Washing Machine Buyers Guide
There are two types of washing machines – front-loading washing machines and top-loading washing machines. Generally speaking, front-loading machines can handle larger loads and use less water and detergent, but they are also a bit more difficult to maintain than top-loading machines.
When buying a washing machine there are several things to consider. The most common variables from one machine to another are:
Number of Presets
This is the starting point for buying a washing machine. You need a machine that is large enough to handle your laundry needs, but not too big for your laundry room.
Large families of course will need a larger capacity washing machine, but couples without children and single people can easily get by with a compact washing machine.
Smaller washing machines are usually less expensive to operate, quieter, and cheaper to buy than larger machines. They may also be come in stackable sets for further space savings.
On the other hand, a large capacity washing machine is a necessity for most families. They are also useful for anyone who “saves up” their laundry for a once-a-week laundry day.
Capacity is measured in cubic feet and also in load weight.
Front-loading washing machines use significantly less water than top-loading washing machines. This may be important if your water supply is limited, but less water consumption also means smaller water utility bills.
An added bonus with lower water consumption is correspondingly less detergent use. This can result in significant savings, especially if your washing machine require special detergent.
This is a biggy that adds up to significant dollar differences over the lifespan of the washing machine. Look for a washing machine that is rated “Energy Star.” This means that it consumes at least 50% less energy than a conventional washing machine. This amounts to a savings of about $110 a year on utility bills.
Machines which are Energy Star rated still cover range of power consumption so if you are particularly energy conscious look for a machine with the lowest yearly energy consumption rating.
When Its Time To Decide Between Repairing Or Replacing Your Washing Machine
Deciding between repairing your current washing machine and buying a new one may be a decision that you are contemplating.
If so, you might take note of your primary objectives as a consumer. For all criteria there is an answer.
From simple troubleshooting to the most expensive front loading washing machine purchase, you have a world of choices.
If you are having some minor problems with your current machine then simple repair may be your answer. Even if you have to fork out the money, this may be a satisfactory solution when held up against the prospect of a new washing machine purchase.
Perhaps the problems don’t lie with your washing machine, but the hoses, standpipe or drain. Unclog the drain or unkink the hose and you may be ready to go.
However, you just might be in the market for a new machine. If that is the case you will need to decide which one is right for you.
The “green” minded can find hand-operated mini-washers that require no electricity and use little water or soap. The loads are small and some physical labor is required so they may not be for everyone.
Maybe space is an issue for you. If that is the case, there are a variety of portable washing machines from which to choose, from the Wonderwash mini washing machine to some very high quality machines by Haier, Whirlpool, Bosch, LG and others.
Easy to hook up and easy to store away, these machines accommodate space limitations and save you costly Laundromat visits.
Other people may opt for the traditional top loading work horse. GE, Whirlpool and LG, to mention a few, make some attractively priced machines that can be counted on for years. Throw in your laundry, close the lid and be on your way.
Still others find themselves attracted to the European style front loading washing machine. Quiet and efficient, these machines have become increasingly popular of late.
Many of the previously mentioned brands have come out with front loading options. However, if you want the best of the best, you would be well advised to take a hard look at the Miele washing machine line.
Ultimately your purchase depends on your objectives, taste and budget. Consider all the options, read washing machine reviews, do price comparisons, and compare ratings. After you have done your homework, you will be able to make an informed decision that will wash.
Commercial Washing Machines
Durable For Frequent And Heavy Use
Commercial washing machines, unlike consumer washing machines, are built primarily for industrial or constant public use.
Though there are plenty of commercial machines available to the average consumer, they really far exceed the needs of home use.
These commercial units are generally equipped with unique or customized features specific to their anticipated use.
Any venue that calls for frequent and heavy use could benefit from a commercial washing machine. Most manufacturers that make these washers produce coin operated versions or credit/debit card versions ready for Laundromat use. Though they can have several options, most are made with limited choices when they are made for strictly commercial establishments.
An example of a Laundromat feature not seen in home models is an automatic chemical or detergent dispenser. Liquid soap or laundry chemicals are stored in containers within the structure of the machine and then dispersed based on customer choice.
