Upgrade to an Efficient Washing Machine
We don't think about it, but the average household does about 300 loads of laundry a year, and each of those loads adds to our electricity and water bills. Energy Star clothes washers use half the water and a fraction of the electricity; plus, they typically have a bigger capacity, so you can get away with doing fewer loads. The average new Energy Star washer costs just $60 to run annually, about 30% less than other models for sale, and far less than old top-loaders, particularly agitators built before 1998. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. homeowners could save $2.6 billion annually in energy and water costs if it replaced those old clunkers. If you're not fond of front-loaders, there are now Energy Star top-loaders available, too.
While new clothes washers can be costly, among the more affordable are solid choices like the Haier HWF5300AW (pictured). It was the "Budget Buy" in recent Good Housekeeping Research Institute tests. ($830 at amazon.com)