The payback period for investing in new equipment is a simple calculation. Take the purchase price of the unit divide it by the expected annual savings. The result will tell you how many years it will take to get your investment back. Most businesses want the number to be in the area of 3 to 5 years. Up until mid 2008 the payback on a gas fired appliance was very fast with natural gas trading at an all time high. So dryers and water heaters were popular purchases. However gas now trades for less than half of the 2008 high water mark. As a result, payback on those items is quite a bit longer than before. Labor by and large has been stable during that time due to the Great Recession. What has not decreased or been stable in that time frame is water and sewer costs. Government regulations and local municipalities have caused the rates on both of these items to increase sharply. So, if confronted with a few purchase options this year we suggest you start with your washers as a way to decrease costs and be Green at the same time. Times have indeed changed.