Return to the Laundry Room Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
New gov't regulations for washers coming

Posted by knot2fast (My Page) on
Mon, May 21, 12 at 10:32

As part of the Obama Administration's focus on taking sensible steps to save families money while also reducing energy consumption, the Department of Energy today announced common-sense energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers that will save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs.

Click here to read the rest of the announcement.

UGH!
Does the government know that my energy hogging Speed Queen top loading washer (that fills with actual hot water) costs me only $28/year according to their own EnergyGuide ratings? If they cut my energy cost IN HALF, it would save me only $14/year or about a dollar a month. How much more will I have to pay for a new SUPER HE detergent that supposedly cleans clothes in a teaspoon of tap-cold water? NO THANKS!

It won't be long until hot water is banned from clothes washers altogether if this trend continues. If I had a place to store it for the 20 years I expect my current SQ washer to last, I'd buy another one for the future while I can.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Read it. No mention of consumer dissatisfaction anywhere in there.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

$230 over the life of the appliance? Most of us have happily gone to he washers but there is a point where too "efficient" equals increased rewash and extra rinses. I guess it looks good on paper.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

The people that wrote it send their stuff out. They don't care.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Of course the cost of a washer that can clean decently under the new requirements will easily cost more than $230 more than the current models.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

If the Obama administration is simply synchronizing standards with Germany/Europe then it simply means Whirlpool/Bosch Tide/Henkel et al will simply have to bring their technology they use in Europe and bring it to the US without 5+ years delay. And we will be paying European type prices. No decent washers for $399 at Sears.

If they are going beyond that then that means increased R&D,a lot of increased cost, and reliablity & durability of unknown products.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

As nearly as I can tell, mfgr's are still receiving subsidies per-machine for obtaining "energy star" certification. (wonder what will happen to prices when the subsidy goes away) This also appears to relate directly to ratings from CR and other testing organizations who "test" based whatever "normal" cycle the mfgr promulgated as part of their compliance protocol. Unfortunately, those reported ratings do not correspond very well with results consumers are reporting in many, many cases.

Many consumers are reporting frustration and poor results except in the cases of those who are willing to learn how their machines work and do whatever they have to in order to get the results they want. Obfuscation appears to be the order of the day throughout the marketplace.

In the mean time, SQ, the only outfit that's staying with "old-tech", is back-ordered and declining to accept new dealer appllcations. Interesting circumstance.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

I don't know exactly why...but....I can't think of anything that irks me more than this water requirement nonsense! I shut out the political rhetoric and try to be reasonable. However, when the government starts telling me how I can/can't wash clothes - they have gone too far.

How about the houses with giant whirlpool tubs?
How about showers with multiple shower heads?
How about the zillions of gallons poured out hoses?

This is just NUTS. It is government run amok. And with all the REAL issues that need fixing...this is the topic on which they focus????

No wonder we are in trouble.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

I'm all for conservation. However, for a grand or more, I like a machine that does what it's supposed to and doesn't break. And I'd appreciate being permitted to know what "cold", "warm" and "hot" -- as they appear on the controls -- actually mean.

And, like everyone I've ever known, I don't like being deceived and/or lied to.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

"How about the houses with giant whirlpool tubs?
How about showers with multiple shower heads?
How about the zillions of gallons poured out hoses? "

ITA. Seriously.
I'll add to your list: Home lawn irrigation systems.

It is an interesting irony, isn't it?


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Doral, I could not have said it better myself. Everytime I saw the commercial with the 'waterfall showerhead', I scratched my head thinking about all the water wasted.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Can you imagine the meltdown (pun intended) over in the Appliance forum if the government stepped in and limited range top burners to 1000 BTUs and trending down? They covet quasi-commercial ranges with pilot lights putting out more heat.

All in the interest of saving the money of consumers.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

what? this really pisses me off. they should require that washing machines and dishwashers require NO water at all. so tired of ineffective government.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Kateskouros your wish is coming. Prediction: They will sell "laundry wipes"....rub on your clothes to clean them...NO WATER required (just expensive & harmful chemicals on disposal and lots of allergies).

This is called - "Reinventing the wheel"


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

They covet quasi-commercial ranges with pilot lights putting out more heat.

Neither Bluestar nor Capital have pilot lights.

Both have electric ignition and automatic re-ignition.

Commerical ranges do with cheaper ignition system because they are on 18-24 hrs a day.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

A response to this from another forum:

DOE�s clothes washer test procedure provides a measure of representative energy and water use. It does not evaluate cleaning or rinsing performance or fabric care. AHAM, BSH, GE, and Whirlpool commented that DOE should add a performance measure, particularly because at the higher efficiency levels, clothes washers are reaching the limit where product performance and consumer satisfaction may not be economically reached.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Regulated Showers:

Eventually, the home shower will be a recirculating system. Not unlike dishwashers, 1.3L of water will be recirculated over your body until a soils senser determines you are clean. Then the water will drain away and you will be blown dry, ending the need for a bath towel.

