Warm/Hot ATC

hvtech42August 12, 2014

I had heard about how bad ATC was in today's washers, but I didn't really think much of it until I decided to pause my LG front loader in the middle of a cycle earlier tonight and stick my hand inside. My god... The thing was full of cold/lukewarm water even though I set it to warm! This probably won't come as a surprise to most on this forum, but it did to me. I'm not worried about hot washes because my machine has an internal heater that I do engage when needed. But to think that I've unknowingly been doing the rest of my loads in cold the 2 years of having this machine...

Anyhow my machine has 2 hot settings, HOT and VERY HOT. VERY HOT activates the internal heater and is only available with the Sanitary cycle. That is what I use whenever I want to do a hot load. However I've never tried using the plain HOT setting. I am assuming that will do a temperature similar to WARM on older washers. Am I correct in thinking this? If so I think I will use that setting for my normal loads in the future and instruct my wife to do the same. Does anyone else do this and is there a problem with doing so?

The user manual says nothing about what the different temp settings actually do. I figured maybe the service manual would but I could not find one online for my model.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 22:28

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Welcome to the world of "Energy Star" washing. I have a relatively new LG front load washer. "Hot" is the old "warm". "Warm", "Cold" are just slightly warmer versions of "Tap Cold". The only way I can get a "Hot" wash is to engage the "Sanitary" cycle.

The "Sanitary" cycle is now limited to 140 degrees on both LG front loaders and "WaveForce" machines with internal heaters.
Whirlpool top load offerings with heaters top out at around 125 degrees and will not meet sanitation requirements unless an "Oxi" product is used in conjunction with the sanitary cycle.

The truly sad part is most consumers have no idea what is happening. They only know that clothes aren't as clean as they should be. Most have no idea that they are washing in cool/cold water. I think this is largely responsible for much of the stench/mold issues that affect so many machines today.

I never thought I would live to see the day where the definitions for cold, warm and hot would change yearly.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:08PM
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If the hot faucet runs hot at your washer immediately, then it's able to fill at the temperature it wants, which is likely a "dumbed-down" version of the setting you choose. In that case I doubt it would use its internal heater to boost the temperature further.

Some washer manuals do list the temperature settings. Last time I looked at one of those online, hot was indeed 105F or so, what used to be considered warm.

Interesting story about washer manuals: When I switched to a front-loader six years ago, I knew to be very concerned about water temperature just because my laundry room is very far from the house water heater. I decided on a particular LG model, and checked the manual online. It gave target water temperatures that looked ok, and I knew the machine had a heater. Got the machine, and soon found out that it would finish a warm wash with barely warm water. That's when I saw that the water temperatures, which were in the online manual, had been omitted from the printed manual packed with the machine. I also found from LG customer support that the machine would use the heater only to "maintain" incoming temperatures, not to "boost" them even if they were low. This was six years ago, and maybe things are different now. Or maybe not.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:08PM
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Grrr I know. I have no objection to low water washing, I'm amazed at what these front loaders can do with so little water. My ONE complaint is with the temperature. Other than that I'm completely satisfied with the performance of my machine.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:02PM
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The machine is producing acceptable results, yes? Throw in the Sanitary cycle when appropriate as you're doing. Experiment with the hot temp selection to see what you get and whether it's consistent to use safely as an alternative to a 'true' warm temp ... and otherwise accept the machine's quirks for what they are. :-)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:41PM
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I guess I was just concerned because I have heard multiple times that part of the reason front loaders stink up and fail early is due to frequent cold washes. My washer does not smell moldy nor has it had a major mechanical failure yet and I want to keep it that way. When I started the thread I was hoping to see if anyone knew what temperature "hot" was but now I realize that is a stupid question as all the machines are different. So I gave it a whirl. Hot on the cotton/normal cycle seemed to max out at 120 degrees which I think is a good warm. The actual warm setting barely got above 90. I wish they would outline this stuff in the manuals so I would not have to stick a thermometer in my washing machine but I'm happy I can get the settings I want without dumping water into the dispenser or modifying the washer mechanically.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 21:10

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:59PM
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I suspect that what's going on is that the water is simply cooling off faster than you're used to, due to the lower quantity of water, even if it's the right temperature at the start. It's just like a large pot of soup can stay hot for a few hours, while a cup of coffee cools off within a few minutes.

But I agree with the previous remark to go by results. If it took you two years to notice, then maybe the people who claim that it's unnecessary to use hot water are correct.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:06PM
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It is common knowledge that the HE machines from the mainstream manufacturers dumb down the water temps. Although I could not find the service manual for my particular machine I found ones for Electrolux, Whirlpool, and other LG machines online and confirmed that they were dumbing down the warm and hot temps big time. Most of them don't even let warm get over 100 degrees and hot is generally kept well under 120. The new top loaders are even worse. They will barely even let the hot setting break 100.

"the people who claim that it's unnecessary to use hot water are correct"

Nobody ever claimed you should always use hot water. Rather you need to sort and wash according to the load. If I am doing a load of heavily stained whites I am going to use hot water. On the other hand if I am just freshening up some T shirts that were worn a couple times with no stains, that is overkill.

