These 'combination' units are designed to wash your clothes in a front load washer and then when the cycle is finished, go into a drying cycle and dry the clothes too. The result would be to start the wash and finish with tumble dryed clothes ready for folding or the iron. What a great idea, you may be inclined to think.
In practice this is how they work. The machine requires plenty of room in the drum for the drying cycle, so the load has to be about half the rated load size for the washer. For example, if the washer is a 7kg machine and you want to dry the load too, you can only load the machine with 3.5kg of washing.
The drying is not as a conventional tumble dryer works. The drying works with heat from an element and a condenser action to attract the moisture. Water is used to create the cooling for the condenser action to work. This means that a fair bit of water is used to dry the clothes in addition to what was used to wash the clothes.One make, (and no doubt more) uses more water to dry the clothes than it used to wash them. A surprising statistic, isn't it ?
The cycle times can be around four to five hours, with water intermittently entering the machine for all of the drying phase. The heat for the drying is provided from a heater element inside the appliance which draws approximately 9 amps.
To give you an example, a well known brand with a washing capacity of about 7kg uses about 60 litres of water to wash the clothes and then uses about 70 litres of water to dry the clothes. A large top load washer uses less water than this in total for the washing cycle on a full load.
If you just finish off drying a few items sometimes and expect to just dry them for ten minutes or so, then this is not the appliance for you. Fluffing up towels is not practical in this type of appliance either.
If you are considering this type of appliance, then it would be a good idea for you to study the water consumption and cycle time of the make that you are planning to buy. Consider the efficiency compared to separate units. Separate units may be a lot more practical for your situation.
Where a separate dryer cannot be accommodated, perhaps in an apartment building etc, then this type of machine may be considered useful, however a separate tumble dryer of a suitable type stacked on top of the washer, in my opinion, is a lot cheaper and easier to use, and is simpler when maintenance does become necessary. Most situations will accommodate a stacked pair.
©Copyright Tony Pike 1/1/2011