August 4th, 2020
You may be considering putting a second refrigerator out in your unheated garage. Or you might worry about your refrigerator’s efficiency in the hot, humid Wisconsin summers. Whatever your situation, it’s important to know whether room temperature affects your refrigerator.
Extreme Temperatures Can Damage Fridge
The temperature of the room that a refrigerator is in should be between 60ºF and 95ºF. That’s a really wide range, and you might think there’s no way your refrigerator could be in a situation where the ambient temperature is either that high or that low. But you live in Wisconsin. Extreme temperatures can damage the compressor or sealed system. Below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil could become thick and not circulate properly. Above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil could overheat and break down.
Refrigerator Function in Cold Temperatures
Having a refrigerator in a partially heated space might seem like a good compromise. While the unit may not actually break down, you might reconsider that choice. Refrigeration systems rely on the boiling of refrigerant under pressure and heat. When the ambient temperature is below 60ºF, it takes more energy to make the refrigerant boil and change into a vapor. And the energy consumption increases with the decreasing temperature until at 32ºF, there’s no cooling capacity at all.
Refrigerator Function in Hot Temperatures
If the refrigerator is located in a room where the temperature is over 90ºF and it is opened frequently, then the efficiency will decrease significantly. When the outside temperature is so warm, it can cause other problems, too. The consistency of the cooled temperature inside the unit may vary widely and your food may spoil more quickly.
Remember that the room temperature can be quite different from the outside temperature. Your well insulated garage can be 10 – 20 degrees colder or hotter than outdoors. If you do decide to have your refrigerator in a place that isn’t ideal, take steps to mitigate the loss of efficiency. Your refrigerator placement can help with that. Your fridge shouldn’t be pushed against the wall. It needs a little space behind it so that air can circulate freely and the heat from the condenser can dissipate. Keeping the grill clean and the door seals tight ensures that it’s working at peak efficiency too.
If you’re wondering whether room temperature affects your refrigerator, the answer is yes. You probably don’t have it in a space where the extreme temperatures will cause a breakdown, but you should be aware that its efficiency will be affected by the ambient temperature. If you have any continuing concerns, call the experts at Dave’s Appliance; we’ll be glad to help.
August 4th, 2020
When you have a refrigerator/freezer unit and the freezer doesn’t seem to be working right, but the fridge is fine, it can be more than a little annoying. There are a number of issues that could be causing this problem. Some of them you can deal with yourself; for the others, you can call in the experts at Dave’s Appliance. For some of them, you must call in the experts due to federal regulations.
You’re probably aware that your fridge can’t be pushed right up against a wall, because there needs to be space around the condenser. What many people don’t know is that there also needs to be space in your refrigerator between the refrigeration and freezing sections to allow air to circulate. Sometimes ice can accumulate in places between the two, and it doesn’t get noticed until it’s really created a problem. This is especially true if the door hasn’t been shut properly and humidity causes an ice build up. To fix this problem, search for the hidden ice and remove. Alternatively, you can defrost the whole fridge.
Ice Maker Issue
If your freezer has an ice maker installed and you’re not using it, it needs to be disconnected. If it’s not turned off, the icemaker will continue to run through its cycles even though there’s no water. Problems arise because it goes through its cycles really quickly and every time it does, the heater under the ice maker tray is activated. So anything that is close to the ice maker will thaw. This also causes a buzzing sound, when it’s trying to get water. This is water valve noise, not to be confused with the buzzing from the compressor. If this is your issue, the solution is simple: disconnect the ice maker, and make sure it stays switched off.
Your compressor should hum along happily, but sometimes it goes in fits and starts. When your compressor doesn’t run long enough, it can mean that the freezer never gets cold enough. Some reasons for intermittent compressor function include: overheating, bad relays, or broken motor. You can determine whether the issue is the compressor by feel. If it’s really hot or makes an odd noise (like clicking or buzzing), then it’s probably the culprit. Knowing that doesn’t get to the fix the problem, though. This would be the time to call in the experts at Dave’s Appliance. We can figure out the cause and fix it.
