are front loaders here to stay?

AGK2003March 13, 2014

was thinking of adding a countertop over front loaders but that would be wasted if we one day had to replace with top load machines. are front loaders now considered better machines and likely to be the standard for a while?

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Without any doubt.

Front loaders are more efficient than conventional top loaders and far more durable than HE top loaders.

Governments around the world including the USA and Canada will not back off low water and electricity use.

Regulations will get tighter making it harder and harder for top loaders to meet and still deliver adequate performance.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:31PM
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I'd say yes.
Front loaders are the norm in a lot of countries and the only real sensible, economical, way to get clothes clean.

They are efficient by design (tumbling clothes through water vs. agitating though water).
You need a lot less water to tumble clothes than agitate water through them.

Who knows what the future holds for cleaning clothes but for now front loaders are and will be (for a long time) the most practical way to clean clothes.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:32PM
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I'm just another homemaker who has and has not been impressed with FL washers. I would think that with the gov't on the manufactures tail all the time to reduce water and electricity, that they are here to stay.

I honestly can't tell if my clothes are cleaner with a FL as I've done laundry in both. They both seem to clean the same but the top loader clothes/towels come out feeling much softer without using fabric softener. That's about the only difference I can tell. My parents live about 15 min from me and she still has her sturdy 17 year old KitchenAid and it has needed a minor repair only once. I washed some towels in it and no fabric softener and they came out so soft and fluffy. The same ones needed softener in my Electrolux at home to get the same result.

A bit off topic, sorry but yeah, I would think they're here for good.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Home-use front-loaders have been with us for many decades already. Latest-generation versions are just a continuation although the "HE" characteristics are new.

Problem is the physical dimensions and footprints have changed....and that has really messed up some interior design considerations. For example, I live in a house built in the late 1980's. It has a "laundry closet" that sort-of standard conventional TL machines would fit into. My present Speed Queens have dimensions like that. However, the newer HE/FL machines will not fit unless I remove the doors or structurally modify the house so they will.

Basically, I think you're asking if laundry machines will always have the same dimensions they have now. Will the dimensions of the present machines become "standard"? Nobody can tell you that. I assumed so when I bought this house...but I was wrong. (Do like the SQ's, though.)

Washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators, etc.....need to measure and decide.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:40PM
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the physics of a front loader makes it better if getting things clean is your primary goal. seriously.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:37PM
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The first automatic washer (non-wringer) on the U.S. market is usually cited to be a frontloader sold under the Bendix brand in 1937.

So, yeah, frontloaders are not a new concept and are not likely to be discontinued.

Bendix at one time was a part of AVCO (Aviation Corporation), and later was sold to Philco which at one time was owned by Ford Motor Company. Frigidaire was owned by General Motors from the early 1950s (if not a little earlier) until the early 1980s. American Motors was involved in Kelvinator for a while.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 5:07PM
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As long as Big Brother and the energy monopolies are involved, FLW is here to stay.

Dimensionally I don't know how much further they can grow. Two major electrical limitations here in US: 15 amp breaker and 20 amp breaker. 15 amps pretty much limits you to 1 hp, so I can't see most of the market not getting much bigger than they are now. At the end of the day you have to have enough torque to turn the basket at low speed in wash and enough capability to spin really fast to get 300+G spin performance. It's physics that just cannot be denied.

So what you see now is pretty much the limits in capacity, even with fancy motors and motor controllers. The two speed induction motor is dead for all intents and purposes due to DOE regulations on efficiency.

Next possibility - really big stuff (30 lb and up size) running at 208/240-60/1. Just a personal opinion, and it could be a decade away. Circuit breaker like a furnace or electric water heater.

Just my 10 cents worth. Maybe I will still be alive 10 years from now to see if anything really changes.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:30PM
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great thank you all for the responses! now i feel more confident about installing a countertop over the machines.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 5:02PM
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please say how you are going to accomplish this. I have been wanting to do this for the last two years. I saw one post online that said they used a foam core door as it was nearly the correct size. The depth was right and they just cut it to length. Then they used one by ones but I don't know about that. I have tried to contract someone and no one will call me back. The first thing I need to do is have the water on and off faucets relocated but where? Then the electrical outlet. What do you plan to do about those items so that the countertop can go back against the wall? I researched this before and they said you could put them in the cabinet beside the WD which would enter through a side opening in the cabinet. Any good suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:24PM
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AGK2003 : "are front loaders now considered better machines and likely to be the standard for a while?"

