I am buying a new washer and,although I know the FL is more efficient, I am wondering if this would be true for a one person household. I would be washing 2 loads/wk and wonder if I would notice that big of a savings.
A conventional top loader will use substantially more water than a front loader so you'll save on water.
You'll use less bleach, detergent, softener in a front loader so you'll save on laundry additives.
Of course a large household would see more saving quicker but you will see savings.
All georgect said plus I think a FL is gentler on your clothes. This will save you money as your clothes will last longer.
I just have to add after using top loaders all these years than just recently switching to frontloaders (well about a year ago so I guess that isn't so recent anymore) I have yet to notice a difference in my water bill. We thought for sure with the new washer, and fixing 3 water leaks we'd find some type of savings.
I would definetely select a front loader though because I think my clothes come out wonderfully clean and it does save a lot on detergent and the amount of loads I do. I do a load maybe once every other day for a family of 4-5 depending on if I have my stepson or not. I really love our whirlpool duet washer we have.
We've been 10 years with a front loader in a two-person household and my water bill did not change at all. We average five to six loads a week.
FL's are nice, but they do break down more often. Our's has broken twice (Kenmore basic model) with the second breakdown happening as I write this and I just discovered the fix will cost nearly as much as we paid originally even if I do the repair myself.
My advice is don't sweat the energy savings for a one-person household. Buy an FL for other reasons.
Agree with rmtdoug.....
"Buy an FL for other reasons."
Get one with a heater......Gentle, thorough washing; ability to manage actual temperature in-use; same dependable performance regardless of load size.
For me, 7+ trouble-free years with Duet FL after decades with conventional TL's. (I do 2-6 loads a week.) Can't imagine going back to TL after this experience.
My water's cheap anyway but have saved a little in volume and heating. Bigger savings in detergent and other products used. There are savings that way, but not enough to govern the decision, IMHO. The machine just works better than any other ever owned. Still use conventional TL at another location (mom's) but MUCH prefer the FL.
Replaced an ancient Kenmore laundry center with a Whirlpool FL set 5 years ago and would never go back to a top loader. Just one person - do 2-5 medium size loads a week. Clothes are cleaner, not battered by the washer and come out of the washer so dry they dry amazingly fast in the dryer or hanging. I do run a Clean Washer cycle once in a while but only to entertain the cat. She loves it.
Your clothes are agitated far more in a front loading machine. They simply clean better and are more efficient. Some front loading models are able to spin at 350g's. A washer-extractor can decrease your drying time substantially. They are very nice for a family on-the-go.
Here is a link that might be useful: Nodak Laundry
With our old conventional water hog TL, sheets and pants normally came out terribly twisted up (not in the same load). This rarely happens with our FL washer.