A low freon charge can cause the evaporator to be cool but not cold enough to freeze. That would lead to the evaporator inside the freezer not frosting over completely. You can check if this might be the issue by removing the back panel inside your freezer to see what the coils look like. If only a portion of the coils are frosted, or if you see a large clump of ice in one of the corners, then you have a freon problem. You could have a leak, or may simply need a recharge. In any event, this isn’t a repair you can do. You need to call the professionals at Dave’s Appliance. We have the EPA licensing required to deal with the issue.
Posted in freezer | Comments Off on Freezer Not Working, But Fridge is Fine?
July 9th, 2020
Keeping your refrigerator in good working order prevents many issues from developing. It also maintains your family’s health by properly cooling your food. If you’re worried that you can’t possibly perform maintenance on your refrigerator, that’s understandable. After all, it’s a major appliance with different mechanical parts, including refrigerant fluid that can be toxic. However, there are simple tasks you can do with confidence. Here are 5 ways to avoid fridge repair costs:
1. Keep the Drain Clear
Every refrigerator has a small drain hole to allow water that condenses on the inside of the fridge to drain out into a drain pan underneath it. That drain hole can easily become clogged if any food particles get stuck in it. Clearing the drain hole may be as simple as removing obvious food particles. Or you may need to use a thin snake followed by baking soda and hot water. If that’s necessary, you should unplug the refrigerator and take the vegetable drawer out for easier access. Then use the snake, and finally, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of baking soda down the hole, followed by 2 cups of hot water. You might need to use a turkey baster to direct the hot water properly. Always finish by emptying the drain pan.
2. Check the Temperature
The interior of your refrigerator should be about 40ºF and the temperature gauge should be set at medium or 5 to achieve that temperature. That gauge can easily get knocked out of position, so periodic checks are a good idea. It’s also wise to have an independent internal refrigerator thermometer in your fridge. That way, you can monitor that the temperature gauge is working properly. Just put it on the bottom shelf (not in the crisper) toward the back where it won’t get in the way.
3. Inspect the Door Seals
Check the rubber door seals on your fridge to make sure you’re getting a proper seal. Look for any cracks or pitting. The door seals should be flexible. If you find a problem, wash the seals with warm water and soap and apply a thin film of petroleum jelly. When your fridge doesn’t seal properly, it runs constantly causing excessive condensation on the coils, and water overflows the drain pan. Remember the freezer door seals too.
4. Check the Drain Pan
The drain pan is underneath your refrigerator and allows the water that condenses inside the fridge and drain out to evaporate. If your drain pain becomes cracked or damaged, then instead of evaporating, that water will simply pool under your fridge, and eventually leak out. Remove the drain pain and look at it carefully to see if there are any obvious problems. You might even run water into it and watch whether any escapes. If the drain pan is damaged, just call Dave’s Appliance, and we can get you a new one quickly.
5. Clean the Coils
If the coils on your fridge are dirty or dusty, then the compressor needs to work harder and longer to keep the freezer temperature constant. When this happens, the refrigerator can overcool and freeze food and drinks. This task is a little more complicated because you need to turn off your refrigerator and remove a panel to expose the condenser coils; but the good news is that you shouldn’t need to clean the coils more than twice a year. Once the coils are exposed, simply use a soft-bristled brush to get as much dirt off as possible, then vacuum it up. With a narrow nozzle attached to your vacuum, you can do a pretty thorough job of it.
Simple refrigerator maintenance is key to prolonging the life of your fridge and ensuring that the food your family eats is properly cooled. Maintenance also prevents problems and potentially costly repairs.
At Dave’s Appliance, we want to partner with our customers to keep the appliances in your home running smoothly.
July 9th, 2020
If you’re like most people, you use your oven every day, often multiple times a day. Keeping your oven in good working order is key. Regular oven maintenance isn’t difficult and can prevent problems from arising. Here are five simple things to maintain your stove and avoid repair costs.
