Who washes? Who folds? Did you clean out your pockets? Why did you put pants in the washer if you didn’t clean out your pockets?
No, not that kind of debate! 🙂
Since our new house is conveniently located next to a laundromat, do we invest in the purchase of a washer and dryer?
sad funny is that in our debt-filled, huge house lives, purchasing a new washer and dryer would have been a no-brainer. We had plenty of space in our 1,500 sq ft house, so of course, we had a washer and dryer! Did we ever consider the alternatives? Absolutely not! Not for a moment.
After a few flops in the Craigslist department, we decided to take a big step backward in the laundry department. We asked ourselves things like…
- Do we truly need a washer and dryer in our small house?
- If we purchase a washer and dryer, how will this impact our electric bill or our water/sewer bills?
- Do the dollars make sense to purchase a washer and dryer or should we continue using a laundromat?
- Will it increase (or decrease) our carbon footprint if we purchase both a washer and dryer?
In the future, our tiny, 200 sq ft house likely won’t accommodate a washer and dryer, unless we sacrifice another appliance. We’ll be relegated to laundromats across the country, as needed. (This tiny house conversation we’ll save for another day.)
Let’s get to the data! Garrett, take it away…
In this analysis, we looked at the following factors:
- time invested in laundry,
- cost of water usage,
- cost of electricity,
- cost of using the laundromat,
- type of machine,
- return on investment and
- cost of ownership.
Let’s start with TIME.
When it comes to laundry, we have two approaches: go to the laundromat each week with 4 loads and have them completed in parallel or do them at home in series. The assumptions behind the calculations: time per cycle between all washing machines is the same at 37 min. Dryer time is the same at 30 min.
Parallel completion of laundry saves about 2 hours a week, time we do not have to invest to “wait to switch out a load.” This does not include the 30 minutes of ironing previously required when we overloaded the clothes dryer at home. We’ve been able to completely eliminate ironing when we use the laundromat dryers.
Let’s look at the cost of ownership vs. laundromat.
The assumptions of the calcs are:
- water rate is $0.006 per gallon and
- electricity is $0.14 KWH.
(Sewer is set at a fixed rate, so we don’t include this in the cost of ownership.)
Water usage for an old-school, top-load washer uses 25 gallons per load. A high-efficiency washer uses 15 gallons per load. Each washer’s energy usage is based on Energy Star information. Dryer energy usage is based on a 5kW heating element dryer.
4 loads at the laundromat, washer and dryer: $13.50/wk
4 loads at home using a top-load washer (includes dryer): $2.43/wk
4 loads at home using a high-efficiency washer (includes dryer) – $2.11/wk
To determine ROI, I took the cost of the equipment (old school W/D at $650, high efficiency W/D at $1300) and subtracted the savings between the cost to complete our laundry each week at home versus the laundromat.
Dollars on the Y-axis relative to Months on the X-axis
ROI on the old-school W/D: 1.1 years
ROI on the high-efficiency W/D: 2.2 years
Premium paid for the 2hr saved by using the laundromat: $11/week ($572/yr)
We’ve been debating the options for two months. If you were in this situation, what would you do? Buy a W/D that has a 1-2 year payback with 208 minutes of laundry- and ironing-related efforts per week or cart the clothes roughly 50 feet to the laundromat and be finished in 67 minutes for $13.50 per week?
Related Post: Water Bills: Who Cares? We Do!