How Much Water Do Washing Machines Use? - Defy

How Much Water Do Washing Machines Use?

If you’ve ever lived with an interrupted water supply, you’ll understand the difference water makes to our lives. All our simplest, most basic daily needs depend on our water access, and without those things, nothing else seems to work!  

Benjamin Franklin’s famous words are so relatable: “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” Unfortunately, water is not an unlimited commodity. And, it comes with a price. You have a utility bill to prove it! 

Whether you’re trying to cut down on water consumption to lower your bills or just your usage, you may have wondered how much water do washing machines use? This quick guide has answers to some frequently asked questions that will help you make the most of your household’s water consumption. 

Do Washing Machines Use a Lot of Water?

Did you know that 23% of household water use is consumed by your washing machine? Yes, washing machines do use a lot of water. Of course, some washing machines are thirstier than others. A lot depends on the type of machine you have, its size, and how old it is. 

Newer models are designed with efficient technologies that improve overall water usage. So, if you’re still using that old front loader handed down from your great aunty, then yes it’s probably quite the drinker.

If you’re shopping for a new washer online, you might notice that some manufacturers don’t disclose water usage in their product descriptions. With a little detective work, you can get around this sneaky business and find the information you’re looking for. 

All you need to do is Google the model you’re interested in and browse until you come across a retailer that has posted an image of the efficiency label. According to South African regulations, all appliances must display an energy-efficiency label. This provides information on the electricity as well as how much water your washing machine consumes. 

You have every right to know all the details of a product before you make a purchasing decision!    

How Much Water Does a Washing Machine Use per Load?

How much water do washing machines use? On average, it takes 70 litres of water to do one load of washing in a machine. This average varies a lot according to the size and type of washing machine you have and the settings you run.   

As mentioned, if you want to know how much water a specific washing machine uses, all you have to do is look at the energy efficiency label for the water consumption in litres. However, when it comes to energy ratings, water usage isn’t factored into the efficiency standard of washing machines. Therefore, some washing machines that score A ratings for the amount of electricity they use, also consume shocking volumes of water. 

That’s right, energy-efficient doesn’t automatically mean water-efficient.  

Enough about averages, let’s get into some specifics so that you can see what you’re dealing with. Perhaps you’re confronted with the top loader or front loader dilemma? We've compiled a washing machine water usage comparison right here for your convenience.

How Much Water Does a 13kg Top Loader Use?

Let’s answer this question by taking a look at one of Defy’s models. Here are some of the specifications of the 13kg AquaWave Top Loader:

  • Energy rating A
  • 181-litre water consumption
  • 8 main washing programmes
  • 8 level water adjustment
  • 3 wash temperatures
  • 4 auxiliary functions

According to the energy efficiency label on this machine, it will use about 181 litres to wash one full capacity (13kg) load. 

When considering a top loader, remember they usually have a lower upfront cost, but with higher energy and water consumption, they’re a bit more expensive to run. However, they are built to tackle the never-ending flow of laundry generated by bigger families, as well as easily managing bedding, duvets, and even small carpets. 

How Much Water Does a 7kg Front Loader Use?

Now let’s take a look at a Defy front load washer. Here are some of the specifications of the 7kg Hygiene Front Loader:

  • Energy rating A+++
  • 51-litre water consumption
  • 15 washing programmes
  • Time delay
  • Variable speed
  • Lifestyle specific programmes 

If you’re looking at washing machines from the perspective of saving water, then front load washing machines are the way to go. In terms of efficiency, front loaders are generally superior all-round. While saving water and electricity, they also do a better job of actually washing your clothes. 

However, the comparison needs to be a fair one.

Front Loader or Top Loader?

Let’s compare the washing machine water usage of an 8kg front loader and a top loader of the same size. Below are two examples of Defy’s 8kg washing machines. The first one is the SteamCure Front Loader, and the second one is the AquaWave Top Loader.

1. Defy 8kg Front Loader:
  • 45-litre water consumption
  • A+++ energy rating
Defy 8Kg  SteamCure Front Loader
2. Defy 8kg Top Loader: 
  • 147-litre water consumption 
  • A energy rating
Defy Defy 8kg AquaWave Top Loader Washing Machine

The front loader has a better energy rating and uses just 45 litres of water, while the top loader uses 147 litres. If saving water is high on your priority list, then a front loader would be your machine of choice. 

Washing Machine Water Usage Calculator

There are two ways to find out how much water your washing machine uses. The first way is to simply look at the specifications detailed by the product manufacturer. The second way is to take a water meter reading and calculate the actual water consumption. 

If you look up the product specifications, remember the number provided is just a rough estimate. And you also don’t get to see if that water consumption relates to the machine’s default setting or an economy mode. 

If you want to get really accurate, you can do the water meter test. However, this method can get a little technical. For one thing, water meters are a wee bit confusing if you’re not used to that science. (If you need help, you can get a little guidance on reading your own meter here.) 

Additionally, you have to make sure that only the washing machine is running when you do your test. That means no flushing the loo, washing the dishes, filling the kettle, or any other water things that might throw the numbers off. Lastly, you need to actually remember to check the water meter reading before and after the washing machine cycle. 

If you’re really into calculating your daily water use, you should check out this handy online calculator developed in response to the Cape Town water crisis. Determining your water consumption takes effort, but it’s a worthwhile exercise.

Every Drop Counts

How much water do washing machines use? As we’ve discussed, it’s quite a lot. 

Whether you’re interested in conserving water for the sake of the environment, or you’re just trying to reduce your monthly expenses, understanding your household water use is a good place to start. 

Now that you have a better idea of the role your washing machine plays in the grander water scheme of things, you can take steps to save water and money long term. 

If you need any further guidance on how to choose a new washing machine, chat to the team at Defy