new washing machines have a water temperature problem

alice-2010February 28, 2011

Even though my recently purchased .whirpool 27" laundry center has a medium water temp. setting displayed, it does not function. industry standards state that cold is 60 to 80 degrees, warm is 90 to 110 degrees,hot is 120 to 130 degrees.

my machine on warm, washes at 62 degrees. Soil may be difficult to remove under 70 degrees.

My dealer and myself are upset over goverment requirements that have required these temp. changes.

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Something is happening to either with your machine or the temps of the water coming in.

If the numbers you posted are the target ones and your machine is supposed to reach them but not doing so, then a service call may be needed.

However, it's possible that the water heater temp setting, the temp of the room, distance from the water heater, and even whether this is the first or later load of the day may also be affecting your reults.

Sometimes machines are designed to open the water supply lines in preset time-dependant periods and not determine achievement of the water temps by temmperature measurement. For that reason, if your water is cooler than "average" either due to water heater temperature setting, or distance from water heater, or failure to purge the hot water line before the first wash then you will get lower temps. In that case service call won't help you.

As a solution: have you tried washing on hot temps, instead of medium? It may help you solve the problem.

You could insulate the hot water path from heater to your machine, or routinely purge it before starting a load.

You could also raise the temp of your hotwater heater, or install a small demand heater close to your machine.

IMO, the stated "government standards" are regrettable. In my household "hot" is anything above 145F. I occasionally go as high as 205F. I'm not sure why more peole don't demand higher wash temps.

There are machines out there that do a good job of reaching preset temps. If you can't resolve this to your satisfaction, then you may wish to return the machines. If the dealer checks the mechanicals, and you've corrected all the correctable local issues, and still are unsatisfied, then these machines are not for you.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:02PM
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alice - you said these were a recent purchase. Have you checked to be sure that your inlet hoses were connected correctly? Do you get hot water coming in on a hot wash? I'm wondering if your hoses might be mixed up and it's actually pulling in cold water instead of warm? Maybe give that a check, or maybe the hot inlet is blocked? Just a couple of thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:26AM
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I'm wondering how you get the water temp during a wash. Does the machine have a digital temp display? If so that may also be what is off. I have read other threads here about the same problem, so you may be right. If I recall, the German based mahines like Bosch have higher temp settings. I think the LG machines made for Sears do too.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:51AM
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sounds like either the hot water tank is set at 120 and there is some long distance between it and the washer. Funny how the government is so concerned about saving hot water when they should be concerned about this country making gas hog trucks and cars

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:57AM
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Thanks for the above suggestions. I used a hand held digital therm. to get reading as the water came into the machine. The water heater is set at max high temp that is now allowed, and is very close to the laundry room.

Next step, had the service person make a call, every thing checked out as it should be, the work around for getting a warm wash is to fill on hot.

For a cold wash, use the warm setting, I will get 62 degree water which is correct for cold washes.

I would much prefer that for machines like these, Whirlpool laundry center, the companies label the incoming water temp. selections for what they actually deliver rather than miss lead.

Luckily this unit is for small vacation home, now I know to take the loads that need to be cleaned and sanitized back home to good old washing machine, the price to pay for not knowing what is going on in some of the industry these days.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:57AM
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Do you have an onboard heater? If not, you will always be at the mercy of the incoming water temperature. That's why it's important to have a heater in your machine.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 1:14PM
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You are so correct, I do not have an onboard heater for this washing machine. I have been buying these machines for over fifty years but had to learn the hard way, that now days, if a machine has a hot water selection choice, that may not be actually true.

Yes, an onboard heater is needed.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 2:52PM
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I'll say it again: Demand 240 volt power supplies.

A 120V/15A heater has about 1000 watts to work with rather than 2500 watts. It takes so long to heat the water, that most wash cycles are programmed not to reach the implied temperatures under common conditions (i.e. if "stain treat" optios aren't selected, if incoming water is too cool, etc.) to avoid consumer complaints about 2 1/2 hour wash cycle times.

Too bad they're so few 240V washers to choose from in the States.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 4:03PM
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"I have been buying these machines for over fifty years but had to learn the hard way, that now days, if a machine has a hot water selection choice, that may not be actually true.
Yes, an onboard heater is needed."