1. Avoid Cleaning
That sounds counter-intuitive, but stay with me here. The best way to clean your stove top is to avoid having to do so. Use deep saucepans so that things won’t boil over. And use a saucepan larger than absolutely necessary. If you need to cover the saucepan, make sure it has a vent, or leave it partially off so steam can escape. Honestly, the choices you make about what pans to cook in make a real difference. In the oven, it’s wise to put a cookie sheet covered in foil on the bottom of the oven so that anything that bubbles over falls on that rather than the oven itself.
2. Clean Spills Right Away
No matter what, there will be some spills and oil from frying can go everywhere. If you wipe them off immediately with warm soapy water and a cloth, they don’t become encrusted obstacles that require intense scrubbing. Spills in the oven can be more problematic. You can’t clean them when the oven is still hot, and it’s easy to forget to do it after the oven cools. If you can remember to clean off any spills before you use the oven again, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier and it will also increase the amount of time between full oven cleanings. And most people forget that the oven racks need to be cleaned too. Doing that frequently makes a big difference.
3. Clean Stove Parts
Occasionally, it’s a good idea to clean the burner drip pans and knobs. If the owner’s manual says that they are dishwasher safe, use that. Otherwise, hot soapy water works just fine. If the drip pans become dingy, just replace them. You can get them in any hardware store and they’re cheap. If you have a ceramic stove top, make it a habit to clean it with the right cleaner. There are special ceramic cleansers out there, but dishwashing liquid and hot water, or a 50/50 solution of vinegar and hot water work great. Don’t use abrasives! They make tiny scratches on the surface and the next spill will cling to them. If your stove doesn’t have a sealed cooktop, lift it up and clean underneath. Food and grease tend to gather there and a 50/50 vinegar water solution can clean it easily.
4. Clean Your Oven
You should clean your oven at least twice a year, and if you use it a lot, you should clean it every couple of months. There’s a lot of debate about whether to use the self-cleaning setting on your oven. Self-cleaning ovens are designed to incinerate food debris by increasing the temperatures in the oven to 900º to 1000º. This takes a long time (from 2 to 4½ hours), and it creates a nasty odor and fumes that can be toxic. If you choose to use it, be sure to keep a window open, and don’t leave the house while the cleaning cycle is on. Alternatively, you could use hot, soapy water and a plastic scrub pad to clean your oven. Clean the window with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda. If it is really dingy, wipe the window with ammonia and let it stand for 30 minutes. Then scrape it off with a plastic tool. If you’re cleaning it frequently, it should never become a dreaded chore.
5. Avoid Electrical Issues
Never wash the burner element itself. That can cause a short and you could find yourself with a nonfunctional range. Also, don’t spray around the knobs; they lead to electrical controls and a squirt could cause a short. Instead, squirt a rag or paper towel and use that to wipe them down. If you have a traditional electric range, don’t wrap the drip pans in
aluminum foil. While that may make them easier to clean, the foil could cause the heating element to short circuit.
As you may have guessed, the key to maintaining your oven is keeping it clean. Make it part of your routine and you’ll avoid unnecessary repairs. The best kept oven can malfunction though, and when that happens, the experts at Dave’s Appliance are here to help.
Posted in stove | Comments Off on Oven Maintenance: 5 Ways to Avoid Repair Costs
June 24th, 2020
The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is: it really shouldn’t be a concern.
There have been no cases of COVID-19 associated with food ingestion. And while doctors and scientists continue to learn about this disease, it is highly unlikely that we will discover that you can contract it from the food you eat. Whatever you put in your mouth is immediately subjected to the digestive process designed to convert it into usable nutrients and waste. If the coronavirus were present on the surface of your food, it would almost certainly be killed by your stomach acids. In the unlikely event that it survives that onslaught, it would then enter into your intestines, and then out of your body. There is no pathway from your stomach to your lungs. Theoretically, there is the possibility that it could move from the mouth to the larynx and thereby into the lungs, but there has never been a case where that happened. COVID-19 needs to enter the respiratory system in order to produce the disease, and given the nature of human biology, the food you eat cannot cause the illness.