MRB


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Why is water usage so under attack? It isn't manufactured or a limited resource.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

the real cost is from treating the waste water from your house. "Black water" (which includes washer, toilet and shower)is what is discharged down the drain. Every town with a sewer system that discharges to a facility pays by the gallon for treatment and then discharge back into the environment.

lower amounts of water from your house (a huge number of houses in every town) will reduce costs of treating water that goes into your taxes


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

"Why is water usage so under attack? It isn't manufactured or a limited resource."

You're either joking or you need to read more.

Agree with kerbosch.

Larger issue condensed from one source below. No shortage of information from myriad other sources as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Primer about water


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

In Southern California (know for its water wars) the issues is heating-up again as water rights are worth a fortune. We are essentially an arid landscape with water transforming us into the illusion represented today. I can easily see water costs skyrocketing here.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

I get that water is limited in some areas of the country but having lived on the top half of the map for the majority of my years, fresh water has always been abundant and almost a nuisance. The typical well around here is 50 feet. Not because that is needed to hit water but required to avoid freezing. My prior home had a natural spring in the back yard. I get the expense and requirements of treating waste. The Great Lakes make up a 1/5 of the fresh water in the world. Add in fresh water rivers, lakes and aquifers and the US is not in bad shape on the water supply issue. So, the problem is getting it from point A to point B. That is the water rights issue. Limiting everyone's ability to wash their clothing will not change the fact that some regions are arid.

The water rights are sold, T Boone Pickens for example. Mineral rights are sold. Water is a commodity. Forcing me to use less of a commodity that is in abundance in my back yard strikes me as ridiculous. It's equivalent to telling those of you in arid regions that you can't use solar panels because it is dark in Alaska for extended periods of time.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

water Issues ! Watch prophets of doom! Watch an An Inconvenient Truth. Ice caps are melting our water is getting dirtier more polluted with drugs that cannot be removed easily and we are in a shortage. My sons school which is rated at 98 percent in this country is educating kids on this and the issue that will affect us all soon enough. It is already here most people just don't know. The great days of abuse of water oil etc. will be over shortly. fracking ruining more water. I try to leave as little of foot print as possible. Even clean our cars wheels with vinegar. Clean my house with vinegar and baking soda. don't say it is not sanitary. My hubby and kids have not been sick in years and he is a paramedic that could bring home anything. I wipe down handles daily with vinegar. My four year old has never been sick and my doctor is amazed. he is exposed to four brothers and their friends. God gave us all we need. We just abuse it and think chemicals are better. how about wind power in alaska. I think we should be at europe standards for detergents washers etc. they dont just throw away everything. Americans wast way to much. I am praying my miele last 20 years.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

I live on the mighty Columbia River. Every year God sends sun and snow to pack the Canadian Mountains and down it comes every spring and summer in a torrent headed for the Pacific. Our city takes a share and sends it to us and we use it and drink it and put it down the drain. The city strains out the bad stuff and the good stuff goes back into the Columbia. We have so much electricity that we can't use it all. I feel sorry for those folks that live where the water is running out. Maybe the government should mandate that all industries and support businesses should just move where there is water and let folks live there instead. Make the existing water do more on its path. That would be just as inconvenient as what we are going through, but in the long run more useful.
Oh yes, I have a nice big shower head that pours torrents of water down the drain, our toilets are old American Standard units that would fail all modern mandates, and I have six circuits pouring water on my lawn and garden every other day. If I could I would only have laundry and dishwashing equipment that worked like mine did in the 1990's.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

it isn't the water that you use it is the dirty water that goes down the drain that they are trying to reduce. I think that the average top loader uses 40-50 gallons per load, probably the number one use of water in the house. newer technology uses 10-15 gallons - big difference. Now multiply that by all the hosues in the country still on older top loaders - that is alot of water going down the drain


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Time, temperature, detergent, mechanical action. If one of those is lacking it must be made up for. Time, temp and mechanical action would lower the efficiency rating. This means stronger detergents. Stronger detergents equal more pollution not less. More rinsing to remove it negates the effect of a stingy wash cycle. We have reached a point of diminished return. High flow toilets are the top item declared at the Canadian border for a reason.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

@ Sandy16

Not sure what you're assertion is. This sentence doesn't make sense: "Time, temp and mechanical action would lower the efficiency rating."

My Tide HE powder isn't particularly strong. I use much less of it than I ever have in any machine in the last four decades. And with that little and with much larger loads I get cleaner clothes using less water to do it. Even with longer cycle times, it uses less electricity than previous machines. That's more efficient, not less.

All that has to happen is for the machines to do what they say they will do and not break. The complaints have mostly had to do with misrepresentation and breakdowns, not "efficiency" per se.

