Washing machines: Full and cold is better
Jackson Browne was right: You don't want to be "running on empty."
Especially if you're talking about a dishwasher or washing machine. You use the same amount of water and energy whether or not the machine is full.
But with full loads, you get a lot more for your money. And you run the machine less often. Win-win.
Some other ways to save:
- Do laundry in cold water. Running the water heater -- for things such as showers, dishwashers and laundry -- accounts for about 14 percent of your total power bill, Kweller says.
- Skip the "dry" cycle on your dishwasher. Either hand-dry dishes as you put them away, or let evaporation do the work for you.
- If your neighborhood allows it, check out one of those "solar clothes dryers," says Hart. (It's a line stretched between two poles that allows you to hang laundry outside.)
If clotheslines are prohibited in your area, try a discreet drying rack on your back patio or deck. Or, if you're not jonesing for that fresh-air-and-sunshine laundry smell, you can even set it up in a tub or shower stall.