Cooking Helps Too
Because COVID-19 is so new, there is no settled science about the heat needed to kill it. However, the SARS virus (a close relative to COVID-19), is inactivated at 133ºF to 149ºF. Given that nearly all cooking is done at temperatures above 300ºF, it is reasonable to assume that COVID-19 would be killed in the cooking process as well. Again, though, it ought not to matter since your body would deal with the virus in the course of normal digestion.
Kitchen Hygiene – Fresh Produce
Just as you should have been doing before the COVID-19 outbreak, you should wash your fresh produce before using it. It is sufficient to use clean running water; you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) use any kind of cleaner on the produce. Leafy greens can be submerged in cool water then run through a salad spinner or dried with paper towels. Sturdy vegetables (like root vegetables) can be scrubbed with a vegetable brush under running water. Delicate produce (like raspberries) can be cleaned by hand under gently running water.
Kitchen Hygiene – Clean Surfaces
More important than the food you consume is the environment in which that food exists and is prepared. Now more than ever, it is essential to keep your kitchen clean. Use any standard surface sanitiser to clean your counters, and do so frequently. Be mindful of where you’re putting your grocery bags when you return from shopping, and clean those surfaces thoroughly before using them in food preparation. The risk of transmission from packaging is very low, but again, it’s an easy thing to wipe the counter after taking the pizza out of the box.
Kitchen Hygiene – Washing Hands
Washing your hands before you begin cooking should be part of your usual kitchen routine. Now, it may be wise to wash your hands more frequently while you prepare food. After washing the vegetables, wash your hands. After wiping the counter, wash your hands. It can’t hurt, and we know that hand washing is the most effective weapon in the prevention of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is very frightening, but it’s good to know you don’t need to worry about preparing, cooking, and eating your food.
Posted in covid-19 | Comments Off on Does Cooking Food Kill Coronavirus?
June 24th, 2020
You don’t really understand how vital your appliances are to your quality of life until one breaks down. And during the recent lockdown, people have been using their stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. even more than usual. If something goes wrong, you want it fixed right away. At Dave’s Appliance, we have been open throughout the lockdown as an essential business, and we have made safety precautions part of our repair routine. In this post, we’ll share what we do, and what you can do, to keep yourself and your family safe during an appliance repair in your home.
What We Do – No Exposed Employees
If any of our employees have any symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage them to get tested immediately. They also stay home for 14 days. If any of our employees are informed that they have been exposed to COVID-19, they stay home for 14 days whether or not they have any symptoms.
What We Do – Masks
Whenever we come into a home to do a repair, we wear masks. Masks are designed to protect those encountered more than those wearing them. So wearing a mask is a mark of our respect for our customers. We don’t want to introduce disease into your home.
What We Do – Hand Sanitizer
We have hand sanitizers in our vans; we have hand sanitizer on our persons. We use hand sanitizer before entering your home, and we use it again if the repair takes a while. Hand sanitizer has been demonstrated to kill the COVID-19 virus effectively.
What We Don’t Do – Gloves
At Dave’s Appliance we have chosen not to wear gloves. If they aren’t immediately taken off after every encounter, they can become a source of transmission, and “[g]loves can be a source of contamination if they are not removed properly” (Wisconsin Economic Development Corp). Also, repairing appliances requires a lot of fine manipulation of various mechanical parts. Wearing gloves inhibits our ability to actually do our job quickly and well.
What We Do – Social Distancing
Everybody at Dave’s Appliance is fully committed to social distancing. We will do our best to enter and leave your house without coming within six feet of anyone in your family. When following you to the appliance, we will stay well behind you. When we are working on the appliance, we will announce it if we are going to move out of the vicinity for any reason, giving you notice so social distancing can be maintained.
What You Can Do – Social Distancing
When someone from Dave’s Appliance appears at your door, you can open the door and then move far enough away so that social distancing is maintained. If you can direct us verbally to the room where the appliance is, please do so. If you need to show us, remember that we won’t be right on your heels. It’s best if you and any other members of your family can stay out of the room where we’re working on your appliance. If that’s not possible, do your best to stay six feet away from our repairman.
