Front Load washers: wow!

behaviorkeltonDecember 2, 2007

I just bought a front load washer. The water dumps into a big slow sink before emptying into the septic.

With the old top loader, this huge sink would almost fill to the rim. With this new front loader, the sink barely fills 1/4 of the way.

This a HUGE difference in water usage! I mean, it uses less than half (or far less than half) of the top loader!

We're not talking about a high percentage of a *small* amount of water... with EACH load, these front loaders are saving 15 gallons! (maybe more)

Why didn't I know about this before? Why aren't we hearing as much about front loaders as we are about the Toyota Prius?

I am guessing that this is no secret to "green" people, but to the rest of us... this is an EASY way to contribute *and* have a huge impact on water usage.

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The biggest savings with laundry is conserving HOT water. So if you can use cold water for the bulk of your loads, then the savings will really add up with your front loader.

I think front loaders are very popular now. Before, you only had 2 or 3 front loader models in the stores, but now, they are all the rave. PPrices have really dropped.

A week doesn't go by that I don't see a front loader ad on TV. Way to go.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 2:51PM
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I am from the UK & we have been using front loaders for decades - have had one all my married life (32 years). About 10 years ago we took the kids to Epcot in Florida - we were shown a US "home of the future" - it featured a front loading washer - being a bit out spoken I said "we have been using one of these for years" - i was soon (politely) shut up!! My new Bosch is great & spins at 1400 getting laundry nearly dry. Ofcourse, like most folks over here, I only rarely use a dryer - we love our washing lines & rotary clothes dryers - even those lucky enough to live in up market areas - it is not seen as a sign of poverty or whatever - in fact people using dryers on good drying day would be seen as rather lazy (I know this is difficult for peopel with allergies etc.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 5:01PM
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Yes, I'm aware that Europeans have been using them for years....but why is that? Is water more expensive in Europe?
(I'm all for it, but wondering why Americans use top loaders)

My next "project" is to set up some sort of clothes line. It's interesting that we Americans see it as a sign of poverty (and thus, an eye sore) to hang one's clothes out to dry.

It reminds me of a very different aspect of life:
Not long ago, picking up your dog's poop while taking a walk in the neighborhood was unheard of... and once people started doing it, the rest of us thought it was weird and gross.

Now, if you *don't* pick up the poop... it is considered rude. So, people can change!

I didn't realize how significantly more efficient front loaders really are... I've seen some ads, and they only make a passing mention of it.

If they made a bigger deal of it, emphasized water shortages, and then offered a visual display of the difference (like I get to see in my utility sink!).

So, what sort of laundry detergent causes the *least* damage to the environment? I use proctor&gamble because they no longer use a bad chemical...I forget which one... but surely there is an even better option. Also, I try to use the least amount of detergent possible.

With regard to cold water... I haven't noticed a difference between hot and cold water washing. not sure why.

I'll look at those links.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 6:55AM
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Not sure Water in Europe is cheaper - in fact many people pay a flat rate for the year - we ourselves have only just gone over to a water meter recently. Perhaps front loaders are more popular as take up less room - often the washing machine is in the kitchen (shock, horror as far as our American young cousins are concerned), unless lucky enough to have a utility room. We generally do not have basements (except in some much older houses).

As far as washing lines go most people over here have compact rotary dryers which fold up neatly when not in use - good idea to pop over a purpose made cover to keep dry & clean - important safety feature as well if you have children.

I have always used one & now have a smaller version - it will still hold 2 washing loads though. Good idea to place on hard surface as more convenient - no muddy shoes etc - plus this will reflect heat better than grass.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 10:53AM
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To answer your question why everyone in America doesn't own a front-loader...ignorance. Most people look at the purchase cost, not the life cost. The life cost is the inital price you pay for the unit PLUS the cost to operate it. The only saving grace is that manufacurers have been making front loaders "sexier". I think one company offers their washer/dryer in 6 different colors. These people are buying energy efficient options but not for that reason. Funnny, isn't it.

In Europe, I think most governments are much more stringent on energy usage so manufacturers are restricted in what they offer to the consumers. Our goverment is slowly coming around but has a long way to catch up with most of Europe.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 1:05PM
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I don't want to be a party-puper, but I've used front-load washers since about 1950. I'm in Virginia, USA. They've always been available, but sometimes one must search for a dealer. They are only slightly more expensive than top-loaders, so I suspect razl is right -- not using one is due to ignorance! BTW, IMO, it's worth the extra $ to buy a "commercial" machine. I'm no mechanic, but those made for laundromats seem to be sturdier and more trouble-free.

