High efficiency top loaders


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There has been an interesting development in the last five years in the world of top load washing machines. What follows are only my opinions on the matter but I do have a little expertise, having been an appliance technician and business owner for the past twenty four years.

I am all about energy efficiency. I built my own off grid home in 2007 that used solar panels and batteries for our electricity, so I know how to be efficient. I actually like being efficient. The problem with top load washing machines is they use a LOT of water, up to 30 gallons for a full wash and rinse cycle. The energy used to agitate and spin the clothes is actually inconsequential compared to the energy used to heat fifteen gallons of water for a hot wash. Somewhere around five years ago, the government decided that washing machines need to be more efficient, so they wrote laws mandating energy efficiency. Because the majority of energy goes into heating the water, the only thing the manufacturers could do to meet the requirements was to lower the amount of water used.

Now we get to the problem. It is awfully hard to get clothes clean in a top load washer using only five gallons of wash water, yet this is how much water they use to wash the clothes. Maybe you notice that the lid locks on your new washing machine? Why does it lock? Maybe so you won’t twist your arm off while it is spinning.. but wait the old machines shut the motor off if the lid was raised. So why does it lock? Maybe so you won’t see the dismally low water level in which your filthy clothes are grinding around in? I don’t know the answer but I was shocked when I first saw how little water is actually in the new Whirlpool design top loader.

So what is the best way to clean clothes efficiently and actually clean them? I believe the axis of the washer just needs to be turned 90 degrees, in other words, get a front loader. Front loaders use the weight of the clothes and a natural in and out of the bath water action to get the dirt out. And they work pretty darn well. Look at how most commercial laundromats are geared, front load washers everywhere. The problem in the good old USA is that grandma put her clothes in the top of her washer, mom put her clothes in the top, and I ain’t buying one of those front loaders, the door will pop open and the water will run out all over the floor!, right? If you have ever been to Europe, you will notice that everyone has a front load washer. Why? Because energy is very expensive there and has been for long enough that the population has accepted that front loaders work better than top loaders.

We actually see very few instances of water coming out the door on front load washers. Front loaders can spin faster than top loaders (up to 1200 RPM), so the clothes come out with less moisture in them. Now the clothes dryer doesn’t have to run as long because the clothes are not as wet when they go in. They get clothes plenty clean in about 1/3 as much water as a traditional top loader.

So where am I going with all of this? If you want a top loader, come get one of our used machines while we still have ones that fill completely with water. Top loaders are simple, easy to repair, and have long lifespans. If you want efficiency, we have several used front loaders for sale for about half of what a new one costs. I will admit that the high efficiency top loaders have gotten better in the past year or two but the first ones that came out were often just awful Rube Goldberg inventions that were nightmares to repair and had short service lives.

My last thought on efficiency. How efficient is it if it gets thrown away when it breaks? Call us to repair your washing machine rather than buy a new one, You might not save the world, but you might be more efficient where it counts, in your wallet!