What You Can Do – Clean Surfaces
It shouldn’t be necessary, but if you are concerned, you could wipe down any surfaces that our repairman has come in contact with after we leave. That would mean any door handles that we may have touched, and of course, the appliance itself. Again, because of our precautions, this step isn’t strictly needed, but you’re certainly welcome to do it if you’re worried.
You shouldn’t struggle along without a functioning stove or washing machine because of fear of COVID-19. With reasonable precautions, Dave’s Appliance has been fixing appliances throughout this time. We can fix yours too.
Posted in covid-19 | Comments Off on Appliance Repair During Quarantine: Safety Precautions to Take
April 28th, 2020
The COVID19 pandemic is especially lethal for several reasons: it attacks the lower respiratory system immediately, and it is extremely contagious. While there is still a lot that the scientists do not know about COVID19, the general agreement is that it is spread through droplets that settle on surfaces and can remain contagious for up to 72 hours. Different surfaces have different time frames, however, and experts are not yet certain how long COVID19 can remain on fabric. What we do know is that ordinary soap and water can destroy the virus on the skin. And the same science applies to laundry.
The Science of Soap
Almost all viruses consist of three key elements: ribonucleic acid (RNA), proteins and lipids. There are no strong covalent bonds holding these units together, which means you do not need harsh chemicals to split them apart. The weakest part of the virus is the lipid or fatty layer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the RNA and proteins go their separate ways, no longer a threat. Laundry detergent works on the same principles. The surfactants (surface active agents) in laundry detergent have molecules that have two ends: one to attach to lipids (grease and dirt), and one to attract water. So during the wash cycle, the laundry detergent would work on the lipids in the COVID19 virus, breaking them down, and then rinse it all away in the rinse cycle.
Laundry Strategies to Combat COVID19
Knowing that simply doing your laundry can help prevent this disease gives you substantial power over it. While it is not necessary to do your laundry any differently from normal, you may choose to wash clothes at a higher temperature or use a detergent that specifies that it’s good on grease. Other key considerations to minimize the spread of COVID19 are these:
· Do not shake out dirty laundry. You may be in the habit of shaking out your dirty laundry before putting it in the machine. Now is the time to break that habit. Shaking your dirty laundry creates the potential for the COVID19 virus to travel from the fabric to your skin, or some other surface where it can remain infectious.
· Separate towels for household members. Each person should have their own hand towel and bath towel, and they should be washed more frequently than usual. The hand towel especially will be used more frequently because everyone should be washing hands multiple times a day.
· Cloth Face Masks and Gloves. The CDC is now recommending that everyone wear cloth face masks when out in public. They are also clear that you should not diminish the supply needed for medical professionals. It is easy to make or create your own cloth face mask. Similarly, cloth gloves don’t take away from the disposable gloves needed by medical professionals and protect you against COVID19 as well. It is important that you put these cloth face masks and gloves into the washing machine as soon as you enter the house after a public excursion. They need to be washed after every use.
· Wash some items on the hottest setting. Fabrics that have been in contact with bodily fluids should be washed at the hottest setting possible for the cloth. For instance, anything that has had vomit or feces on it (including diapers) should be washed on hot. Sports wear, too, should be washed in water as hot as the fabric can withstand. And of course, towels should be washed on hot.
Your washer is your ally in the fight against COVID19. It’s designed to deal with grease and grime, and COVID19’s fatty layer can be destroyed in your washer as well. Use it frequently to keep yourself and your family safe during this pandemic.
April 28th, 2020
The particular strain of the Coronavirus known as COVID19 has created an unprecedented situation around the world. Here in the United States, the number of people with confirmed coronavirus cases tops 217,000 (as of Friday, April 3rd), more than China, Italy, or Spain. Thirty-eight states, Washington, D.C., and the territory of Puerto Rico have declared lockdowns, where residents are instructed to stay at home, nonessential businesses are closed, and only essential workers are out and about. Even states without lockdown orders have metro areas on lockdown, and a few states have ordered nonessential businesses to close without adding that residents need to stay at home. All told, about 90% of America’s population (297 million) are at home. And they’re worried.
