. The NSF sets the requirements for public health compliance and tests every product to make sure they’re in line with their standards.
- Electric versus gas dryers: Another factor you might want to consider is whether to go with an electric dryer or a gas one. Gas is cheaper than electricity, so you can expect a lower utility bill if you purchase a gas-powered unit. Moreover, gas dryers run at a higher temperature than electric dryers, which results in faster drying times and less wear and tear on your clothes. Having said that, electric dryers are generally more affordable and offer a wider range of models to choose from.
How much does it cost to do laundry at home?
Now that you have a decent idea of what to look for when buying a washer and dryer, the next step is to assess the cost of doing laundry at home. Is it more cost-effective to use your own washer and dryer? Or is going to a laundromat and paying for each use the less-costly option? The next sections will answer these questions in detail.
Factors affecting cost to do laundry at home
The first thing you need to do is go over some of the factors that affect the cost of doing laundry at home. The list below features some of the variables that can impact your monthly utility bill.
- The energy efficiency of your washer and dryer: The most consequential factor that determines the cost of doing laundry at home is the energy efficiency of your washer and dryer. As we saw in the previous sections, the level of energy consumption varies between appliances. High-end machines tend to be more energy-efficient, more environment-friendly and cheaper to run than their entry-level counterparts.
- The water consumption of your washer: The amount of water your washing machine uses is another variable reflected in your monthly utility bill. A new high-end washer should consume between 15 and 30 gallons per load, whereas cheaper models can use up to 45 gallons for the same amount of clothes.
- The amount of laundry you do: This is a fairly straightforward factor that affects the cost. The more times you use your washing machine, the higher your utility bill will be. The cost of doing laundry at home can significantly increase if you are constantly washing heavy loads or if multiple people are using your washing machine on a regular basis.
- Laundry products: The amount and type of products you use to wash your clothes also play into the cost of doing laundry at home. Certain fabrics might require a specific type or brand of laundry detergent, bleach, essential oils (lavender, lemon, peppermint, etc.) or fabric softener in order to be washed effectively. In the long run, this can amount to a significant cost. Conversely, many people opt for DIY liquid laundry detergent options, which is a substantially less costly alternative.
Why it makes sense to buy a washer/dryer for your home
While making a choice between doing laundry at home and paying for laundry services might seem like a difficult decision, a closer look at all the factors at play makes it an easy one. Buying a washer and dryer for your home is the most convenient and cost-effective option.
The first advantage of doing laundry at home is the amount of time it saves you. As a matter of fact, going to a laundromat can be intrusive on your daily routine and might prevent you from doing more productive activities. Having to schedule trips to the laundromat on a weekly basis can quickly turn into a chore that eats away at your time.
And while it may seem counterintuitive at first glance, buying a washer and dryer is significantly cheaper than going to the laundromat on a continuous basis. Buying your own appliances does come with an initial investment that also includes accessories and add-ons for your laundry area. This may consist of a laundry basket/laundry bin, laundry hamper, hangers, laundry bags, drying racks, shelving for storage and sturdy countertops. With that being said, the long-term cost savings of doing laundry at home will essentially pay for the washer and dryer. The figures below should give you a basic idea of how much a laundry day at home will cost you.
- The average electricity rate: $0.13 cents per kilowatt hour
- The average water rate: $4 per 1,000 gallons of water
- Energy consumption of the washing machine: 2 kilowatt hour per cycle
- Energy consumption of the dryer: 4 kilowatt hour per cycle
- Water usage of the washing machine per load: 30 gallons
Using this average data, the cost of electricity for your washing machine is $0.13 * 2 = $0.26 per load. For the dryer, the cost is: $0.13 * 4 = $0.52 per load.
The water cost per load is (4 * 30)/1,000 = $0.12.
The cost is therefore: $0.26 + $0.52 + $0.12 = $0.9 per load. This is significantly lower than the $2 that laundromats charge for a load of laundry.
How do home warranties protect your washer and dryer?
Washing machines and dryers are two of the most expensive appliances in your home, easily costing $700 each (or much more) to replace. The fact that these appliances are used on a frequent basis only increases the chance of a malfunction, which is why you should consider getting a warranty plan that covers any potential repair costs.
Home warranties like the ones offered by Cinch are by far the most effective way to protect your washing machine and dryer. These plans help cover the cost of repairing or replacing covered home appliances and built-in systems. Having a home warranty helps you avoid unexpected repair costs and allows you to undertake repair and maintenance in a simpler and more affordable way.
Understanding the appliances plan from Cinch
As a homeowner, protecting your major appliances, such as your washer and dryer, should be one of your top priorities. That’s why you should consider signing up for Cinch’s Appliances Plan, which gives you considerable coverage when repairing or replacing your laundry appliances due to normal wear and tear. Get a free quote right now and find out more about how Cinch can help you protect your washing machine and dryer.