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Washing machines can last for more than 10 years, so it's important to buy the most energy efficient washing machine that suits your needs.
The energy rating label helps you compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different washing machines. Washing machines are rated for both energy efficiency and water efficiency, and this information is represented on separate labels.
The star rating is shown in the red band at the top of the label and can range from 1 to 6 stars. Every extra star could save you 25% of your washing machine’s energy use on a warm cycle. The more stars, the more energy efficient your washing machine will be, and the lower the running costs.
Compare the star ratings at the top of the energy rating label, then use the number in the energy boxes in the middle of labels to find the annual energy use of the washing machine when used once per day on the normal warm wash cycle. When you buy a new washing machine, use the Energy Rating Calculator to help you choose a machine with as high a star rating as possible.
To improve your household's energy efficiency, buy a washing machine with at least a 3.5 star energy rating and 4 star water rating.
Some washing machine labels also have a blue box, and this shows the annual energy consumption of the washing machine when used once per day on the cold wash cycle. As 80–90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes toward heating the water, washing machines use a lot less energy on the cold wash cycle.
The water efficiency rating label shows the efficiency rating in the blue band at the top of the label and can be from 1 to 6 stars. The more stars, the more water efficient the washing machine, the less water it will use and the less water you will pay for. The water consumption box in the middle of the label tells you how many litres of water the washing machine consumes each time you use it. If you're buying a new washing machine, make sure it has at least a five-star water efficiency rating and four-star energy rating.
The table below shows running costs for different types of washing machines based on three loads washed per week. You can also see a similar table for six loads washed per week further down the page.
The table below shows estimated running costs for different types of washing machines based on six loads washed per week.
How we calculated the costs
Calculations assume an electricity tariff of 31.9c/kWh, and natural gas tariff of 2.48c/MJ (for heating water in dual connect top load machines). These are based on typical Melbourne energy tariffs and do not include any pay-on-time discount. The annual cost figures shown are only the energy cost. Front load washing machines generally use less water than top load machines and so have lower annual water use costs. It is assumed that dual hot and cold connect top load machines are connected to a natural gas storage water heater. For the "cold only connect or small electric water heater" option it is assumed that the top load machines are connected to a small electric water heater operating on a general (or peak) electricity tariff. It is assumed that the front load machines have a cold only connection, and that they use a "true-cold" option when set to a cold wash cycle. Some front loaders have a dual hot and cold water connection, and these will have lower energy costs if they use hot water for their normal wash cycle. Some dual connect machines will only draw hot water on their hot cycle, and heat water internally on their normal wash cycle.
Emissions greenhouse gas emissions in kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. The greenhouse coefficient used is 1.18 kilograms per kWh for electricity used, and 0.0553kg per MJ for natural gas.
Regardless of the type of washing machine you own, you can reduce your energy bills by running it efficiently.
Ensure that when you buy a new product to replace an old one, you take the necessary steps to dispose of your old product responsibly. Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.