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Home Remodeling & Maintenance

Take an Energy-Saving Tumble

A front-loading clothes washer will cut your water and energy use.

What was the most suggested idea from readers in our "What Would You Do With $1,000?" contest last year? Buy an energy-saving appliance. Our choice is a high-efficiency, front-loading clothes washer.


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Front-loaders, which tumble clothes into a small pool of soapy water in the bottom of the wash drum, use 30% to 60% less water than a top-loader and 50% to 70% less energy (nearly all the energy used by washers goes toward heating the wash water).

A front-loader will cost at least $300 to $400 more than a top-loader, but according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, it'll pay for its extra cost in utility-bill savings within the first few years of its 13- to 15-year life span. Check out Kenmore's HE2t and Bosch's Nexxt 500 Series. The suggested retail price on each is $1,100, but a little shopping will reveal discounts and rebates that drop the price below $1,000.

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