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Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

Posted by johnmk (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 15, 13 at 13:23

Hi folks,

I'm looking for an affordable, i.e., preferably less than $1,000, front loading clothes washer that uses its internal heater for more than just a sanitary cycle. Something that heats up to 120-130 Fahrenheit would be sufficient for my uses. I live in the U.S., so it should be 120 volts, and would prefer something both 1) new and 2) at least relatively well-available. Does anyone know of a front loading clothes washer that will engage its internal heater whenever I want it to, or at a minimum, which is known to engage the heater for a Bright Whites, Whitest Whites, Heavy Duty, etc., cycle, that meets my general requirements?

Thank you ever so much if you can help me with this!

Sincerely,

-John


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

johnmk: "I'm looking for an affordable, i.e., preferably less than $1,000, front loading clothes washer that uses its internal heater for more than just a sanitary cycle."

One thinks that you are asking the wrong question. If you want Bright Whites, Whitest Whites, Heavy Duty, etc., what keeps you from forgetting the labels and just selecting the Sanitize cycle?

We used to have a countertop blender in our kitchen that had some ridiculous number -- like, maybe, 20 -- of speeds. The buttons were all labeled with words like "chop," "shred," "grind," "mix," "blend," "puree," etc. But when we used the blender, did we look at the labels? Are you kidding? For all intents and purposes, our blender had three speeds: highest, lowest, and any-one-of-those-buttons-in-the middle.

Most modern washing machines have a lot in common with that old blender. Once you have the mechanical essentials such as hot and cold water inlets that can be turned on and off, variable speeds on the drum rotation, and a timer function, it is a matter of simple programming of a microchip to give a washing machine six cycles, eight cycles, a dozen cycles, etc., all just variations on a theme.

Close your eyes and imagine that the label next to the Sanitize Cycle says, "Whiter Whites"; select the cycle and -- voilà! -- you have a "Whiter Whites" cycle.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

The level of heat applied in Sanitize cycles is too much for my purposes, exposes the clothes to more wear than I'm looking for, takes much longer than normal cycles since 120v can only heat water so quickly, and costs too much to operate.

Thank you for trying to be helpful but I'm not interested at all in using Sanitize for this purpose.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

johnmk: "The level of heat applied in Sanitize cycles is too much for my purposes, exposes the clothes to more wear than I'm looking for, takes much longer than normal cycles since 120v can only heat water so quickly, and costs too much to operate.

Thank you for trying to be helpful but I'm not interested at all in using Sanitize for this purpose."

In most homes, the hot water heater is set to provide hot water at 120 degrees to 140 degrees, most often toward the lower end of that range. If your washing machine has no heater, you can wash at the temperature that the hot water comes out the tap. That does not add time to the wash cycle and does not increase your energy bill.

I do not know what washing machines with heaters you have been looking at, but the washing machines with internal heaters that we have seen and used deliver water at 150 to 160 degrees in the Sanitize cycle. That's pretty hot -- you rarely would get into a hot tub with water that hot -- but is not going to damage clothing that is labeled safe to wash in hot water. Remember that it was not too long ago -- 100 years or so -- that launderers and laundresses routinely _boiled_ cauldrons containing clothing -- the water at about 212 degrees at sea level -- over open fires.

And the heat of the water does not increase (or decrease) wear; wear comes from friction between the clothes and the drum, from friction between items being washed at the same time, and from small tufts of fabric getting push/pulled through the water drainage holes of the drum in the spin-dry portion of the cycle.

Heating the water from the 120 or so degrees coming out of the tap to the 150 or so degrees or so of the Sanitize cycle does take some time and does use some electricity more than washing with hot water from the tap, to be sure. But I would like to know what your impression is of how different (in degrees) the temperature of water used in a Sanitize cycle is from the "Hot" temperature of any other cycle in a washing machine that has an internal heater.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

@johnmk - I understand your reluctance to go from HOT to SANITIZE. The elastic waist on my husband's underwear seemed to suffer after the few times I've used SANITIZE while trying to get them as white as brand-new. I find it safer to stick with HOT, for the sake of the elastic.

It might be difficult to find a new washer for <$1k that has an internal heater; I do not know. You might have better luck with a used machine but there's no warranty. Hopefully you'll find a good washer that meets your needs.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

Thank you both for your help.

My research shows that most clothes washers made in the last couple years push towards these temperature ranges, in Fahrenheit:

Cold: 60-75
Warm: 75-90
Hot: 95-105
Extra Hot: 155+

Of course, not all clothes washers feature an Extra Hot setting/cycle, but those that do tend to spec it at 158-ish, and also for this cycle the internal heater is utilized.