Pretty much all the front loaders on the market that have heaters built in, like mine, can do a true hot wash. That was not my problem. I wanted to do a true WARM wash. While cooler water is less effective, my concern was not that the clothes weren't clean enough. You correctly point out that I didn't notice for 2 years. My main worry was about keeping the machine running as long as possible. I don't want to be one of those people I see on the internet a lot who junk their $2000 frontload stack in under 5 years because of user error.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:27PM
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My entire issue is rather simple. It's about truth in advertising.
You can call a chicken a pig all you want; in the end, it remains a chicken. In the same vein, "warm" water will never be "hot' no matter how you spin it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:38PM
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Fortunately my Calypso runs full tap-hot on the hot setting. I have a tankless water heater that I can set to any temp from 50ðF to 140ðF. I always select Hot when washing and control the temp via the tankless, which is easily accessible in my laundry room. Warm on the Calypso targets 105ðF, although it usually would run the usual mixed hot and cold for majority of the fill, switching to hot briefly toward the end.

I have an F&P Intuitive Eco agitator toploader that has ATC and interestingly targets 115ðF input on Warm, which ends up about 105ðF in the tub. Hot is tap-hot. It has a mid warm/hot setting that targets 122ðF, and a mid warm/cold setting of 95ðF.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Samsung manuals say:

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 as a first priority, customers will notice more cold water entering the washers, but this is normal and not a problem.

In those regulation cycles, hot temperature is similar to acceptable adult bath-water temperature and warm is similar to comfortable swimming-pool water temperature.

"new washer[s] must reduce the amount of energy usage as a first priority" Hm, my first priority when using a washing machine is to clean my clothes. I don't use an electric appliance to save electricity. Besides, even though Samsung is trying to state something about water temperatures, bath-water and swimming-pool isn't exactly a clear statement.

I'm glad to have the temps clearly written on the control panel of my Duet over here. Warm washes will always be 40C (104F) and hot washes will always be 60C (140F). I prefer heated water over Clorox, boosters or whatever chemical manufacturers are trying to sell these days to boost performance in cool water.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:29PM
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The front loaders are pretty bad with regard to dumbed down temps but the new agitator top loads are even worse. The washer I am installing at my rental properties now is the Whirlpool VMW. I tested one a while back (branded Amana) before the tenant moved in. I am actually quite pleased with the machines overall for their wash performance, ease of service, and manual water level controls, but the temps are terrible! Warm barely gets over 80úF, hot does give you a nice warm setting at over 100úF. But if you want a true hot wash? No luck!

As for Speed Queen I am not a big fan of their warms. Even though they don't have ATC they mix more cold water in than hot when set to warm (I believe it is 60-40). However they will give you a true TAP HOT wash which is rare nowadays. This goes for both their front and top loaders (although it is more useful on the top loads since FLs use so little water).

Bottom line: If you want true flexibility in temp selections and the ability to get both good warm AND hot washes, get an HE machine with an internal heater. I was lucky enough that my particular machine did what I wanted once I figured out the proper settings, but depending on what machine they bought others may not have that luck.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:27PM
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Bosch has given out differing temps for the 24"w undercounter 24460 machine I have - a 240v model that heats its own water, from tap cold if so connected. The controls are still dumbed-down, but the temps hold if you know what's what. "Warm" is about 90F, "hot" is 120F which is what I usually select for general "warm" washing (even though Miele washers from this era call actually call 120F "warm"). Hot on the Kids' Wear cycle is really hot, 140F. Sanitary lives up to its extra-hot billing - 161F. I would have liked a 105F warm-water option but there isn't one. Still, it will heat quickly to these temps and always reach them, not often the case on new machines.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:03AM
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I didn't realize the issue had more to do with smell and related maintenance problems. We wash sheets in hot water at least once a week. Do you think that regular hot water washes would offset any problems from lower warm water temperatures? We also leave the door and drawer open.

One of features we like is the eco-setting, and we can't wait to see what happens to our gas bill. But I wouldn't want to get lower reliability in exchange for lower utility costs.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:38PM
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"I didn't realize the issue had more to do with smell and related maintenance problems. We wash sheets in hot water at least once a week. Do you think that regular hot water washes would offset any problems from lower warm water temperatures? We also leave the door and drawer open."

You're probably fine, and I probably would have been too if I kept using warm. I think the biggest issues are with people who set the temp to cold and never wash in hot. I am glad I started setting mine to hot though because I seem to getting better results (even though my results before were pretty good).

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:37PM
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GaryFx, yes a hot wash on a weekly schedule will help offset the cooler warm temp.

Some of them do get by OK, but the majority of complaints regarding mold and odor in frontloaders are likely from people who wash primarily in cold water, with hot and even warm being rare ... plus no chlorine bleach.

My sister washes everything in cold. They have (or had, I have it now as a spare for refurbishment) a 30-years-old Maytag agitator toploader that has a musty odor ... and this is a pic of the lint filter and inside of the agitator. The perforations in the filter that are intended to catch lint are completely clogged with smutz (which has dried from sitting in my garage for 8 months) and there's a deposit of it inside the agitator.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 2:02PM
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