This is a convenient feature saves the consumer from having to measure out detergent, bleach and more.
Commercial machines come in both the top loading and front loading variety. The front loaders are typically set up to charge the customer more, but also provide ample space for larger loads. Again, convenience and durability are prominent features of these washers. Washing time, for example, in most of the front loading versions is programmed to match drying time.
Because these machines are designed for larger volume and frequent usage, a premium is placed on efficiency.
These front loading commercial machines are engineered to use less water per cycle. If you compare the commercial front loaders to their top loading counterparts, the front loaders can save as much as 20 gallons per load.
Most commercial front loaders have convenient features not often found in the home machines. Home front loaders do not usually allow the user to toss in forgotten items once the cycle starts.
Front loaders found in Laundromats will allow the user to pause the cycle and add the missing article of clothing.
For the business owner or potential buyer of a commercial washing machine, there is an incredible array of choices. Some of the more accessibly priced machines start around the $800 to $1,000 range. In fact,
GE makes a rock-bottom commercial coin operated top loader for as little as $709. The Frigidaire FCCW3000F is a front loader that can be purchased for as little as $899.
Maytag makes a higher end and more expensive commercial unit in its model MAH22DAWW front loading washer. This unit is priced at $1,440. The list goes on up to commercial washers priced well over $2,000.
If your laundry needs are on a large scale, the commercial washing machines are the way to go. Buying the right one can be the start of an incredibly successful business.
Front Load Washing Machines
Find The Best Front Load Washing Machines
More and more people are making the switch to front load washing machines. What was once a predominantly European product has become increasing popular and accessible in the U.S.
Now, the American consumer has more quality choices than ever when it comes to this style of washing machine – reviews are better than ever!
Though front loaders are typically more expensive than their top loading counterpart, they have several marked advantages. Plus, as they have become increasingly popular, competition among competing manufacturers has made them more affordable.
Apart from their attractive design, a distinct advantage to front loading washing machines is their energy efficiency. Generally speaking, they use significantly less water and therefore require less heating energy than other washers.
Load sizes can typically be larger as well. No longer do you have to find other ways to wash large items such as extra thick blankets or comforters. These articles can be washed with relative ease, in part, due to the absence of the agitator used in the front loaders.
The missing agitator contributes to additional advantages. Front loaders tend to be far quieter during the washing process, eliminating the nuisance that ironically began with the increase in indoor laundry rooms. Clothes too, are treated far more gently in the front loaders because of the lack of agitator.
These machines increase the level of convenience as well. Because of the high spin speed of many models, washing times are greatly reduced. Furthermore, because of the speed, clothes tend come out dryer which in turn reduces drying time.
Design features and practicality have also helped increase the popularity of this style of washing machine.
The availability of different models in enticing colors and its professional appearance have made it an attractive addition to any household. Its easy-to-fit-in-tight-places flexibility makes it a preferred choice for those grappling with space issues.
Fortunately for the consumer, there are a host of manufactures that offer a front loading washing machine option. Whirlpool is producing several models at various price points. LG electronics offers competitively priced machines rivaling the quality of whirlpool.
Some of the higher end machines are made by Miele, Bosch and Euro-Tech. For the more economically priced front loader you might consider Amana, GE, Frigidare or Maytag.
It is possible to spend less than $500 or as much as $2,000 on one of these machines, depending on features, style, brand, etc.
Take your time when you compare these top brands. Fortunately prices are becoming increasingly attractive so if you decide on a designer style front loading washing machine you won’t have to pay designer prices.
Portable Washing Machines
When Space Is The Issue
If you live in a small home, apartment or recreational vehicle then you might consider the purchase of one of the many portable washing machines on the market today. Surprisingly, there is a wide selection for consumers.
Prices are generally quite accessible. Plus, the range of products from mini-washing machines to energy saving “green” alternatives to highly efficient sophisticated machinery, make these portable washers an attractive consumer choice.
For the environmentally conscious, for those on a limited budget or for those occasions where electricity is not available, hand powered portable washing machines are a great option.
Great for small loads, easy to travel with, perfect for places with little or no laundry access, these hand-powered washers don’t require the work you might imagine.