Notice, please, that I have refrained from printing in bold all-caps. Yes. That is exactly what's going on.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 7:42PM
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What brand washing machines are available in the U.S. that use 240 volts? I am very interested in checking these out, as I have become very disenchanted with the performance of appliances in general, particularly dishwashers and washing machines.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 12:19PM
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Asko, and I think, Bosch (formerly Miele, but to my dismay, not any more). Do not be put off by the apparent small size of these true horizontal axis designed machines, they hold as much as a typical "large capacity TL". They also typically take longer per wash cycle - as much as two hours if all options are selected. The advantage of these machines is that they can heat all their own hot water, perform profile washes and maintain wash-water temps throughout their full wash perriod. They also cost more than average, though not more than the highest-priced 110V models.

What's always boggled me is that running a 220 V line to power an electric dryer seems a normal choice, but doing the same thing to power a washing machine seems so alien. (And I believe, at least it used to be so back when I was actively shopping for them, the 220 V washing machines can combine with their matching electric dryers on a single circuit.)

The advantages of these higher voltage machines are so significant I can't figure out why they are not the best-in-class, highly sought after, luxury models.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 4:24AM
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We went with the Miele Little Giant set to get a 240V washer, and have been very satisfied so far. After living with 240V washers all my life, a 240V heater was a non-negotiable requirement for me.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 1:34PM
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Agreed. On my W4840 the WARM and VERY WARM temps are cooler than in my W1213 (240V) machine. They are supposed to be 105 and 120 respectively, but it they seem more like lukewarm and warm. I guess if you want hotter/true temps you really need to go with a 240V machine.

It is still an excellent machine, but there is a learning curve coming from a 240V machine in order to achieve the same types of cleaning results.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 2:28AM
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*Akrogirl* (or anyone else who knows)

Can you give me an idea what a Little Giant washing machine (don't need a dryer) might cost? Just a ball park idea will suffice, for now. My Asko and (older, 220V) Miele machines are chugging along in a fine state, but one never knows.

Also does the Little Giant require a floor drain? That would be a problem for me as the washing machine connections are in the basement.

TIA, for your reply to satisfy my curiosity and for advance planning.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:38AM
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Here is a link that might help...


Here is a link that might be useful: Little Giant 4 Sale

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:27AM
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Unfortunately, the Little Giants aren't cheap. I believe our washer was around $3,700. It does, however, feed into our regular wall drain.

This set was our one big appliance splurge, since we weren't able to find any floor models and had to pay full price.

Our back-up choice was going with another Asko, since we wanted a true under counter model, but the LG is deeper and has a greater capacity that worked perfectly for my specific needs. It definitely helped that I was able to test wash some items at Miele's Scottsdale showroom before making a purchase of this magnitude.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:35AM
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Akro and MrBRB

Thank you both for the info and link. That is a huge nut just for a washing machine, but then my laundry room has two washers now, which collectively add up to $$$$. if something happened to both of them then the LG with it's larger capacity would fit the bill, I think.

But hopefully, I'll just keep sailing along with my present set-up until the tide has turned and 220v machines return to popularity here, as they still are elsewhere in the world.

I think I would consider getting a VZug, too. Even though the electronic conversion would be an expensive nightmare. I definitely *heart* VZug!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:26AM
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Is your Little Giant set 240 or 208 volts? How do you have power connected to your machines? I would need a step down transfomer to alter the 240 to 208 in order to run these machines.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 1:58PM
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I just bought junk from Sears and they took my old Maytags that worked fine (just needed new belt, I thought). The new Kenmore washer doesn't spin out any better than my old Maytag and doesn't get hot water. The Indiana attorney general wrote back and said to use my resources and get a private attorney to explain my legal remedies...too expensive for me (good "out" for them). What can I do? Someone blogged, "Why don't women demand hotter water?". WE ALL DO WANT HOT WATER!!! My hottest setting only gets to 85 degrees. Yes, I used a candy thermometer and purged the machine before measuring. I also have my water heater set on high. I am using more "energy" purging, setting water heater higher, using more water for small loads, etc. and am not saving energy at all. The government is out of touch with household chores. It's not healthy to still have odors in clothing after washing in hot water. Excuse me, 85 degree water! My body temperature is hotter than that! I'm angry!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 12:06PM
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With respect, this situation has been extant for more than ten years, now, as mfgrs. have had to comply with new legislation. A little research on your part would likely have resulted in your purchasing a machine with a heater that would have avoided the troubles you've described.

However, even the non-heater machines still have buttons/dials that say "hot", "warm", and "cold" notwithstanding that the mfgr's have unilaterally changed what those words mean.

I agree people shouldn't have to discover after the purchase that "hot" now means 85F.

