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Laundry never really gets done, does it? That which gets clean, must get dirty — and on and on we go.

American families know this cycle well. By year's end, they'll have washed nearly 2,000 pounds of laundry and put through more than 300 loads. For machines that seem to be always on, upgrading your washer and dryer to more efficient and high-performing ENERGY STAR® units is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

Heat pump clothes dryers, specifically, present an enticing case for homeowners. Heat pump dryers use heat to remove moisture from clothes but then quickly recycle it, turning it back into usable heat that continues to dry items. Because of this neat trick, they can reduce energy use by about 28% compared to standard dryers, are much gentler on clothes, and are also completely ventless.

Even better, new federal rebates will soon be available to help homeowners save when buying a new heat pump clothes dryer. At first glance, the requirements and guidelines associated with securing these savings can seem a little complicated, but we'll walk you through everything you need to know here.

Related Post: Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Home?

How Much Will it Cost to Buy an ENERGY STAR Washer and Dryer?

ENERGY STAR products come in a range of prices for different needs and budgets. The least expensive heat pump dryers start around $1,000, and more advanced models can reach all the way up to $2,000. For washers, you have slightly more economical choices. There's no heat pump feature, which means models start lower, around the $600-dollar range.

Of course, these are just upfront expenses. And though a heat pump dryer may cost more initially, it will make you eligible to take advantage of federal rebates to offset costs. Unfortunately, washers don't appear to be eligible for these specific rebates, but make no mistake — upgrading your existing unit to a newer, more efficient model can help you save in other ways. ENERGY STAR models, for instance, have been found to use 25% less energy and 33% less water, which can give you some money back each month.

Related Post: Green Door Guide to Heat Pump Rebates and Tax Credits

What to Look for When Buying a New Washer or Dryer

Selecting ENERGY STAR-certified products is basically buying on easy mode. The ENERGY STAR label is only given to products that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) high standard of efficiency, which means you can't go wrong by picking any of them. That said, there are different degrees of "right," and you'll still want to make sure you select the washer and dryer models that make the most sense for your space, budget, and usage. Here's what to consider:

Compare Energy Usage

Scan the yellow FTC EnergyGuide label to get an estimate of how much it will cost to run each model in an average year. Compare that against each unit's price to determine if a more expensive, yet efficient, model could actually end up saving you more in the end.

Find Your Goldilocks Zone

Stackable, under the counter, small or large capacity — think about how much laundry you do on average (and the size of the room you do it in) to find the right washer and dryer for you. Choosing models that are either too big or too small can quickly throw your energy-saving estimates off balance. Remember: one of the biggest advantages of heat pump dryers is their ventless design, meaning they can be placed anywhere there's electricity and a water source.

Account for Water Drainage

Heat pump dryers pull moisture from the air, which means you'll end up with water that needs to be drained regularly. You'll need to make sure your room has space to connect to a drain, or you'll have to look for other options like a new water tank or purchasing a dryer that can connect to your washing unit to handle drainage.

Look for High IMEF/Low IWF Washers

A high Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF) equals a more energy-efficient washer, while a low Integrated Water Factor (IWF) signals better water efficiency.

Focus on Front Load

Front-load washers use about 45% less energy and 50% less water than top-load agitator washers, and remain about 25% more energy and water efficient than top-load impeller washers.

Related Post: 17 Energy-Efficiency Measurements Every Homeowner Should Know

Pumping Out the Rebates

If you're thinking about picking up a new heat pump dryer, then you'll want to make sure you're aware of all the rebates at your disposal. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) made $8.8 billion in rebates available to help homeowners make energy-efficient home upgrades. Though the funding is federal, each state will be handling its own dispersal of funds (and participation isn't mandatory), so keep an eye out for specific changes that may be applicable to your area. For now, let's take a closer look at the two main rebate models that will be available to you through IRA funding.