Considering that front-loading consumer level automatic washing machines had already been around for a long time before the first top-loading consumer automatic washing machine ever came to market, a more interesting question might be:

Among the following relatively short-lived fads, which is the most likely ever to regain popularity?

o Shoulder pads in women's sweaters

o Hula Hoops

o Huge tail fins on automobiles

o Pet Rocks

o Top-loading automatic washing machines

o Cabbage Patch Dolls

o 8-track cassette players

o Typewriters

o Martinis containing Vermouth

Here is a well-used mid-1930s Bendix washing machine:

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Gr8day, why don't you start a thread about your wished for installation :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:34PM
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dadoes 10: "Bendix at one time was a part of AVCO (Aviation Corporation), and later was sold to Philco which at one time was owned by Ford Motor Company. Frigidaire was owned by General Motors from the early 1950s (if not a little earlier) until the early 1980s. American Motors was involved in Kelvinator for a while."

During World War II, most of American industry was diverted to the task of making things that could blow up other things. When the war ended, there was much less need to blow up foreign nations' industry, so there was a lot of excess industrial capacity that corporate shareholders wanted their corporations to put to profitable use. General Motors got into the appliance business as Frigidaire, and defense contractors Borg Warner and Westinghouse got into the business as Norge and Westinghouse, respectively. Chrysler dived headlong into the business of air conditioners and commercial refrigeration, etc. Willys, the maker of the iconic Jeep, tried to get back into civilian automobile production, but nobody wanted to buy Willys automobiles. Packard, Nash, Hudson, and Studebaker could not sell enough automobiles to support their infrastructure, so Packard and Studebaker merged, and went down together; Nash and Hudson merged, also, forming American Motors, which would have suffered a quick death but was reprieved for a short time by a U.S. Government subsidy to make buses for urban transit systems. (At the time, GM had a monopoly position in the bus-making business, and the government wanted to get a second supplier to a state of viability to create competition.) Facing bankruptcy, American Motors was purchased by a French company, Renault, which later sold the remains to Chrysler Corporation.

One by one, all of the companies mentioned in the preceding paragraph went down, even GM, though it was not until 2008 that GM declared bankruptcy.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:30PM
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When I bought my FL, the appliance store had a shelf made especially to go over a FL washer and dryer....I believe the drain, intake pipes and electrical were lower than the shelf....not sure. If you were making your own shelf, and your pipes/outlet/drain are in the way, just cut around them.....or put a hinge on your shelf that lifts up so you can get to your "washer stuff".

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:47PM
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Maybe, but not in my house. It's been horrible for a large family with a stupid FL. I'm getting my new top loader on Friday.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:38PM
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But to be more polite, when I first got my FL I did want to add a shelf. I never got around to it. But I did take a couple of big bath towels, sew them together and lay them over the top of both the washer and dryer creating a sort of shelf. That way, as I was folding, the items didn't fall down behind or between. It worked well actually.

My washer leaked, and I had to pull it out really fast. I don't know if I could have done that if it was built-in. Maybe a shelf that lifts up would work. That way if your washer needs service it will be easier to pull out to work on.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:45PM
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Thank you everyone. I checked with Home Depot about a ready made one and they said at one time Maytag made one but they were not doing it anymore.

When I had someone out originally to get an estimate it was $2500 to move the faucet outlets and electrical plug down and to build the three sided cabinet over the W/D. That included the black pearl granite to go on top of the wood cabinet and another small cabinet on the other side of the room to match the small cab already in and to add a small piece of granite on top for that little desk area. There is a doggie door in the open space between those two cabinets. They were also going to remove the wallpaper and paint and repair trim where needed when installing the new cabinets. Maybe that is why they are not calling me back, lol. That was a pretty good price for all of that labor and the materials.

One of these days I'll figure it out. I looked into the cabinets that Costco sells this week but got hung up on the two colors Arctic White as opposed to Polar White before I hit send to order. The cabinets that are already in the laundry room are a true white so I will have to order samples before I can go any further. Sure was easier when white was just white!

Thank again everyone for your kind suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Ask the radicals what restrictions they plan to force on us next.

They are still working on making nudity the norm so we wont have to do laundry any more. Good grief.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Ask the radicals what restrictions they plan to force on us next.

I copied this from a current Samsung manual:

"If you select normal & heavy duty cycles, those cycles are the regulation and UL cycles. Since new washer must reduce the amount of energy usage at first priority, customers will notice more cold water entering the washer. But This is Normal, not a problem.

In those regulation cycles, Hot temperature is similar to acceptable adult bath-water temperature and warm temperature is similar to comfortable swimming-pool water temperature. If customers want to wash clothes in specific water temperature, customers should choose a different cycles at each temperature (Hot/Warm/Eco Warm)."

A Heavy Duty cycle that washes at bath-water temps? Yikes!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:55PM
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"This is normal, not a problem."

"Acceptable adult bath-water temperature...."

Pretty much every mfgr's opposed to saying: "We know this is inferior but we insist you endure it anyway. PS: We refuse to tell you what those actual temperatures are."

Just the latest iteration of the bilge they've been spouting for more than a decade already. Hot/warm/cold....words that now mean whatever they say they mean....whatever euphemisms they choose to describe them as opposed to actually saying the temperature.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:22PM
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fordtech : "Ask the radicals what restrictions they plan to force on us next."

