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    What to look for when buying a washing machine

    Summary: Advice for choosing a washing machine, buying an energy efficient washing machine, comparing types of washing machine, combination washer/dryers and washing machine performance.

    Buying a new washing machine may not be as exciting as buying a new car, or the latest wide screen TV and we tend to think about it only when forced to by the demise of our old machine. It is tempting to spend as little as possible to replace it but a quality machine will last longer and perform better, saving money in the long run. The best machines can last 20 years or more and will require repairing less frequently. To install a washing machine see our project.

    If a company makes quality washing machines then all their models are usually a similar quality. The difference between any manufacturer`s basic washing machine and their top model is not the build quality but features such as spin speed, drum size, number of programmes, etc. If money is tight it is probably better to choose a basic model from a quality manufacturer such as Miele, AEG, Siemans or Zanussi; rather than a top of the range machine costing about the same from Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda or Hoover.

    Energy efficient washing machines

    To assist consumers in their decisions about washing machines, the EU has a labelling system rating major appliances from A to G for energy consumption, wash performance and water extraction (spin) performance. With the current emphasis on energy savings, most modern machines are now rated at least A for energy consumption with some achieving A+ or even A++. Note that information about rinsing performance, of concern to those with sensitive skin, is not readily available. Environmental concerns have led to manufacturers using less water for rinsing causing problems for people with sensitive skin, but the rinse cycle can always be run again if this is found to be a particular problem.

    Samsung Washing Machine - lets-do-diy.com

    Types of washing machine

    Of the two basic types of machines, front loaders and top loaders, front loaders are by far the most popular choice with consumers in the UK.

    The advantages of front loaders

    Front loaders can sit under work surfaces and even be "fully integrated" by means of a door to match fitted kitchen cabinetry. They tend to be quieter than top loaders and offer much higher spin speeds of up to 1600RPM making it possible to dry clothes more quickly, reducing the time and energy required for tumble drying. Tests comparing front loading and top loading machines have shown that in general, front loaders wash clothes more thoroughly, cause less wear to clothes and use less water and energy than top loaders. As a result of using less water, they require less detergent to be used. Leaking door seals can be a problem, however.

    Front Loading Washing Machine - lets-do-diy.com

    The advantages of top loaders

    The advantages of top loaders are; they tend to be easier to load and unload without stooping; they complete a washing cycle much faster; and they can be stopped to allow clothes to be removed at intermediate stages of the cycle (if some clothes need to be taken out before spinning, for example), although many modern front loaders can now be stopped and added to or removed from because the water in the horizontal tub is still below the door level.

    Top Loading Washing Machine - lets-do-diy.com

    Combination washer/dryers

    Combination washer/dryers are sometimes recommended where space is at a premium but they use much more electricity than two separate machines as the drying cycle has to dry out the machine as well as the clothes. A more energy efficient arrangement in a small space would be to stack a dryer on top of a front loading washing machine.

    Washing machine performance

    Most washing machines on the market today have an outer tub of plastic rather than metal. Only the most expensive machines such as Miele are likely to have a metal outer tub. The advantages of plastic is that they are cheaper to produce and do not rust but they can be punctured by coins or other metal objects and it is well worth making sure these do not get in there in the first place.

    A washing machine does so much hard work it is important to invest money in a good quality one. The alternative is a noisy (distracting if you are working from home), unstable, unreliable and unsophisticated washing machine that you constantly have to repair or replace, costing much more in the long run.

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