How Much Does It Cost to Run a Washing Machine?
If you need to purchase a new washing machine, it can be helpful to know how expensive it will be so you can set up a budget, how big of a unit to purchase so you can ensure that you have the space, and how much it will cost to operate the washer in general. Keep reading as we tell you the average cost of running a washer and discuss what can affect the price.
The Importance of Determining the Cost of Running a Washer
Learning how much your washing machine will cost can help you budget your future monthly expenses, so there are no surprises when the bills arrive. Large machines usually cost more, so knowing what it will cost to operate a particular model will help you choose the best model for your budget.
How Much Does Running a Washer Cost?
There are many different types of washing machines, so it can be hard to say without looking at a specific model, but it typically costs $0.05 to $0.67 per load. Large-capacity washing machines will use more power, and warm water will use more energy than cold.
Energy Rating Labels
Energy rating labels can help you estimate your washing machine’s cost. A unit with more stars will be less expensive to run, with each star representing a 27% reduction in operating costs. Many energy rating labels even provide you with an estimated yearly power use based on seven loads per week, to help you compare similar models. You can use this number to get a ballpark figure of your expenses by multiplying it by your current electricity costs. For example, if a model claims that it uses 281 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year and your electric company charges you $0.15 per kWh, it will cost a little over $42 per year in electricity alone to run your machine.
Water Rating Label
The water rating label on your washing machine can help you estimate how much water it uses. For example, units with more stars will use less water. Inspectors award a half star for every 10 fewer liters of water than a traditional machine. The average monthly water bill in the United States is about $75, with an average use of 100 gallons per day, so it works out to an average of $0.025 per gallon. Machines with less than 4 cubic feet of space typically use 8.5 gallons of water per load, which will cost about a little over $0.21, while a large-capacity washer with more than 5 cubic feet of capacity, averages 20.5 gallons, costing more than $0.51 per load.
Water Cost by Capacity
|Capacity in Cubic Feet
|Gallons of Water Used per Load
|Water Cost per Load
|Cost per Month (7 Loads per Week)
How Can I Determine the Cost of Running My Washing Machine?
Since the cost of operating a washing machine can vary dramatically, we recommend looking at specific units and using your local electricity and water costs to get a more realistic idea of how much it will cost overall.
- Determine how many watts your machine is, and divide the number by 1,000 to learn its kWh power consumption. For instance, a 1,000-watt machine will draw 1 kWh. Most units will have one number for washing laundry in cold water and another for hot water.
- Multiply the power consumption by the cost of electricity per kWh in your area. For instance, if your electric company charges $0.15 per kWh, you can expect to spend $0.15 every hour that you run your 1,000-watt washing machine.
- Read over your water bill to determine how much a gallon of water costs by dividing the bill by the total number of gallons used. For instance, the average American pays about $75 per month for water and uses about 3,000 gallons, costing $0.025 per gallon.
- Read the owner’s manual to determine how much water your machine uses per load and multiply by your cost per gallon. For instance, if you have a small-capacity washer using 8.5 gallons per load, the average American will spend just over $0.21 per load on water.
- Add the cost of electricity and water to get the total cost per load. For instance, a small-capacity 1,000-watt washing machine will cost just over $0.36 per hour to run.
- Multiply your cost per load by the number of loads that you do per week and times it by 4 to get your monthly cost.
- Times your monthly cost by 12 to get your yearly cost.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Fortunately, there aren’t many additional costs to worry about regarding washing machines. If you notice water leaking around the inlet hoses of your water pipes, you will need to replace them before water damage occurs. It usually costs between $95 and $190 to replace an inlet.
There are usually hoses running to your washer from the hot and cold inlet valves, and there might be another hose working to drain the machine. If any of these hoses fail, you will need to replace them quickly to prevent water damage. Most experts recommend budgeting $95–$170 for new hoses every 5 years.
Your washing machine can also suffer from several small issues, ranging from a broken on-off switch to a broken belt preventing the tub from opening. Most experts agree that it is a good idea to budget $100–$200 to take care of any unforeseen problems.
How Often Should I Replace My Washing Machine?
Most people replace their washing machine when it breaks, leaving you unprepared and without a budget to cover the expenses. Since most machines start to break down after about 10 years, most experts recommend budgeting for an upgrade at that time, so there is less risk of a surprise breakdown.
How Can I Keep My Washing Machine in Good Shape?
- Never overfill your washer, as this can put a strain on the motor.
- Check your machine frequently with a level, and adjust the legs if needed. A tilted machine will bounce and jump while it is washing clothes.
- Change the water hoses every 5 years.
- Add a few cups of white vinegar to the wash cycle every month to kill any mold and mildew that might be growing. Mildew is the main reason that your clothes smell after leaving them to sit in the washer too long.
- Leaving the door open on your washer or drying the tub with a towel can help prevent mildew from growing.
- Wash your clothes after peak hours, when many electric companies offer a slight discount on power.
- Use cold water and small load sizes whenever possible.
It will likely cost between $0,05 and $0.67 per load to run your washer, with the average being somewhere in the middle. Instead of guessing or using sales materials, you can learn and apply the formulas for determining the cost of running the washer in your area to make more accurate predictions and better prepare for the expenses that you might be facing.
Featured Image Credit: Gorodenkoff, Shutterstock