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Old 03-12-2008, 07:16 PM   #11
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The problem here is that nobody in this house seems to want to bother with doing laundry until everything is dirty!
Well in some respects that's a good problem to have, it gets done in full loads then I guess. My nieces would drive me spare, they have the one or two favourite tops or skirts, and if it's dirty and they want to wear it out somewhere... they'll just put that one dang piece of clothing in the washer by itself, even when everything else is dirty too.


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It's just one of those terrific new technologies that really doesn't save anybody any money if they are just frugal about it to begin with.
Actually I don't really know why they're having such trouble with them, they've had front loaders as prcatically the "standard" washing machine in europe for over 20 years, top loaders were old-hat when I was a kid. That said, though while I care about saving energy, I've recently become dubious about the benefits of saving water, locally at least. A municipal services guru was talking about it in a news article and he was making it clear that saving water in the long run doesn't save money, there's a kind of bulk discount thing, they'll close down processing and pumping stations such that it becomes a more precious commodity... when you think that this also will pare service availability to the bone with practically no fallover capacity because it's like emergency water restrictions are already in effect, then contamination or disruption of the water supply could be very serious. Since this bit of Ontario here doesn't have a particular problem with access to water, it's only the question of processing it and rendering it potable that is applicable to conservation. However, should cutting back there result in higher degrees of human risk, zero consumer savings and potential that it costs 80% of the energy* to deliver 50% of the water anyway, then I really can't be bothered being too careful.

(*You need the big pumps to push it down the big pipes, but should consumption not demand the capacity of big pipes, you can use smaller pipes and smaller pumps, but have to work them hard because frictional losses are higher....)
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:09 PM   #12
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Yup, where we live, water is not really an issue. We just get so damned much of it falling from the sky and running down the rivers that it's hardly on the radar. The largest benefit for us would be in the energy savings of reduced drying times from the faster spin cycles most of the front loaders have. I just wish we could find a standalone spin dryer that worked as well, but everything short of industrial grade stuff looks like it's basically crap from what I can see.
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:36 PM   #13
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Best one I've ever purchased, Fisher-Paykel. Very programmable, saves power and water, and cleans better than my last maytag.

http://www.fisherpaykel.com/

Sold at Lowes.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:08 PM   #14
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well, we decide on THE most efficient washer at Sears for less than $1k. it's a kenmore(whirlpool) front loader on sale for $699 down from $799.

AND...picked up a $269 pedestal on clearance for $50!!!
colors do not match, so what!

it hurts, but got the 12 months w/ no interest.
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:40 PM   #15
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IMHO, front loaders are junk. This one lasted 4 years and broke twice. It would have been worse but I got it for only $300 new. I had issues with the pump and door. Finally it burned the main board and few other parts. It was used lightly by only 2 people. I asked my mother the queen of clean and she said wash quality was ho hum. Now my washer is not like every other washer, I'm sure there are ones that last longer and are built better. Here's the main problem with the new "breed of washers". Cheaply designed and constructed, planned obsolescence built in(designed not to last), electronic controls. You want whats good, go find the cheapest washer with a manual control knob. It has the least parts and the more dependable technology. Of course my POV is going to be to save money, with a resonable expectation of cleanlines. My latest tactic is to spend $25 or less on a washer. Why? Because even the new ones break! I've got a spare in the garage that cost me $13.

He's a pic of my front loader, it was very satisfying and I found $3 in change in the process.




And its $25 replacement. 1970 GE washer. Cast iron direct drive transmission, I felt like an old man after moving this thing be myself, it easily weighed double what it replaced. My how the mighty do fall. Imagine your grandad taking your spot on the rowing team. I did have to make on repair but it was incredibly easy to work because it had something odd called a FRAME. A hose had to be reconnected. I sold this washer after 1.5 years for $25 and replaced it with a newer high capacity washer thats mechanical. Its a twin to the one in storage.


If you want what I consider the most durable simplest washer you should consider a staber. Its all mechanical.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:09 PM   #16
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my washer bit the dust last night. never bought one, not new at least. with a growing family, a new and larger one is in order.

any help w/ what brand, where to buy, energy star(or not), etc would be greatly appreciated.
People often don't pay much attention to how much it costs to run a washer. And over the lifetime of the washer, that can make a real difference. Two very common costs that are overlooked with washers are: 1) How much water the washer uses. Many cheaper washers use a lot of water to do the laundry. This might not sound like much of a cost, until you realize that your hot water heater has to HEAT that much water (unless you wash in cold, which often doesn't work so good), and the energy to heat water can be costly. and 2) The costs of "drying the cloths" can be considerable. And while you might not think the washer has much to do with drying costs, better "spinning the cloths dry" (which is usually a feature of better washers) can make a huge difference in drying costs.