The Science of Soap
In order to best protect yourself and your household, it is important that you understand what COVID19 is, how it is transmitted, and how you can fight it in your home. COVID19 is a virus made up of three different elements, and one of them is a layer of lipids (or fat). That makes it vulnerable because soap and detergents break down fats. Without this lipid layer to hold the virus together, it breaks apart. So hot water and detergent make the coronavirus inactive.
Your ordinary household dishwasher is the best method of delivering detergent designed to cut through lipids (grease) combined with water at high temperatures. Most standard dishwashers operate at 150º – 160º F and often have a sanitation final rinse cycle of 180ºF. Even the older models wash at temperatures of at least 120ºF. So your dishes, cutlery, pots and pans will be blasted with the best combination around to ensure any COVID19 virus disappears down the drain. Here are some pointers to get the best out of your dishwasher during this pandemic:
*Check your water temperature settings. In order for your dishwasher to use water as hot as it is designed to use, the temperature setting on your boiler must be set accordingly. Many people have boilers set several levels below the highest. Find out what your boiler is set for and adjust it if needed. You want really hot water in your dishwasher right now.
*Remember that COVID19 can live on surfaces up to 72 hours. That means that stainless steel, glass, ceramics, and plastics could all harbor coronavirus for days. Putting all your dishes through the dishwasher wouldn’t be a bad idea. And put your used items through the dishwasher immediately after the meal. It’s not necessary to wait for the dishwasher to be completely full.
*Choose a grease-specific detergent. All detergents have lipid attacking qualities, so the brand of dishwashing detergent is not critical. However, some detergents advertise as particularly tough on grease. Using one of these may give you even more assurance that your dishwasher is dealing with COVID19.
If you do need to hand wash any of your dishes, use gloves and the hottest water you can stand along with a dishwashing liquid designed to cut through grease. It’s better to use the dishwasher, even for very small loads. At Dave’s Appliance, we want to support your family staying safe during this crisis. Using your dishwasher is a great way to do just that.
April 17th, 2020
The purchase of a major appliance should be a well considered decision. When thinking about buying a dryer for your home, there are two basic designs: vented and ventless (condenser and heat pump). Before delving into the pros and cons of each, let’s gain a basic understanding of how they work.
All dryers work by transferring the moisture in the laundry into the air in the drum. Then the moisture in that saturated air has to go somewhere else. In vented dryers, it simply goes outside as water vapor, either through a vent built into an exterior wall or through a hose connected to the dryer and passed out a window. In a condenser dryer, that air goes into a separate chamber in the dryer unit where it is cooled to convert the moisture back into water that then collects in a reservoir, usually under the machine. The newest kind of condenser dryers use a heat pump that draws air from its surroundings like its counterparts but uses a different method to complete the drying process. It is sent through a heat pump where the cold side condenses the vapor into a drain pipe or tank and the hot side reheats the remaining air for further use.
The first (and perhaps only) consideration needs to be the set-up already in place in your house. If your home does not have a vent, or the prospective placement of your laundry isn’t near an exterior wall or window, you will need to look at ventless dryers. Their placement is more flexible, though regular condenser dryers still need to have plenty of air flow around them in order to function properly. If you already have a dryer vent in an exterior wall, then a conventional vented dryer may be your best choice. Or not. There are other factors to weigh.
Because vented dryers are so common, they are also the least expensive to purchase. You can get a vented dryer for approximately $300 to $1500. A condenser dryer can be anywhere from $600 to $2000. Heat pump dryers were only introduced to the U.S. market in 2015, and are the most expensive. They can cost $1300 and up. These are just initial costs, however. Over time, condenser dryers can save you money, especially the heat pump dryers. When there’s no vent to the outdoors, the energy efficiency of your home naturally increases. Also, the ventless dryer recycles the air it uses, thereby creating a potential savings (especially during Milwaukee winters).
