Be Green and Save Green: Lower your energy bills with these eco-friendly changes

Melanie Lawson shows us a few simple, eco-friendly changes that can lower your energy bill.

With Earth Day April 22, we want to help make a common household chore better for the environment and your wallet. Consumer Reports says a few simple, eco-friendly changes (and the right detergent) in the laundry room can help lower your energy bills.

Consumer Reports says using a high-efficiency washer and dryer is one of the most important things you can do in terms of reducing your energy bills.

“We do let a little bit accumulate so that we’re not just wasting water, wasting energy,” said Veronica Yanez. “And I also use an HE washer and dryer.”

Front-load washers deliver when it comes to cleaning performance, and they use the least amount of water and energy. Among the best and most eco-friendly in Consumer Reports’ tests is the LG WM3400CW. The matching dryer is the LG DLE3400W. They each cost about $800.

If you already own a high-efficiency washer and dryer and your set is working just fine, there are still ways to save.

Consumer Reports’ tests have found that laundry detergents have become much better at removing dirt and stains at lower water temperatures. The top two detergents that did well in tests are Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil Pro Clean Stain Fighter. Both can tackle tough stains and can also be used as a pretreat stain remover.

If you can’t line-dry, you can lower the amount of energy your dryer uses by increasing your washer’s spin cycle.

“This reduces your dryer’s workload by extracting more water from the clothes, which means less work for your dryer and less energy is wasted,” said Consumer Reports Home Editor Keith Flamer.

It might increase wrinkling, but Flamer says don’t let that stop you. Instead, simply untangle and shake your laundry out before you toss it in the dryer.

To keep your dryer running as efficiently as possible, don’t forget to clean the lint screen before every load.

And, if you use dryer sheets, know that they can leave a film behind on your dryer’s filter that reduces airflow. They can also leave residue on your dryer’s moisture sensors. Check your owner’s manual on how to clean those sensors. Better yet, skip dryer sheets altogether and reduce your waste!