Typically in less than two minutes your load is washed. In addition, they use less water and less detergent their electric counterparts. You do need to manually empty grey water and refill with rinse water, but that is a small price to pay for all the saving you will be doing.
From the selection of electric powered machines there are also some smaller portable units that are ideal for the RV or the home maker who needs to wash smaller, but more frequent loads.
These mini portable washing machines accommodate loads in the five pound range. These, like the hand-powered machines, use a lot less water than most of the larger ones.
Additionally, the smaller machines are better for delicates. These machines function like a traditional machine, but in a no-frills manner.
Even the larger of these portable machines are great for small living spaces. Though they are not usually made for traveling, they can be easily moved around your home or apartment and then just as easily stored away.
After connecting it to your sink with the provided adapter, the washing process mirrors that of traditional top-loading or front-loading washing machines.
Multiple wash cycle choices and rinse and spin cycles on many models allow you to do exactly what you would with a larger machine.
Once you decide what your specific needs are then you can begin your shopping. You might first take a look at some of the portable washing machine reviews on the internet to get an idea on the grades given to different styles, brands and models.
But to give you some basic ideas consider a cross section of prices. For the “green” consumer Clean Air Gardening makes a hand powered model for less than $50.
Wonderwash makes a mini portable machine for between $40 and $50, depending on where you $200 to $300 range. Danby, Avanti and Summit offer some higher end models for as much as $400 to $600.
So regardless of the space in which you live (or travel) you don’t have to hand wash or “live” in the Laundromat. For the tight space, the person on the go, or the energy conscious there is a solution.
Hook it up, plug it in, and put it away. Make life easy and convenient with your purchase of a portable washing machine.
Top Load Washing Machines
Top Load Are More Reliable And More Affordable Than A Front Load
With the increasing popularity of front loading washing machines, the tried and true top loading washing machines have lost some of their luster.
Yet the top loader models have many positive features that still make them attractive consumer choices. From price to function to reliability, there are numerous arguments to be made on behalf of this traditional American machine.
Though the top loader can be harder on clothes because of the agitator, they tend to be more reliable than their front loading brethren. But if you are not planning to machine wash delicate clothing this drawback is essentially minimized.
The top loader has been criticized as less energy efficient than the front loading machines. This may be true as a general rule. However, manufacturers like Bosch, LG, Frigidaire and others have come out with many models that are helping to close the efficiency gap.
The ease of use of a top loading washing machine is a big advantage for most homemakers. Many of the no frills top loaders are elementary in design, but straight forward in function.
Likewise, the top loader allows for last minute clothing article addition. The front loader, by contrast, cannot usually be opened for late item additions once a cycle has begun.
Many of the front loaders were the previous consumer choice, especially in Europe, for those with limited space. Now with design advancements in top loaders, including stackable units and portable washing machines, that gap too has been narrowed.
The front loading machine, unlike the top loading machine, tends to be wider and bulkier and may be difficult to fit into laundry closets.
The top loading version has also been criticized for its slower spin speed. Again, some of the newer machines have improved in that area as well.
Additionally, some manufacturers have come out with top loaders without agitators which allows for increased spin speed and gentler treatment of clothes.
Finally, the main advantage, by most accounts, that top loading machines have is price. In many cases a reliable basic top loader can be purchased for $250 to $300.
The least expensive front loader is nearly double that. The workhorse nature of the top loader at very accessible prices underscores its continuing popularity despite the front loader intrusion.
So buying a top loading washing machine, in most cases, is like money in the bank — money that can pay for years of clean clothes, years of washing success.
Troubleshooting Washing Machines
Figuring Out The Problem Will Help You To Decide To Repair Or Replace
The original basic idea behind household appliances was to make life easier for the homemaker. So if your washing machine is giving you problems, don’t panic. Before you unload a fistful of hard earned cash on a repair or a new purchase, be comforted by the fact that trouble shooting washing machines is something that just about anybody can do.
From time to time your washing machine may refuse to turn on or may stop functioning in mid cycle. These are usually simple fixes. If it seems like it is a power issue, start with the cord itself.