What seems to be missing is a temperature in-between, and I find the redefinition of Hot from the traditional tap-hot of top loaders to be disappointing. If there is to be a standard on what constitutes Hot, then it should be 40C / 120F, +/- 10%. That's more reasonable than redefining Hot to be what Warm used to be, and so on.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

40C = 104F. Many complain that this isn't 'hot' enough.
50C = 122F. Some of the older machines could heat to this level, but with the new Energy Star standards I don't think any of the new units will do it.
60C = 140F. Some of the Euro washers with 220v heaters would do this, like the Miele. The Bosch I think got close, like 55C.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

johnmk: "My research shows that most clothes washers made in the last couple years push towards these temperature ranges, in Fahrenheit:

Cold: 60-75
Warm: 75-90
Hot: 95-105
Extra Hot: 155+

Of course, not all clothes washers feature an Extra Hot setting/cycle, but those that do tend to spec it at 158-ish, and also for this cycle the internal heater is utilized.

What seems to be missing is a temperature in-between, and I find the redefinition of Hot from the traditional tap-hot of top loaders to be disappointing."

Most household water heaters are adjusted so that they deliver 120 degrees or so at the tap. Pour water at 120 degrees into a steel tub or drum that has been at room temperature, and the water will lose some of its heat energy in warming up the tub or drum, and consequently the temperature of the water will decrease significantly. That was true historically, as well.

In a water-conserving modern washing machine where the quantity of water relative to the size of the drum is low, the temperature drop from losses to heating up the drum will be greater than they were historically where the drums or tubs generally were smaller and the quantity of water poured into the washing machines was much higher. At the end of a 15-20 minute wash cycle, 105 degrees seems to me to be a pretty reasonable guess as to what the wash water temperature will be in a modern large drum, water-conserving, washing machine.

An internal heater will allow the washing machine to heat the water back up to the original 120 degrees or, as you note, 30 to 40 degrees F. above the tap water temperature. But it takes time and energy to heat the water, so the hot cycle comes at the expense of longer cycles and higher electricity bills.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

None of this knowledge is new to me, but might be to somebody else. I stand by my question, exactly as phrased in the original post.

Thank you, all responders.

Now, as an aside, not to distract from my question, my front loader, if I don't run hot water up to the inlet prior to spike the punch, so to speak, is quite content with a 95F fill. It would be hotter, except even at Hot, it pulls in a significant share of water through the Cold inlet, probably 15%. If I spike the punch by heating up the hot water pipes and their contents, by running hot water quite naturally, then it's a touch less than 105F on average.

If it didn't insist on pulling the first 15% of fill from the cold inlet then I'd probably be satisfied. As it is, I have to play games with bypass valves, mixing valves, and so on, to make this washer do what I want.

This post was edited by johnmk on Sat, Jan 19, 13 at 4:20


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

Further aside:

My hot water heater is set to 133F, and I measure 130F output near the washing machine at maximum. Quite decent figures. Cold tap water, however, is around 45F this time of year. If the washing machine weren't programmed to take in the first 15% of its fill in cold water, though though the washer is to set Hot, then I'd probably have a starting wash temperature of in the neighborhood of 115F. That would barely satisfy me. As it is, I'm not impressed with this aspect of newer machines, and I suspect it's not just LG but most, perhaps even all brands now.

This post was edited by johnmk on Sat, Jan 19, 13 at 4:15


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

Look for a washer with a NSF-Certified Allergen cycle. Whirlpool/Maytag has them as well as Electrolux/Frigidaire. washerdryerinfo.com gives temperatures for each wash cycle (with default setting). Have seen that Samsung DeepSteam cycle seems to hit 140. The Allergene cycles have to reach 130.

Have you checked your thread at aw.org?


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

Hi whirlpool_trainee,

Thank you for the info. I have checked the thread at automaticwasher.org, and appreciated the insight provided there, but decided on a few factors to stick with the LG brand, so I've picked the LG WM3470, which does feature the Allergiene cycle which allegedly reaches 131F without fail. My hope is that this can substitute for the Bright Whites cycle, which if I'm to believe the numbers at washerdryerinfo, Bright Whites only reaches about 105F+/- even when set to Hot. I don't know the temperature of their Hot water line or cold water line, so their numbers are only somewhat helpful but it's a start.

Do you know if Allergiene actually does a good job cleaning? I understand its primary application is in the removal of allergens, but I'm not sure if that role does, or does not, lend itself to general cleaning duties. My guess is that it'll acquit itself decently in this role for lightly soiled items, but given that Pre-Wash isn't allowed as an option in this cycle, one could reasonably guess that LG didn't intend for this to be a true cleaning cycle. As in, maybe they figure if you blow enough hot steam around, you can dislodge easily airborne allergenic particles/mites and kill them in the process and that's what's important for asthmatics and those with significant allergies.

