Want to help your customers make a smarter choice?
When you're familiar with the facts about energy efficiency – and know how to read and explain the Energy Rating Label – you’ll be able to assist your customers to make a smarter choice. You’ll be able to confidently answer their questions about how much a new machine will cost to run – and how to calculate the total cost of ownership – so they can compare models accurately and make an informed choice.
With the right information, your customers can choose the right washer or dryer to suit their needs – and budget – while saving money in the long-run.
Explore this page to learn about:
- online training for retailers and tradies
- the Energy Rating Label
- the Water Rating Label
- calculating running costs
- top tips to tell your customers
- answering your customers’ FAQs
- tips to use a washer or dryer efficiently.
- related pages and documents for retailers and tradies
This is how much more it typically costs to run a 3.5 star washer compared to a 4.5 star unit over ten years using the warm wash cycle.
Each star makes a massive difference – use the online Energy Rating Calculator to compare models and calculate costs.
This is how much can be saved in energy bills over ten years by replacing an old washer with a new one.
A 15 year-old washer typically uses 34% more energy to do a warm wash compared to a modern one – this works out at about 200 Kw per year, or $57. Keeping the old one can be an expensive decision.
This is how much more it typically costs over ten years to run a top loader compared to a front loader using the warm wash cycle.
The smarter choice is usually a front-loader. As well as costing less to run, front loaders generally use a lot less water – and are gentler on clothes.
The Energy Rating Label
Clothes washers and clothes dryers sold or supplied in Australia must display the Energy Rating Label. These labels are similar to those on other products such as TVs and domestic fridges however, there one key difference on some washer labels.
Some washers will have two energy consumption figures instead of one. This is because manufacturers can voluntarily display the cold wash energy consumption – next to the mandatory warm wash figure.
It is important to note the Star Rating relates only to warm-wash figure – not to cold.
Clothes dryers are also required to display the Energy Rating Label. Significant advances in energy efficiency in dryers – especially with heat-pump technology – has meant some dryers now have an extra row on the label to display more stars. These dryers – with 7 to 10 stars – are classed as super-efficient.
The Water Rating Label
Saving water means saving money on water bills – which may be incentive enough for some customers. However saving water also means saving money on energy bills.
This is because – on a warm wash cycle – about 80% of the energy consumed is to heat the water. If there is less water to heat, less energy is needed. On top of this, water is heavy, so with more water-weight in the tub, the electric motor in the washer has to work harder – and use more energy – to agitate the load, then complete the spin cycle.
Calculating running costs
Purchase price is only part of the picture.
Always work out running costs – and the total cost of ownership – of washers and dryers to make sure a purchase decision is an informed one. Sometimes spending a bit more upfront can work out to be cost-effective in the long-run.
The total cost of ownership is the purchase price plus the estimated cost to run the appliance over ten years. Because the running costs can vary so much between models, the difference over ten years can be hundreds of dollars – and in some cases as much as, or more than, the initial purchase price. Only considering upfront costs could end up being a costly mistake.
Use the online Energy Rating Calculator to work this out.
Top tips to tell your customers
Choose the highest star rating
The more stars on the label, the more efficient – which means it will cost less to run.
Even one star difference can cost – or save – hundreds of dollars. For example, choosing a 3 star, 10 kg top-loader washing machine instead of a 4 star equivalent can cost your customer an extra $580 over the next 10 years if they use the warm-wash cycle.
However it's important to make sure you customer knows they can only compare the star rating on similar capacity models.
Of course, whether it's a washing machine or dryer, the running costs (and total cost of ownership) will vary for each customer. It depends on the specific models they are comparing, how often they do a load and where they live – as each state or territory has a different average electricity tariff.
Fortunately, it's easy to help your customer work this out for their individual circumstances, by using the Energy Rating Calculator online.
Choose a model with load sensing technology
This means if your customer does small loads, the machine may consume more energy – and water in the case of washers – than needed. Using more energy means bigger bills.
Buying a machine with load-sensing technology gets around this issue. Alternatively, they could opt to use their machines only when they have enough washing to put on a full load.
The energy.gov.au website provides more tips on using washers and dryers – and other appliances – efficiently to save energy and money.
Look for dual water connections on washers
Some washing machines only have a cold water connection on the back. This means the washer relies on its internal heating element when set to do a warm wash – and this element is what consumes about 80% of the energy.
If your customer has a super-efficient hot water system in their home – such as a gas, off-peak electric, solar or a heat pump system – it may be cheaper use their external system heat the water. To do this, they need to have a machine with dual connections so they can connect the hot hose from the washer to the hot tap in their home. This bypasses the washer’s internal element – so the machine uses about the same energy to do a warm wash as it would a cold wash.
Keeping the old washer or dryer could cost your customer dearly!
It can end up being more cost-effective to replace an old, working washing machine or dryer with a new one. This is because energy efficiency technology has come a long way in recent years – the savings in running costs can be as much as the purchase price of a new one!
For example, a 15 year-old washer typically uses 34% more energy than a modern one. This works out at about 200 Kw per year, or $57. To put it another way, that's $570 over ten years – or the cost of a new machine.
Of course, it is important old appliances are disposed of responsibly – visit energy.gov.au for more information about disposal.
Heat-pump clothes dryers can be an economical option.
While heat pump dryers are more expensive to buy upfront, a customer who regularly uses their dryer each week may save enough on their bills to make it a smarter choice.
This is because heat pump dryers are significantly more energy efficient than conventional dryers, as they use the most advanced technology. Their energy usage is very, very low – as such the total cost of ownership between some heat pump and conventional dryers can be similar, even considering the upfront price difference.
Of course, whether a heat pump or conventional dryer is more cost effective in the long-run depends on which models are being compared and how often your customer uses it. To help your customer work this out, use the Energy Rating Calculator.
Using washers and dryers efficiently
Using washers and dryers efficiently is the key. To reduce their energy use – and save money – advise your customers to:
- Wash with cold water - Switching to a cold wash every time can cut 80 to 90 per cent of running costs
- Spin fast! Spin out excess water before drying, using the fastest speed setting. Having less moisture in the clothes means the dryer doesn’t have to run as long – dryers generally use more energy than washers.
- Install a venting kit to send moist air from the clothes dryer outside their home and increase its efficiency. Condenser and heat pump dryers don’t need to be vented.
The energy.gov.au website provides other tips on using washers and dryers – and other appliances – efficiently, to help save energy and money.