Be sure that it is inserted into the nearest outlet. The next electrical check is the circuit breaker. Power surges can trip circuit breakers, especially if your home has older wiring. Put the breakers back on and try again.
Another power issue can simply be the result of an unbalanced load. Some machines have an automatic shut off feature to prevent excess movement and wobbling. If this should occur, try removing some of the laundry and see if this solves the problem.
Your washing machine troubleshooting ventures may also help you unravel slow water entry into your machine. In this event, first take a look at your water faucets and make certain that they have been completely opened by giving them a counterclockwise turn until you meet firm resistance.
Then give all the filters a thorough cleaning. This should be done on a regular basis as a thin film of grime can build up and restrict water flow. After that, check you water hoses. Older, worn out hoses can easily kink, causing interrupted water flow.
You may come across an agitator that has stopped moving. Because of the rotational movement of most top loading washing machines, it is possible for clothing articles to get trapped by or wound around the agitator.
Fish around with your hand and remove anything that is stuck – hopefully freeing up the movement anew.
Many water drainage issues can be solved as well. Check you drain hose first to make sure it is clear. A simple clog in the line can back up your machine. Take a look at where the drain hose enters the standpipe.
If the fit is too tight, the lack of proper air flow may inhibit proper drainage. As before, tangled clothing around the agitator can be a culprit. This can inhibit movement and prevent you machine from completely draining.
If your washing machine problems persist, you may have to call a professional. Check first to see if your machine is still under manufacturer warranty. For pump or belt issues, you may be required to purchase washing machine parts.
Whirlpool, General Electric and Maytag machine parts are generally reasonably priced, so basic repair may not be that expensive. Remember, by washing machine troubleshooting first keep your washer going and money in your pocket.
Washing Machine Parts
Once You Decide To Repair, Its Time To Find Replacement Parts
Is your washer on the fritz? Have you decided in favor of repair and against a new purchase? Once you have determined that you or a professional is going to repair your machine, you will need to negotiate your way through the world of washing machine parts. Some basic research on parts will ultimately help guide you through the decision making process.
An initial step will involve some diagnostic work by you or a technician. Regardless of who is doing the diagnosis, there are numerous repair manuals available online to help with the problem evaluation.
Typically the top loading washing machines have manuals readily available to the public. More common machines under long-standing brands like Maytag, Whirlpool, General Electric and Frigidaire are quite easy to find information for.
After doing the diagnosis, or having it done for you, you can research the different websites that offer information on prices, ordering guidelines and more. Information on a huge variety of washer machine parts is available.
Your first step should include research on the price of the part you need. Some sites are limited on the brands they make available.
However, most reliable sites will have parts for as many as 100 or more brands, including a fair share of discontinued models.
In addition to the previously mentioned most common brands, you should be able to find information on parts for Bosch, LG, KitchenAid, Miele and many more. When doing your parts pricing, be sure to calculate tax and shipping costs where applicable.
Once you have made a calculation of your parts price for your washing machine, you will need to make a determination as to whether or not it makes sense to go through with your repair project.
The pump, for example, can cost as little as $35 and as much as $100 or more depending on the brand. If you have to factor in the labor of a professional, you could be on the verge of shelling out a disproportionate amount of money.
Before committing to a parts purchase, you should probably revisit the diagnosis of your washer’s problems. Often the diagnosis is more difficult than the actual repair. The main point is to be certain of what the problem is before making a purchase. With the help of online manuals and careful, methodic following of instructions, you can gain a degree of confidence that your assessment is correct. At that point order away.
Even if you hire a professional, all the above steps will be a helpful guide to you. You can use the research to compare prices. You may be able to purchase the part, for example, for less than can your technician. Furthermore, by doing all the research, you will more fully understand the entire repair process.
Don’t let the world of washing machine parts overwhelm you. There is a wealth of information on your side. The more you investigate, the more confident you will feel a part of the process.
Washer Machine Repair
A Money Saving Alternative To A New Machine
So you have a Whirlpool, Maytag, GE, Admiral or one of a number of washing machine brands. But now your warranty has run out and something has gone wrong.
Now it’s repair time. Or is it? Do you pay to get your Whirlpool or Maytag fixed? Do you give it a try yourself? How do you decide what to do?