High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA)

HEEHRA is a simple point-of-sale rebate. In other words, savings should be triggered right when you purchase a new heat pump dryer. The amount you stand to save is based on your household income, however. Here's how those brackets break down:

Low-income homeowners: 100% rebate (up to $14,000) for households making less than 80% of their area median income (AMI).

Moderate-income homeowners: 50% rebate (up to $14,000) for households making between 80-150% of their ARI.

Homeowner Managing Energy Savings program (HOMES)

While HEEHRA incentivizes product adoption, the next rebate, HOMES, rewards performance. Rebates dispersed through HOMES will be based on how much energy you saved by installing and using your new heat pump dryer. HOMES arrives at that calculation in two ways and provides rebate opportunities for each:

Modeled-Performance Rebates

Modeled-performance rebates are calculated based on the projected amount of how much your new appliances will impact your home's overall energy efficiency.

Making that calculation involves running a BPI-2400-compliant energy modeling software that can establish a baseline value for your home's energy usage and propose a new model based on its historic usage.

If you're a low- or moderate-income household, and you achieve energy system savings of at least 35%, you'll be eligible for the lesser of $8,000 or 80% of the project cost. If you achieve less than 35%, but more than 20%, you'll be eligible for the lesser of $4,000 or 80% of the project cost

For high-income homes, the numbers look something like this:

  • Energy system savings of at least 35% are eligible for the lesser of $4,000 or 80% of the project cost.

  • Energy system savings of less than 35% but more than 20% are eligible for the lesser of $2,000 or 80% of the project cost.

Measured-Performance Rebates

Measured performance rebates will be based on the actual energy performance of your new dryer upgrade. Through use of an approved open-source measurement and verification (M&V) software to confirm your home's energy efficiency, rebates will be dispersed based on the following benchmarks:

  • For low- and moderate-income homes: Retrofits that achieve energy system savings of at least 15% are eligible for a payment rate per kilowatt hour saved, or kilowatt hour-equivalent saved, equal to $4,000 for a 20% reduction of energy use for the average home in your state or 80% of the project cost.

  • For high-income homes: Retrofits that achieve energy system savings of at least 15% are eligible for a payment rate per kilowatt hour saved, or kilowatt hour-equivalent saved, equal to $2,000 a for a 20% reduction of energy use for the average home in your state — or 50% of the project cost.

Note that the bill doesn't specify that homeowners pursuing measured-performance rebates are automatically given the lesser of the amounts above, but it may be wise to assume so for your planning.

Expect rebates to start being available later in 2023 and last until September 30, 2031. Unfortunately, energy savings of less than 15% (measured-performance rebates) and 20% (modeled performance rebates) won't be eligible for rebates (though hopefully you saved at purchase through HEEHRA).

No guidance has been made available yet for how to claim a HOMES rebate. HEEHRA is likely to be more straightforward as a point-of-sale savings. For HOMES, be prepared to save and submit documentation that details performance measurements of your home upgrades, as well as any costs related to purchase and installation.

Related Post: How to Take Advantage of Home Energy Rebates

Browse, Buy, Install — and Save

You don't have to stop your savings search at HOMES and HEEHRA however. Many manufacturers, local utility companies, and even some municipalities offer rebates or tax credits for energy-efficient home purchases. Those would be good resources to check if you're looking to save on your washer in addition to your new heat pump dryer, too.

Of course, that's a lot to keep track of all on your own. For a simple, one-stop-resource for savings, be sure to check out Green Door's Rebates Finder. The app is free to use and can help you keep track of savings opportunities available in your state. The information is updated regularly to ensure you're always operating with the most current information.

When you're ready to move forward, you can log in to Green Door to shop for ENERGY STAR heat pump dryers and washers through our e-commerce partner Build with Ferguson, then connect with a vetted contractor from the Pearl Network to handle installation. Washing and drying may only account for a fraction of your home's energy usage, but efficient appliances are key pieces of a high-performing, Pearl Certifiable home.

A more efficient way to wash and dry is waiting — Log in to Green Door to start browsing washers and dryers today.

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