The vented dryer has the shortest drying time, with typical loads going through a 60 minute cycle. Condenser dryers usually have dry times of around 75 minutes, and heat pump dryers take 105 minutes and longer. The reason that vented dryers work so quickly is the temperature of the air in the drying drum. It is extremely hot and blown vigorously. With the ventless dryers, the temperature can be lower, thereby increasing drying time. And also decreasing the wear and tear on your clothes.
Because of the differences described, ventless dryers are kinder to clothes. You may even find that you can dry some items that you needed to hang dry before. With condenser dryers, your clothes can last longer.
Heat pump clothes dryers use 40% to 50% as much electricity as a traditional electric dryer. In fact, some sources claim that they are five times more efficient than vented dryers, and double condenser
efficiency. Whatever the specific figures for your household, there is no doubt that they are the most energy efficient option.
With all of these factors at play, only you can decide which type of dryer suits your needs best.
Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on Vented or Ventless Dryer: Which Should I Buy?
April 17th, 2020
A washing machine is a major purchase, and before you buy, you should be fully informed. Not only are there a lot of different brands, there are different types of machine, so the first decision is whether to get a front-load or top-load machine. Which is better? That depends on what you’re looking for. In this blogpost, we will look at a number of different factors that you should consider. Then you can decide what is best for your family.
The majority of washing machines in the U.S. are the top-loading type, including the newer GE models that don’t have the center-post agitator. Unsurprisingly, top-loaders are usually less expensive than front-loaders. However, because of other factors, front-loaders may well save you money in the long run. So if your major concern is the initial outlay, a top-loader would be your choice, while if you want long-term savings, a front-loader is best.
Traditional top-loading washers have run times between 35 and 65 minutes, and the newer HE top-loaders have cycles from 60 to 80 minutes. Front-loader cycles are substantially longer, between 75 and 120 minutes. That’s because the laundry needs to rest in the shallow pool of water and detergent periodically rather than being immersed in water constantly.
Front-loaders are better at cleaning fabrics in general, and in getting stains out of clothes without pre-treating. That’s true even when compared to the newest models of top-loading machines. The reason is simple: front-loaders work with gravity. The clothes in a front-loading machine are pulled up by the rotation of the drum, then fall against each other as they come down. This tumbling action is much more effective than the twisting motion of top-loading machines. But you should think, too, whether you require intensive cleaning action. Are your clothes regularly very dirty? Do you hate pre-treating stains? If cleaning effectiveness is your main objective, the answer is easy; if not, read on.
Top-loaders work by filling the drum with water (and detergent) and then agitating the clothes in a twisting motion. There needs to be enough water in the drum to fully immerse all the material. In a front-loading machine, there is a shallow pool of water at the bottom of the drum and the clothes are dragged through it repeatedly by the action of the drum. Compared with a typical HE top-loader, front-loaders use about 5 fewer gallons of water per cycle, or around 2,000 gallons per year based on estimates for average use. That’s a lot of water you can save by having a front-loading machine.
Front-loaders are more energy efficient. Obviously using less water translates into less energy since that means less water needs to be pumped in (and out) and heated. Also, front-loaders extract a lot more water out of the laundry, so if you use a dryer rather than hanging your clothes out, that translates into an energy savings since you’ll need a shorter cycle on your dryer. Overall, front-loaders use less than half the electricity of a standard top-loading machine.
The maintenance of a top-loader is easier than that of a front-loader. Front-loaders have been known to smell, and unless maintained properly you can have a problem with mold in your machine. Front-loaders
have a tub-clean feature that should be run on a regular basis and some basic cleaning habits can mitigate this issue.
Finally, you should consider what design works better in your house. Front-loading machines are usually stackable, so your washer and dryer take up less floor space.
Think about all of your family needs when choosing whether to go with a front-loader or top-loader. Once that decision is made, you can begin comparing brands.« Older Entries