Apparently, fundamental scarcity is a radical.

Who knew?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:25PM
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I am having the shelf put in this week, I can post a pic if you want. We are building it, not retrofitting it but it is essentially a closet with the FLs side by side. Contractor attached board supports to the 3 sides and will have a post support in the center. I am doing a wooden shelf, but you can get formica for 100 bucks or so. Granite would be extremely heavy and require more support, and is harder to take out if the need arises. The water attachment is recessed into the wall.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Thanks! That's helpful. In the meantime I found that Barker Door also will do the panels that you can put together after they make them for you. But the closet components is a great idea. I will look into it. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:23PM
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There is no doubt they are here to stay. We just replaced our 25 year old Maytag topload with a new LG frontload. It fit reasonably well. It was working fine, and probably could have been maintained working for another 25 years. But, how long do you want to keep looking at that same old machine? And the dryer (Whirlpool) which was a similar age, was getting tired. Since it was gas and we went for pedestals under the new LG's, it was a bit more of a challenge to change. Needed longer duct length and flexible gas line extension.

But, to the original question on building in a front load, I would for sure leave room for pedestals under your machines, if you do not already have them. As you age, you are not going to want to get down on your hands and knees to get into these things. Yes, pedestals are ridiculously expensive for what you get, but I my opinion are essential especially for aging users.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:02PM
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When I was a little girl I remember my mom got her first automatic washer. She had one of those ringer type washers with those big rollers that wrung out the clothes. What an ordeal. Her first automatic washer was a Westinghouse front loader with a small rectangular window in front, the front of the machine was a little slanted, it was actually a pretty machine. The door had some kind of texture on it. I remember her putting a chair in front of it and watching it like she was watching TV. I was probably about 4 years old. I would come down to the basement and sit with her and we would just stare at it. We would comment and talk like it was the most exciting thing ever. I think she used way too much detergent because I can still remember how sudsy it was behind that window. We also were fortunate enough to have the matching dryer! Our first one ever. I remember how we marveled at how soft the towels were. It was a family affair we were all in awe of the new pair.

Then top loaders totally took over the market. This was a great time in American history when we couldn't get enough of new innovation and people were inventing and promoting all kinds of things to make life easier for the masses. The country had so much confidence and it was exciting. Every day something new and thrilling was about to happen. The Jetsons were on TV along with the Flintstones an interesting dichotomy now that I think about it, but both were beloved.

I sure do wish I had a picture of my mother sitting in front of her new Westinghouse. She will be 87 in July. It's sort of funny how front loaders are back with a vengeance and thought of as new again. Maybe somewhere out there someone is sitting in front of their new front load machine chatting up their 4 year old.

I didn't get the pedestals with my w/d because I like to use the top for folding and I was afraid they would rattle. I didn't really like how the machines looked with them either, just personal preference I guess. In the end I bought an office stool on wheels that I sit on when I take the clothes out of the washer and transfer to the dryer and then to fold clothes when they are dry. I'm one of those who has to look at each piece of laundry when I take them out. There's no mass transfer of clothes into the dryer, I have to look at them, shake and then throw in the dryer. Why, I don't know… : / so the stool on wheels works well for me. Sort of like a doctor on his stool rolls around his office. I got it on Wayfair if memory serves and it's nice and the seat comes in all different colors.

I noticed that GE is now making a W/D that has the pedestals built in. It comes in a graphite color which is nice. The machine is higher but not the full height you would get with the separate pedestals. The tops are smooth, non stacking type and intended to be a folding area. I was thinking for the cost to have a cabinet built in I could probably just buy this new pair and be done with it. But that seems frivolous, but is it really??? That is the question! New W/D, taller and smooth top or built in cabinet that may be obsolete someday…dollar for dollar it's hard to say.

It was so fun to see all of your stories and helpful advice. Thanks so much again! I do think front loaders are here to stay.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 7:46AM
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"New W/D, taller and smooth top or built in cabinet that may be obsolete someday…"

We had cabinets already which were high enough to allow front loads with pedestals. They in fact could be lowered by 4" or so, but that is a bit of a nasty job. Instead, I just bought a fold up, two step stool to get into the cabinets.

The tops of the old machines were junk collectors, and the new higher ones are kind of forced to be clean or you will not be able to open the cabinets!

If I was doing it from scratch, I would build the cabinets a little lower, and build them out from the wall a lot more, even to the point of having false backs in them.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 2:26PM
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gr8day, loved reading your story!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:47PM
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ronaka - good points all and well taken.

enduring - I don't know why I got so carried away!!! I will just never forget that scene of my mom and her new washer. Back then doing laundry was quite a chore and a little bit dangerous before the automatic w's came out. Many thanks.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 6:30PM
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