IMO, they do a better job of cleaning, with less wear on the materials being washed. And yes, they use much less water per load! About 16 gallons as opposed to 40 or 50 gallons for a toploader for wash and rinse --- and add another 20 gallons if your washer does a 2nd rinse or has the "wash n wear" cycle.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 1:45PM
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Yep, by golly I'll bet they save almost as much water has having your kid grow up and move out. We made the switch 4 yrs ago to a FL and I would be hard pressed to ever go back to a TL. Our water bill dropped significantly, our septic system is infinitely happier, and the dryer doesn't have to run for so long. win-win-win.

That said - sigh - now we're counting the days until said 18 yr old heads off to college and the 1/2 hour showers that he takes while he thinks we aren't home will end. But what do you do? Put a timer on the shower spigot? If I could find one, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:52PM
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Ah, Sippimom - yes there are timers for showers, and yes they work (although I don't know about the one shown in the link), and do you have the nerve to use it? Keep in mind that even a water-miser showerhead will flow 30 gallons during a 20 minute shower; regular showerheads can use 60 or more gallons during the same 20 minutes.

When I was a kid, Da set a regular bell timer to 7 minutes (he was Marine, which must be similar to Navy for believing in efficient showers); when the bell rang, he turned off the hot water at the heater. I guarantee no teenager stays in a cold shower for more than a minute or two after the hot water stops.

Here is a link that might be useful: shower timer

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 1:31PM
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Can anyone tell me if FL washers have problems with "off balance" loads? I hate our current washer, but it's pretty new and replacing it seems silly but if the FL washers don't have issues with loads going off balance, I'd buy one in a flash. Anyone know?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 11:30AM
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cork2win, I have a Bosch Nexxt 500 front loader, and I rarely have off balance loads. The only time I have had a problem with balancing is when I have washed a single really heavy article such as a really heavy dog bed or something like that. With my regular laundry I don't have trouble with off balance loads. My machine balances itself before it spins, you can see the machine slowly turning in one direction and then the other, which spreads the clothes out for an even spin. My old toploader used to get off balance quite frequently, but that hasn't been a problem with my front loader. Also, the front loader gets clothes much cleaner than my old washer did. Apparently I only thought my clothes were getting clean before, as there is no comparison between clothes washed in my old machine versus my new one. I would never go back to a top loader.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 7:08AM
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Does anyone have any good links to ratings? We need to replace our 8 yr old top loading any time now.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:09PM
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I don't want to rain on any parades, but there is some bad news.

We bought a front-loading set about 5-6 years ago from Sears. Recently, the washer started leaving what looked like grease stains on my clothing. I ran through vinegar, baking soda, bleach, etc. Then I got a repair person to come. He sold me some "Washer Magic" which didn't help. He thought the stains were from bacteria, which is ludicrous. How are they trained?

Anyway, he also told me the rear seal was going and it would be around $500 to fix. Then he informed me that the front-loaders only last 5-7 years!
I had that information confirmed by a local repair shop, among others, that the manufacturers only make them to last that long now, ON PURPOSE.
I was told the top-loaders are a bit better and that Kenmore and Whirlpool are the better brands because they don't change their parts like others do, so at least they're always available.
It looks like when you do buy new, you'd better purchase that extended warranty because you will surely need it.

Needless to say, I wrote Sears some nasty letters and got no response other than, "sorry for your inconvenience" basically. I also bought a barely used top-loader from Craigslist.

I can't speak about any European brands.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 12:27AM
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We've had our Sears front loader for over 10 years now with no seal/bearing problem. What concerns me is the computer board that all the FL units have...will be very costly if it poops out. BTW, with a heat recovery unit on our A/C, it's cheaper for us to use hot water than cold...The more hot water you use up, the more efficient and cheaper the A/C operates.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 4:17AM
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We've had our Whirlpool Duet front loader for around 4 years without any issues. And, I still from time to time put too much liquid detergent in as 47 years of training on the other top loading type, forgetting how little water the front loaders use.

Even though they still cost I think a bit more than top loading (although prices have come down here in North America for this type), I don't see any reason to go back if we need to every buy another one.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 4:45PM
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my mom has a front loader washer and when we went over and visited her and she did our wash i was amazed at how little it used and cleaned so well, not to mention the fact that my little washer uses to much water and cleans so crappy!! hate it!!! i wanted one of those heat pumps when we got our contracting work done, but the contractor put what was cheapest on. definately NOT a heat pump!!! it would have been great for our house!! now i want to get the front loader, i could for like 6 something at lowes. not bad and its energystar rating. not to small either :'))

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 5:22PM
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