A washing machine is an appliance that for the most part automates doing the laundry. It saves a lot of time and energy and could be a house helpmate for many years depending on its durability and quality.
Types of Washing Machines
There are two most popular types of washing machines: the top-loader and the front-loader.
The top loader is the vertical-axis washer. It has a deep tub with a water pumping agitator at the center bottom of the tub. It is filled with enough water before the laundry detergent and clothes are put in. The agitator pushes the water in a circular pattern, alternating clockwise and then counterclockwise until the timer stops.
The front loader is the horizontal-axis washer. Most commercial washers are of this design. The tub is positioned horizontally and there is a door at the front for loading clothes. There is a back and forth movement of the cylinder. The paddles lift and drop the clothes on the inside wall of the drum. There is no need to suspend the clothes in water for easy rotation. Thus a smaller amount of water and soap are required.
Differences of Front-loading and Top-loading Washing Machines
Top-loaders use more water, detergent and power.
Front-loaders can clean more efficiently.
Top-loaders highest spin speed is around 650 RPM while the Front-loaders spin at 1000 RPM to 2000 RPM (Revolutions per Minute).
Front-loaders have longer rotation or cycle period.
Top-loaders make more sound when washing.
Front-loaders have a gentle action because the paddles just pick up and drop clothes. This movement saves the clothes from wear and tear.
Top-loaders occupy a bigger space unlike the Front-loaders which can be installed just like one of the cabinets or directly above a Top-loader.
Front-loaders can easily clean heavier clothes like blankets, bath towels and pillows.
Top-loaders are not prone to leakage, the Front-loaders need quality gasket and the door should be locked during the operation.
Front-loaders use motor drives that are simple and easy to maintain.
Top-loaders use more complicated gear that needs regular maintenance.
Front-loaders are good for short-people.
Top-loaders need bending over when loading and removing clothes.
Front-loaders are more expensive than the Top-loaders because of the additional features included.
Top-loaders are cheaper but have higher operating costs.
Tips in Buying Washing Machines
There are at least four questions to ask in buying a washing machine.
How many are you in the family? The wash load will depend on the size of your family. The general rule is that you’ll have to wash 1 kilogram worth of laundry daily for every three people in the house. So a family of six can expect around 2kg wash loads in a day. Obviously for a small family, a small washing machine is advisable. It uses less water and power. Comforters and heavy blankets can be washed in the public Laundromat instead.
How many times do you wash your clothes in a week? It can be 3 times a week, 2 times a week or once a week. If you wash clothes once a week, it will be more than 6kg of wash loads in a week. Washing machines have different capacities, so, the right size should be bought to accommodate your wash loads—and schedule.
What kind of washing machine do you like to buy? It should be a washing machine that has a water temperature and a spin speed adjustment for different kinds of fabrics. It should be a washing machine that can be used as a washbasin for soaking clothes. The machine should be economical in using electricity and water. The washing machine should be well-built, rust-free and easy to clean. The Top-loading machine is cheaper but the Front-loader is more energy efficient due to its less water consumption and its longer and higher speed spin cycle.
What is the Energy Efficiency of your washing machine? The Energy Guide yellow label at the back of the machine tells how much energy is consumed by that model in kilowatts per hour in a year (kwh/y). The lower the number the more economical the appliance is. Choose the model that uses least energy. Energy Star washing machines use up to 50% less energy and are environment friendly.
Safety Measures in Using Washing Machines
Do not overload the machine with clothes. This will result in reduced water and soap circulation and cause uneven rinsing. Overloading the washer may damage the even motor, the agitator or the laundry items themselves. Clothes might get into the agitator or around its shaft if there is a congestion of wash loads.
Fabric softeners should be dissolved in water before use.
Intake screens should be removed and cleaned at least once a month.
Damaged door seals should be replaced immediately to avoid water leakage.
Hoses should be replaced immediately and carefully if they are broken. Their normal life span is five years. Braided steel lines are affordable, durable, and highly recommendable for washing machines.
If the hose drips or bursts, the washing machine should be unplugged right away. This is to avoid any electrical problems.
A ground fault circuit interrupter is needed in the laundry room to avoid electric shocks.
Be sure to keep the floor from water and detergents to avoid sliding accidents. It is better to have a floor drain in the laundry area.
Shutoff valves should be installed to automatically stop water leaks.
Water supply should be turned off after the washing period as a precautionary measure in case there are undetected hose problems.
Children should not be allowed to play near the washer while it is being used.
Energy Saving Tips for Washing Machine Users
Use a Load Auto-Sensor or buy the washing machine model with this feature. This sensor measures the size of the wash load and adds the right amount of water to the machine, therefore, saving some water and energy.
The water heater of the washing machine uses ninety percent of the energy. If the clothes to be washed are not really dirty, it is better to turn the heater off to save a lot of energy and money.