What is a Smart Washer?

Mary McMahon

A smart washer is a washing machine with features designed to increase energy efficiency and minimize water use. Smart washers are available from many home appliance stores and are produced by several manufacturers. They tend to be more expensive than conventional washers, but the corresponding higher performance saves costs in the long term. It is also sometimes possible to get a rebate or tax credit for purchasing an energy efficient appliance. Consumers can get information about such benefits from government agencies dedicated to conservation issues.

Smart washers are designed to increase energy efficiency and reduce water use.
Smart washers are designed to increase energy efficiency and reduce water use.

Water use is a major conservation concern with washing machines. Conventional washing machines can use very high volumes of water, even when people choose a small load setting. A smart washer independently controls the amount of water used in the load and is designed to work with minimal water. This cuts down on water use, saving water and sewer bills in addition to reducing waste in the community.

A smart washer.
A smart washer.

Smart washers are also designed to use minimal electricity for functions like controlling cycles and spinning. The washer is programmed to automatically end spin cycles once the fabric in the washer reaches a certain moisture level, and can also extend wash and rinse cycles if too many suds are present or the fabric is not sufficiently dry. The ability to respond to conditions inside the washer without input from a human operator is an important step for energy efficiency.

In addition to being smart by saving energy, a smart washer is also smart in the sense that it is highly configurable and controllable. Most allow people to input several saved programs, allowing people to set up programs for specific laundry needs. They can input the length of time needed for soaking, rinsing, washing, and spinning to ensure things are cleaned properly. Smart washers also come with preset programs designed for generic uses like whites, colored loads, delicate fabrics, and so forth.

Some smart washers can be set to operate on a timer. This can be useful for people who want laundry to run while they are not home or during hours when electricity costs are low, if electricity fees are tiered on the basis of peak and off-peak usage. Some washers can be controlled remotely and may have other special features. The more features, the more expensive a smart washer tends to be, but for consumers, some extra features may be worth the cost. People evaluating the purchase of a smart washer may want to weigh available features, long term savings from using an energy efficient washer, and the potential for rebates and credits.

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