The Washing Machine Man

Appliance Specialist.

Tony's tips for front load washers. 
For the quick and simple story click here
To really learn about front loaders keep on reading ........
Front load washers need to be understood....here are some useful tips for you.       Follow these tips and increase the time your machine will last  and achieve a much better result. Understanding and knowing will help you to gain confidence in your machine and believe in it . How and why it does what it does is important for you to know.
  • Most good front loaders will heat their water and will only need a cold water connection.
  • Cold water enters the machine first. Some stains respond better to cold water. i.e.blood. As the wash progresses the water warms to 40 degrees or whatever the preset temperature is. This gives a 'transient' range of temperatures to assist with stain removal.
  • Hardly ever use your washer set to less than a temperature of 40 degrees.
  • If you have a cold fill only machine, as most would,  you don't need to read this point. Then go to the next point.
     Dual fill models with both hot and cold water connections are usually the more expensive 'top end machines'. The idea of having both hot and cold fill is to use water from the hot water system in the house that has already been heated, supposedly economically (solar or heat pump etc). The facility has pros and cons. Some hot water systems are extremely hot and can damage the valves in the machine. Solar systems have been found to be in the category. When the machines with dual fill are set to fourty degrees or more some cycles may begin to  fill with hot water. If the hot tap was accidentally left off, after a short delay the cycle usually reverts to cold fill only. (some makes). After a short time cold water is added to temper the hot.  In practice, the transfer of temperature  to the temperature  sensing device in the lower outer tank can be too slow to accurately set the water temperature and trigger the tempering with cold water. The result can be a load hotter than intended. Also the transient range of temperatures that are achieved by filling with cold water first and rising slowly to the preset temperature level, so improving stain removal, is missed. These models with dual fill have the facility for the user to turn off the hot water valve and revert to the cold fill with the machine heating the water. This facility is set by a programming procedure described in the handbook (some makes).  These dual fill  models still do have some other facilities that may warrant the extra money when purchasing. Examples are better insulation and induction motors for quieter running,and anti-crease features. (some makes) When considering a dual fill machine it would be prudent to focus on the advantages  in your situation and so consider the costs involved. Some single cold fill machines do still have all the other features for less cost.
  • Always use a low suds soap containing enzymes.Omomatic is one.
  • It takes a temperature of fourty degrees for fifteen minutes to activate the enzymes in the soap.
  • This time frame and the extra low level rinses should assist you to realize just why front load washers take longer than top load washers. They are very thorough and gentle.
  • The enzymes dissolve grease and body fats that come from our clothes. We want them washed away don't we?
  • Keeping these greases away from the main seal area will stop the lip seals opening and so stop water getting into the roller bearings at the rear of the drum. The motion of the drum, being on a horizontal axis, tends to draw the greases into the center area where the seals and bearings are, so using the activated enzymes to flush the greases away is important.
  • Clean out the pump trap at the lower front of the machine regularly. Do this when there in no water in the machine. Otherwise you might get wet feet. A description of this procedure should surely be displayed in the users handbook. You can click here too for guidance.
  • Keep the rubber door boot clean. Check in the folds of the seal every time you empty the drum. Take care when removing your clothing from the drum. click here and scroll down to boot seals.
  • Once a month do a sixty degree wash.  Towels might need washing.
  • Once every few months do a drum cleaning ninety degree wash. Use enzyme soap for these maintenance cycles. Try to find some old clothing or rags to wash. If you can't find anything to wash at ninety degrees then just run the cycle through empty.
  • Avoid, as much as you can, using fabric softener. This is a silicone based product and can combine with residual soap to form a greasy jelly like substance that will build up in your machine.Dirty spots may appear on your wash.
  • If you notice that you rubber door seal is turning black or is starting to form black spots or marks, then you have most likely been washing in cold water or using fabric softener.(Cold breeds mold) Even if you have a model without a boot seal, the black build up will be inside the drum. Not out of sight out of mind !  This black 'stuff' will eventually mark your nice clothes.
  • Take notice of the small amount of water the machine uses per cycle. Consider, per fill, the water intake is quite low. There won't be much soap needed to saturate the washing solution, will there? You need very little soap. Less than suggested on the soap packet
  • As a front loader is a water saturation machine and not a water immersion machine, the clothes are just 'sloppy wet'.
  • As the clothes tumble, they are lifted and dropped. As they fall, it is as if they are being squeezed. Like you would press down on the clothes containing a fourty degree warm solution of concentrated soap. Think about this wash action. It is quite thorough.
  • The drum is made of highly polishes stainless steel to care for your clothes during this tumbling action.
  • The drain pump operates initially while the drum is static, so preventing lint in the rinse water contamination the wash. This means the wash is lint free.
  • Variations of spin speed  is a personal choice, but remember the less water in the clothes the easier it is on your dryer. The faster the spin the more creasing. A commonly preferred speed is 1200 RPM. Just as a comparison, most top load washers spin at 900RPM. Even at 900RPM towels can be wrung out as hard as possible without any water dripping down, provided the washer is 100 percent efficient without suds lock.
  • How do I know when the machine is full? Loading so that you can just fit your hand between the top of the load and the drum is a good guide.
  • Keep the appliance clean. Don't throw soap around as the  product can cause corrosion if it gets into the metal joins between panels. Take pride in your appliance. You need it to keep working for you. Care for it!


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In America it has been stated that the average life expectancy of a front load washer is 11 years. The life expectancy of a top load washer is 14 years.

     © Tony Pike 1/1/2006

 

     

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