NOTE: If you don't mind a 3rd appliance (used between the washer and the dryer), there are stand alone "spin driers" which do a VERY GOOD job of spinning the cloths dry (thereby taking the task of spinning well away from the washer, allowing you to use a much cheaper washer and still get good results). You still need a normal (heat) drier after a spin drier, but you will save a huge amount of energy doing good spin drying first. And as an added bonus, good "spin drying" works as a natural (no chemical needed) "fabric softener", as the spinning process removes dissolved minerals (and other chemicals in your wash water) that can make cloth "stiff" (normal heat drying does NOT remove those minerals, but rather "bakes them on" when the heat evaporates the water off the cloths).

FWIW: SPIN dryers aren't very common/popular in the USA (but are somewhat common in parts of Europe). However, there are a few places you can buy them in the USA. For example, I have the following spin drier at my home (~ $150 new, including shipping), and I very much like it. It's manual start/stop (no automated controls), and only spins about 1/2 a wash load at a time. But overall, it seems to do a good job of removing water (and the dissolved minerals in that water) quickly and using only a trivial amount of electricity. This greatly speeds up the later drying cycle (which also saves a lot of energy your normal heat drier would otherwise use). And, as already mentioned, my cloths are now a lot "softer", now that I've been spin drying them after washing (and before doing the final drying in our traditional heat based cloths drier).

http://www.laundry-alternative.com/p...pin_Dryer.html
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:55 PM   #17
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DracoFelis,

very interesting. i wonder if the spin cycle causes most of the wear and tear on washers? your spin dryer would prove to be most valuable if that is the case.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:12 AM   #18
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The spin cycle of the Fisher-PayKel can be set as high as 1000rpm! The clothes are very nearly dry after that. Also this machine does not have a transmission and uses a direct drive dc motor for agitation and spinning. I'm impressed so far...
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:31 PM   #19
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What ever you do...don't git the Maytag Neptune front loader washer...unless yer the tinkering type and have money to fix all the problems they had with those.

I got 2 fer next to nothing that I'm tearing apart to learn from. Tech works great...when it's running. One already had most of the parts replaced with the better ones. So I've got lots of modding to do to the other. It only uses 4 gallons of water per cycle. So with the wash and 3 rinse cycles yer only using 12 gallons of water. That's what most top load washers use just fer the wash cycle.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:51 PM   #20
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People often don't pay much attention to how much it costs to run a washer. And over the lifetime of the washer, that can make a real difference. Two very common costs that are overlooked with washers are: 1) How much water the washer uses. Many cheaper washers use a lot of water to do the laundry. This might not sound like much of a cost, until you realize that your hot water heater has to HEAT that much water (unless you wash in cold, which often doesn't work so good), and the energy to heat water can be costly. and 2) The costs of "drying the cloths" can be considerable. And while you might not think the washer has much to do with drying costs, better "spinning the cloths dry" (which is usually a feature of better washers) can make a huge difference in drying costs.
Ok, while I don't disagree with that argument, it comes down to just how much that energy savings really adds up to. For example, just on the basis of high speed spinning:
  • Our cost per kWh = $0.09
  • The typical electric dryer uses 2.5kWh
  • One hour of drying time works out to 22.5 cents/hour
So, using those figures, if we were to spend only an extra $400 for a front loader or high speed spin washer, it might take half as long to dry a load, and would take $400/11.25cents = 3554 loads of laundry to make up that difference.

Ok, so that doesn't account for water heating, so let's throw that in too:
  • A conventional washer can use up to 40 gallons of water. (most use less)
  • A front loader or energy efficient washer may use as little as 10 gallons
  • If the cold water input is 60 OF and the heated water temperature is 105 OF, the difference in temperature in this case is 45 OF. One gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds and requires 8.34 BTU to raise the temperature one degree. In this case, the energy required to heat one gallon of water is 8.34 ? 45 = 375 BTU which is 0.110 kwh or 0.99 cents per gallon -- we'll call it one cent per gallon.
So 40 gallons heated 45 degrees F will cost about 45 cents per hot load. But most people I know don't wash everything in hot water, so I think it would be fair to assume an average here, including warm loads, of only 22.5 degrees of water heating, or about 22.5 cents per load. Compared to a water efficient front loader that uses only 10 gallons, we are spending an extra 17 cents per load.

Ok, taking the savings of 11.25 cents on drying and the savings of 17 cents on water heating for a total of 28.25 cents per load, it would take 1415 loads of laundry to make up the additional expense of $400 on a washer. That's allot of loads for the average household - and there is no guarantee that the washer will even last that long. Plus it will most certainly be well out of warranty by that time.

My calculations are also heavily skewed toward highest water use for the conventional machine and lowest use for a smaller capacity front loader. Plus the assumption is that drying time is cut in half, but I'm betting most people really only save about 1/3 - and most loads don't take the suggested hour that I used as a basis. So the cost savings are unlikely to even match what I have figured here. (But please feel free to check my math!)

That said, I think the standalone spin dryers are a far better option for the money if they work well. But, the last time I went looking for one, the only ones available were cheap countertop crap, and the others were unobtainium. That web site had them listed as out of stock for months. Perhaps I will have to try one out now.
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