Front-loading washers save time, money, water

ant to save? Most residents of San Diego County are eligible for a $75 discount by presenting a voucher when purchasing a high-efficiency front-loading clothes washer. The residential high-efficiency washer is the latest product on a growing list of items eligible for cooperative water-agency-funded discounts.

High-efficiency clothes washers use 40 percent less water than standard top-loading models in most area homes. Lower water use is not the only efficiency, though. Spin cycles extract 35 percent more water and that means reduced drying time. And less time in the dryer means less use of electricity!

Front-loading washers are a bit more expensive, initially - the voucher helps there but over time, they are extremely economical. Not only do you save precious time and water, but front-loaders save wear and tear on your precious garments.

"I'm extremely pleased with mine," said Vickie Driver, a conservation coordinator and water resources specialist with the San Diego County Water Authority. "I've put nasty gardening clothes in it and they've come out really nice. It cleans well and delicately.

"It also saves even more water and energy than I had expected."

Participating retailers treat the vouchers like coupons. This guarantees customers an immediate discount when a qualifying washer is purchased.

While some portions of San Diego are under a rebate system, it would be wise to contact your local water agency to be sure which system covers your neighborhood. If you are under the voucher system, be sure to have the required voucher in hand when you shop.

"Too often people will buy a front-loading washer and then call us to get a voucher," said Lynn Young, support services manager at Helix Water District, which cosponsors vouchers for La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley. "We feel terrible, but there's nothing we can do. They need to get the voucher first."

Customers interested in a $75 voucher should call toll free 1-800-986-4538 for more information and to request a voucher.