Both government and mfgr's have done a TERRIBLE job of informing the public about the differences of the new HE machines. The anger is understandable.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 3:17PM
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Mary, I totally understand your frustration. 6 months ago, I have decided to replace my fully functioning and fairly new washer and dryer because I could never get a hot wash in it (no heater, dumbed down wash temperatures and a long water line). I've had it with smelly towels and underwashed sheets. I sold my old set on Craigslist and bought a washer with a heater. The difference in washing performance is remarkable.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:44AM
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izeve: I have been following various threads to see which machine to get, if not miele.

Can you please specify which brand/model you got ?

I am looking at the whirlpool 95hex model for washer/dryer.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 10:11AM
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I think there's some confusion here... If a washer has dumbed-down temps, a heater won't make those temperatures any higher. What a heater may do, is offer the option of a sanitary or extra-hot temperature, great for cleaning but not safe for all items. And it may help by heating the water if the machine wants to do a hot wash, but fills with cool water because of a long hot water lag (long pipe run between domestic water heater and washing machine).

Another thing: In most cases, dumbed-down temperatures are not forced on the manufacturers. They choose them in order to qualify for direct-to-manufacturer tax credits, as much as $250/unit. You could say that the manufacturers are selling out their customers to get the tax credits. The exception is traditional deep-fill agitator top-loaders. They use so much water that they may actually bump up against the mandatory Federal regulations. Even there, it's interesting to realize that, prior to 2011, there were no mandatory restrictions on water usage. There were energy restrictions, which may have mandated cooler wash temperatures on deep-fill machines (because all that water takes a lot of energy to heat). But there were no restrictions on unheated water, therefore no limits on how much rinse water could be used.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:37AM
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jmith, FWIW, this week, we took advantage of the Memorial Day Weekend Sale (it seems that all appliance stores have their lowest prices of the year on Memorial Day Weekend or Labor Day Weekend) to get a discontinued 2010 model Samsung WF419AAW "steam" washer at Lowe's (net, after discounts and rebates, about $670. new). The owner's manual for the WF419AAW states that the (home) water heater "... should be set to deliver a minimum 120ðF (49ðC) at the tap"; and on page 27 in the Appendix, the manual states: "The temperature range for Hot is 105-125ðF (41-52ðC). for Warm 85-105ðF (29-41ðC) and for Cold 60-85ðF (16-29ðC)." As we are brand new to this machine, I cannot verify the manual's temperature claims from personal experience, but the WF419AAW does have a 900W on-board heater to deliver the steam feature.

(If strange symbols appear in the preceding paragraph, they are the board's software's translation of ASCII 248, the degrees symbol.)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 3:27PM
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jmith, mine are LG WM2301 with a matching dryer. It's a simple machine, no steam or fancy features but it has a heater, so I can do Sanitary (158F). Even though the manual does not mention it, I have also noticed that the heater engages in Hot temp washes with fairly long run times (e.g. if I run Baby Wear cycle on Hot or other cycles with HOT temp and Stain Cycle selected, the heater seems to kick in to raise and maintain the HOT temp, ). I understand that the LG's temps are: cold 66-70 warm 90-105, hot 120-130 sanitary 153-158. I got my washer drier on a Black Friday special for $500 each piece.

Subarbanmd, even if you run off the cold water so that the machine starts with Hot, your actual wash temp will be much lower than what the ATC allows to come in. Say you have a machine with 120F Hot wash and ATC regulates to achieve that at fill. By the time the water saturates the load it will have cooled off by as much as 20 degrees because the room temp drum and clothes will cause loss of heat. So if your heater does not kick in to raise it again and maintain it, your hot wash may start at 100F and gradually cool off even more as the wash progresses.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 7:05AM
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Do new washing machines have a thermostat or is the inlet of hot/cold water timed to what a manufacturer would expect would create the desired temperature? New machines have multiple solenoid valves on the cold water side. I suspect that they are different flows to regulate the mix with the hot water. Does anyone have an insight on how the water temperature regulation works?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:57PM
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A temp sensor is somewhere in the incoming flow (usually after hot and cold is mixed). Hot and/or cold valves are cycled on/off to maintain an average around the target temp for a given setting.

A very few washer models have the ability to directly control the flow rate of the hot and/or cold valves to moderate the temperature mix instead of simply cycling them 100% on or off.

Multiple solenoids are to direct part or all of the incoming water flow to flush various dispensers for prewash/soak detergent, main wash detergent, bleach, and softener (depending on what is featured on a given machine) at different parts of the cycle.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:18PM
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