I share the laundry equipment with my grandmother, who has asthma and allergies, so she'll be using this cycle for bedding & whatnot. My use for it might be as a higher-temp substitute for the Bright Whites cycle. If that doesn't pan out then maybe I'll settle for Bright Whites + pre-wash option. I do like me some clean, bright white Whites, but I'm also a fan of Ron Popeil's set-it-and-forget-it simplicity. Eventually I have no doubt I'll figure a solution out.

Another track of investigation I'm looking into is the use of a point-of-use spec thermostatic mixing valve by Honeywell that has a range of 70F-120F. My preliminary plan is feed hot and cold water to the mixing valve, set it to 70F, and feed the resulting cool water to the cold water inlet of the washer. Given that tap cold water temperature in our area (north and west of Seattle) is about 45F this time of year, and maybe 60F in the summer, the effect of the mixing valve will be to seed the hot water line during the initial detergent-dispersing cold water fill of the washer. By the time the washer switches to requesting hot water, the water will actually be hot, because the mixing valve will have used up the cooled-off hot water in the hot water pipes, in its efforts to achieve 70F. I've approximated this process manually and found it effective in raising the temperature of Hot in my current LG WM2250 by an appreciable amount, so it's clear it helps ATC do its job more competently than normal.

Anyway, there we are for now!

-John


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

I'll add that one of the downsides of the thermostatic mixer, in the non-traditional application of it which I'm considering, is more energy use in the winter since my rinses won't be tap cold, but instead will be probably 1/4 hot, 3/4 tap cold. This is lamentable but it seems like a necessary expense of achieving set-it-and-forget-it functionality for seeding the hot water pipes.

I've not seen any objective testing of the efficacy of different rinse temperatures, but much conventional wisdom is that a cold water rinse is definitely good enough for rinsing purposes. Is that really true though? And is there anything objective out there which I've overlooked, which covers this topic exhaustively?

This post was edited by johnmk on Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 14:54


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

My new LG WM3470 front loading clothes washer used its internal heating element briefly in the Whitest Whites cycle yesterday to raise the wash temperature from 103 Fahrenheit, to 107 F. I know this for sure because I've used a Kill-a-watt to get to know how this machine works, and whenever I see consumption in the range of 1000-1200, it's because the 1000 watt heating element is vainly attempting to resist the flow of electrons. So it seems that for Whitest Whites/Hot, an attempt is made to reach a target temperature of around 105F.

That was my first use of the Whitest Whites cycle -- as I gain experience I'll try to remember to post back and share what I learn about this clothes washer in other cycles and scenarios. Conventional wisdom is that it won't ever use the heating element in Cotton/Normal. I can certainly believe that the most closely watched cycle by the EPA would likely forgo the heating element -- but we'll see.

So far I'm pleased with this clothes washer, more than I expected to be in fact. TurboWash is most impressive, by the way.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

I too have a Kill-a-Watt meter on my washing machine. Very useful to know what is going on. It shows the heater coming on very clearly.

Are you serious that LG considers 105F to be a hot wash? Is that the highest temperature you can get? Is that what they recommend for whites?

As far as the LG NORMAL cycle goes, I can tell you that the Miele I now have also does not use the heater in the NORMAL cycle (the default catch all cycle). I have read that is for energy regulation purposes. It is the first button on the machine. Shame they call it NORMAL because it is the worst program on the whole machine...

I simply do not understand this EPA thing. I mean, you have to heat


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

It is the same thing here in Europe. The cycle that is used for the energy label is a 140F cottons cycle. A recent test by our consumer magazine showed that all tested washer only heat from 111F to 122F instead of 140F (on that cycle) to get the A+++ Energy Efficiency label. Dumbed-down temps are compromised by up to 3+ hours cycles. 8-(

Have you tried the Allergine cycle yet, John?

Here is a link that might be useful: LG WM3470HVA


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

Yes, it seems to work well, takes about 1.5 hours and definitely pumps up the heat. I didn't see any visible steam, however, which I thought I would see. But the temps are definitely up where they should be.

I'm seeing use of the internal water heater in other modes also, but can't come up with anything definitive yet that's worth sharing, as the results are contradictory. So far my observations are that adjusting the soil level, and maybe enabling TurboWash, seem to be at least two of the factors at play that govern whether or not the internal heater plays a role.


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RE: Any new front loaders with useful internal heaters?

RE: steam. Looking at the parts diagram from Sears I can't find anything relating to a steam generator. LG must be going the same direction as Electrolux, Whirlpool and others where Steam just means more heating time with the internal water heater.


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