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Should I buy new washing machine to reduce water consumption?

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I have a bosch washer dryer that is 10 years old. Our water is metered, our bills seem quite high. Hoping to see a reduction now that we have a new dryer (only use in wet weather!). I am told that our washing machine will still use lots of water compared to newer machines. Is this correct?

Would it be worth considering buying a new washer to reduce water consumption? I have no idea how much water our current machine uses, but based on our bills, and the fact that we are not extravagant with water, I think the washer is the main culprit. Does anyone know roughly what the water consumption might be on our washer. And does it use less on a short wash cycle? (I use the short wash most often). It has been a good machine, but we bought it before we had a water meter! Has anyone else noticed a significant reduction in water consumption after buying a modern washing machine?

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When you look at older machines in action the water level is about half way up the door whilst most modern machines leave you wondering is there actually any water inside at all.

We had a Zanussi over 10yrs ago that when the machine pumped out it did not fill a 2 gallon bucket from just the wash cycle so I don’t think our new machine can save significantly on that.

You don’t say how the water level appears in your machine but you would have to go back along way to find machines that were using almost a quarter of a tonne during a complete cycle.

It is surprising how much water is wasted (if you have a conventional hot water cylinder) just waiting for hot water to reach the tap you are using.

Now water is metered the water companies are not bothered if you waste any as it has passed through the meter and are now paying for it. An example of this is modern toilets with no overflow to the outside so you don’t see any wastage instead it just overflows into the bowl and probably not noticed.

I would be tempted to look hard at other usage around the house for leakage between meter and house before your machine is blamed.

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We haven't actually checked the level of water in the machine, but our water meter is inside the house, so I have started "monitoring" usage, as best I can. Assuming I'm reading the meter correctly, I did a delicates wash today (full load), and it looked like it took over 70 litres. We have a combi boiler, and we do have to run the tap a while to get the water hot, but don't leave taps running if we can help it. Have done the water company's suggested check for leaks - all seems okay. Compared to friends' water bills, and usage "calculators" on the 'net, our consumption is high. The washing machine is used quite frequently - is 70 litres for a delicates cycle excessive, compared to new machines? We do have the oldest machine amongst our friends with water meters - they all complain how long theirs take to do a cycle ( ours seems fast in comparison). But we have "compared" usage around the house, and don't seem to use any more than the average person, which makes me wonder about the washer. (I know I may sound a bit obsessive, but our water bills have been almost double the average)!! As I said, now we don't use the dryer on the machine, we hope to see a reduction, but I still have my doubts about the washer consumption.

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Assuming I'm reading the meter correctly, I did a delicates wash today (full load), and it looked like it took over 70 litres.

I have looked in handbook for our machine and it quotes between 40 and 70 litres for the various washes, the delicate wash is 69 litres so as you say if you are reading your meter correctly your machine is normal.

From the Miele web site you can download pdf of each machine and consumption data is provided there for the various washes.

We have been on a meter for about 15 years so the shock has worn off but most opinion is that unless you are single or a couple, families suffer badly on meter compared to the old method of billing.

Have you compared meter reading over night or when nothing (you know of) is being used?

I don’t know what the chances of having a faulty meter are but if you are seriously adrift in consumption it could be worth checking.

Similarly read meter and measure out 50 or 100 litres from a tap and see what the new meter reading is and how it compares. (Of course you now have to use the measure out water in an environmental fashion, save the planet etc.)

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Thanks for that info. Looks like our trusted old machine isn't as greedy as I thought, considering it's age!!

Yes, I have done the overnight test - meter didn't move at all.

You said about families being worse off on a meter. We are actually just a couple here, so maybe we shall have to have a serious look at our general water consumption. It's finding a balance between saving the planet, saving money and staying clean!!!!

I shall have a browse on the Miele website ( and others), just to compare consumption rates.

Someone did suggest we have our meter checked, but according to our supplier, they rarely "over-record" - with most faulty meters they actually "under-record". (But the they would say that, wouldn't they?)

At least it looks like our Bosch machine isn't way above average anyway.

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  • Root Admin

Newer washing machines may use less water but even 10 years back washing machines were being designed to use less water. You would probably have to go back much further to see most washing machines filling up to just over half way up the door glass on rinses. These days 50 litres or less is considered to be low water usage.

Note that water usage should only be a small part of the decision making process. One washing machine that uses less water is not necessarily better than another that uses more - and may in fact be a much worse buy. This is because reliability, energy usage, washing and rinsing efficiency, longevity - and many other factors should also be taken into consideration.


In my opinion seeking out a washing machine that uses the least amount of water is a flawed concept unless for some reason it is the number one priority. I believe the use of less and less water in washing machines is having a detrimental effect on their ability to properly rinse laundry. If you have sensitivity to detergents I would not recommend seeking out low water usage washing machines. My Whitegoodshelp.co.uk blog article Why can't modern washing machines rinse properly? has attracted 546 comments so far, many of them lengthy, and from people who are very dissatisfied with the quality of their washing machine's rinsing - backed up by Which tests!

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Hello. Appreciate your comments. All things considered, I think our bosch machine is not as bad as I first thought - it's probably me not using it efficiently. It has been a great washer (okay, the dryer no longer works, but that's probably no bad thing - saving on water at least!!). It's 10 years old, and been very reliable - still going strong, and as long as I know the water consumption isn't way above that of a modern one, I'm happy with that. When it does finally "die", and after reading some of the info on your main site, if we can afford it, I think we would go for a Miele model. as you say, there are many other factors to consider, and their water consumption seems to be average for a modern machine. Otherwise, I would be happy with another bosch. I'm impressed with the Miele website - it's nice to see what the water and energy consumption is for different programmes, and not just for specific ones, as most other manufacturers seem to offer.

Excellent website, by the way.

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  • 6 years later...

I have a Zanussi washer dryer, model WDT1085 approx. 19 years old. I am interested in water consumption on the 50C wash cycle as the manual defines only water and electricity consumption for a complete wash/dry cycle which is no real help at all. The machine is excellent and has only needed 2 minor repairs. The repairer has advised keeping it going for as long as parts are available but there may come a point when the running costs may mean a new machine is the better option though I am aware modern machines no longer have a 50C wash programme. I have to bear in mind it only takes a 4kg wash whereas new machines can take up to 8kg, so I probably have to use the machine twice as often. What is the likely water consumption for this age of machine and for new machines, say on a 40C wash cycle? Many thanks in advance.

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  • Whitegoodshelp (Andy) changed the title to Should I buy new washing machine to reduce water consumption?

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