The first thing you should do before you begin to calculate repair costs or the purchase of a new machine is go through a simple electrical troubleshooting list. Before doing anything else, make sure your machine is plugged in. If it is, take a look at the breaker and reset it if necessary.
Perhaps the machine you are using has an overload shut-off feature. Remove some of the clothes from your load and try again.
Even if that doesn’t do the trick, there is plenty more to look at before entering full washing machine repair mode. If it is a water heat or water volume issue, make sure your hoses don’t have any kinks and give all your filters a good cleaning.
Maybe the issue is related to water not properly draining from the washer tub. This could be caused the drain hose fitting too tightly into the standpipe. A slightly looser fit will allow proper air flow which will eliminate and air pressure related stoppage.
If none of these simple repairs alleviate the problem, you probably will need to call a washing machine repair professional or give it a go yourself.
With the availability of parts and repair manuals online you can get a lot of helpful information if you are so inclined. The key thing to remember is that the diagnosis is a fairly slow and methodical process.
But before going down this road you should do some rough calculations and ask yourself some basic questions. How long have I had the machine?
What is the potential repair cost when compared to the purchase of a new machine altogether? Is it a repair I can do myself with some instructional help? How much will it take?
As a rule of thumb a $100 is an average DIY price tag for a new pump with tax and shipping charges factored in.
If your washing machine is in otherwise impeccable condition, you might consider spending the money. However, if your machine has some minor leaks or uses a great deal of water and/or energy, maybe it’s time for that new purchase.
Some very high quality washing machines have quite accessible prices. Most are now considerably more efficient than their predecessors. Take a look at GE, Whirlpool, LG and Admiral to start.
Finally, if a simple fix will buy you another 10 years of clothes washing happiness then that is your answer. If however, you have been looking for an excuse to buy your designer Miele washer, then by all means have at it. After all, a washing machine is something that should work for you, not against you.
Washing Machine Drain
Keep The Water Flowing
Probably the simplest, but biggest potential problem with just about any household appliance is with the washing machine drain.
Though washing machines were invented to make to life easier, one that does not drain can go a long way toward greatly complicating life instead. The most likely culprits, among other things, are the drain pan, drain pump, drain hose or drain pipe.
Homeowners should take steps toward both prevention and cure by following some no-nonsense steps.
With the first hint of any drain problems you should have the washing machine’s drain line snaked by a plumber.
If there are signs of any backups in other areas of the home you should probably have the main drain snaked as well. To maximize prevention, especially if you have recently purchases or moved into an older home, you should snake as a matter of course.
One of the common mistakes is the overlooking of specifications of the washing machine drain pipe.
The drain or flow rate of your washer will depend on the make or model. If you have recently remodeled an area of your home to accommodate your washing machine, for example, you should make certain that the drain pipe is of sufficient diameter width.
The same considerations should be taken with the drain itself. If you live in an older home actual opening of the drain and obviously the mouth of the drain pipe may only measure 1 1/2″ in diameter.
Because of increased flow rates of newer machines, drain diameters are now regularly 2″ in diameter. If you fear potential overflows you might consider the purchase of a tub for your laundry room.
This tub temporarily retains the water that could potentially overflow and allows the pipe to successfully drain regardless of the washing machine’s flow rate.
Simple measures like checking the drain hose can help you prevent or fix problems. First make sure that rubber your drain hose is not old or brittle.
Regular changing of the drain hose is highly recommended. When you do inspect or replace your washing machine’s drain hose, make certain that the “U” in the hose that goes into the drain pipe is of sufficient strength.
The “U” shape itself reduces the velocity of the water that is exiting the washing machine so as to facilitate proper drainage and minimize overflows.
In addition to the above checks and repairs it would be wise install a drain pan. The washing machine sits inside the pan.
The pan protects the floor from any small leaks by serving as a catch basin. Drain pans are especially important for indoor laundry rooms or closets and doubly important for upstairs facilities.
You should use these safety checks as a general rule of thumb. They can help you avoid far more costly repairs in the long run. Make sure all your washing machine drain problems are minimized or ones that you prevent from happening in the first place.