Front Load Washers ? Some Facts Before Purchase Part 2
Most problems people are experiencing with their front load washers are due to consumer misunderstandings about how the machine should operate. Actual problems are rare, rather than inherent.
Anyone who purchases a front loader will find they have to do something that seems completely unbelievable to most North Americans. They will have to actually read the operating manual.
We all seem to believe we come pre-programmed knowing the proper way to operate washing machines. Our mother took five minutes one day to show us the proper way to do a washing, therefore we don?t need to learn any more. Wrong! Front loading washing machines are a whole new breed.
The first thing to understand about front loaders is that most require a special detergent to operate properly. It is a low suds detergent, often referred to as ?he? detergent. It means high efficiency. Tide produces a HE detergent, as does Gain and Sunlight.
Do not be tempted to use regular detergent. It will produce too much suds for a front loader. Excess suds in a front loader will interfere with its whole washing process.
Suds are basically air bubbles and by themselves do not clean anything. Excess suds in a front loader simply lay on top of the water, creating a cushion or barrier between the water and the clothing.
While its top load cousin submerses the clothes in water this machine does not. It works by picking up the clothes and then dropping then into the water. Excess suds will actually stop the clothes from reaching the water. Rather than dropping into water the clothes will hit the suds and not get through to the water below. So if the clothes rarely touch the water a poor wash will result.
Compounding this misunderstanding are sales people. Many are falsely informing customers that a front loader will operate with any type of detergent.
The second consideration is that they seem to work better using a hot or warm wash temperature. A cold rinse is fine, but for the wash temperature warm or hot is better.
Again let me refer to the European models. They usually have a built in water heater to maintain wash and rinse temperatures. In North America we use household water tanks for hot water. For cold water we depend upon the ground water temperature. This means our washing temperatures can vary drastically depending upon the season. If the water temperature entering the machine is too cold the detergent will not dissolve. This can cause a buildup of detergent inside the working surfaces of the machine.
Can you do a cold-water wash? Yes, of course. If you need to wash delicates (lingerie or blouses) or other items in cold water go right ahead. For everyday (bedding, whites, permanent press) washing though the hot or warm wash, followed by a cold rinse will give the best overall results.
This problem has been recognized by manufacturers. Many are now adding a temperature sensor that will mix the hot and cold water to compensate for the ground water effects.
Lastly, poor washing practices can lead to odours from these machines. Do not leave wet clothes in them overnight. Do not allow dirt or grim to build up around the door or rubber boot where the clothes are inserted. It may even be a good idea to leave the door open slightly after using the washer. This allows the interior to dry. If there are small children in your home then wipe the interior dry when finished washing ? then lock the door.
Also, it will be to your advantage to properly measure laundry products when using this type machine. Follow the manufactures suggestions about amounts and types of products. If unsure, contact the manufacturer. Most have a customers service department or website that can answer all your queries.
It is my experience that North Americans tend to be sloppy washers. That is, we do not read instructions (men are much worse than women), measure, or use much care about household activities. Therefore, using a front loader washing machine may require a rethinking for consumers.
So if a front load washing machine is in your future be prepared to re-learn a few laundry practices. A small effort and an open mind will result in many years of trouble-free washing. And welcome to the 21st century.
Copyright 2005 by Donald Grummett.
All right reserved.
About the Author: Donald Grummett has been in the trade over 30 years as a technician, business owner, and technical trainer. Visit http://www.mgservices.ca to learn more invaluable information about your appliances.