My machine (Duet 9400; 2005) does a wonderful job and hasn't broken in seven years. (hoping that continues) My only gripe has been with the non-disclosure of the temperatures. Having learned what they are, I can accomplish what I want with it, but I resented having to conduct a pointed investigation to learn this basic information.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

The goal is to reduce water usage of current frontloaders by 35% and to reduce their energy usage by 15%. So, to increase the wash temperature, the mechanical action of the unit or wash time in order to compensate for less water isn't an option and wouldn't meet new requirements. In order to get clean clothing while lowering water and energy usage stronger faster acting detergents would have to factor in. More alkalinity, more water softening agents, etc. Basically the water used must be "wetter".

Compare the water usage of your 2005 model to the current Duet. It is likely that current models are already using less. Now take another 35% off of the current model's usage. How could electrical usage be cut by 15%? What are you willing to cut by 15%? Time, temp or tumbling?


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet. An early mention of these standards, maybe sometime last year, said that they would codify efficiency levels that are already achieved by some machines, and for which the manufacturers now receive tax credits. I believe my Miele W4840 achieves those levels, and it performs well. But if tax credits are offered for efficiency exceeding the new standards, then we may see even more parsimonious machines.

Some of the energy savings in the new standards involves reduction in standby power and "off" power.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Cutting electrical use doesn't involve only the machine's motor and control system. Energy usage also considers the fuel needed to heat the wash water, whether in the machine or the household water heater.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Energy score also takes into account the energy needed to dry the fabrics. So faster spin speeds can also improve energy score. When my new dryer is drying articles spun at 1400 RPM in my washer (practically everything we wash), the damp dry signal sounds a few minutes after starting the dryer.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

I think we all need to be concerned about the lack of consumer protection regulations that should be directing manufacturers to disclose how products actually work (or in some cases that they work at all). To me the notion that because some area has water in abundance the folks there should be able to use it without restraint is a sad and ugly sentiment. If efficiency improvements inconvenience you I think that's tough, if you are unwilling to adapt then that's your problem. Having said that if these efficiencies drive up costs and are putting owning decent quality efficient machines out of reach of working folks then there is a huge problem.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

The performance specifications are not recently pulled out of some official's nether regions ... they've been in discussion for years and with the full participation of the manufacturers and their supply chain (motor makers, chip makers, etc.).

My SO is/was involved in the electronics parts of this, which involve better motor controllers, better agitating and tumbling patterns, and improving temperature controls so the same amount of delivered power to the clothes takes less power out of the wall (or heat out of the tank) to give the same effect.

Like the switch from traditional ballast to solid-state for fluorescent lighting that saves huge amounts of energy without affecting the light levels, much of this will be invisible to the users.

Just the stand-by power for electronic controls, which for an appliance that just sits there most of the time, can add up to serious watts if it's not done right. SO spends a lot of his design time updating old chip designs to make them more efficient but still usable in existing circuit boards.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Several posts in recent times discussed the fact that already some manufacturers use so little water to meet current regs that clothes aren't all wet during a run, soap isn't fully dissolved and folded clothes don't even unfold. Dispite assurances that manufacturers participated in these regs, I feel consumers are the ones to suffer. We have come from an era where a good machine could be had for under $500 to where an automatic washer will be available only to the wealthy. And the life for an average machine has gone down from about 20 years to about 10 unless you can afford the expensive euro models.
The same mentality wants to tear down large hydroelectric dams to save the salmon. Nuts.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Caryscott - I have a very efficient Miele dishwasher, a 24" euro washer and the majority of my clothing is hung to dry. I also have a tankless water heater and a solar panel. In my neck of the woods where water is abundant lawns are generally dormant and not kept an unnatural green for the summer months. I believe strongly in conservation and efficiency. Recently on this very forum I was accused of being a commune dwelling greenie. However, I am not willing to wear dirty clothing to conserve a few gallons of water.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

In my city the water system (both freshwater and sewer) is over-sized and underused thanks to the decline of industry here. I suspect a lot of cities are the same.

When I called about water rebates for toilets and washers they just laughed. Use all you want, we've got plenty was the attitude.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

"Like the switch from traditional ballast to solid-state for fluorescent lighting that saves huge amounts of energy without affecting the light levels, much of this will be invisible to the users."

OT since this is a laundry page --- I have to disagree with you on the 'without affecting the light levels' part of this. Light levels are affected. In order to achieve the same amount of light achieved in a room now, I have to bump the CFL wattage up by 50%.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

AHAM, BSH, GE, and Whirlpool commented that DOE should add a performance measure, particularly because at the higher efficiency levels, clothes washers are reaching the limit where product performance and consumer satisfaction may not be economically reached.

I surely hope a performance measure will be implemented! With washers using less and less water, rinsing performance suffers. Our consumer magazine always test rinsing performance for washers and not a single unit does a *Good* job. I would welcome a rinsing rating to be added to the already existing European Energy Label.

While this label has brought us some advantages - washers that don't receive an *A* grade for washing performance are no longer allowed to be sold and appliances got way more efficient overall - it also brought its drawbacks, namely cycle duration and water temp. My Whirlpool Duet, if set to the Energy Label cycle (Cottons 140F) and packed full, takes 3:45 hrs. (on a cold fill). That's a long time. LG's newest 24 inch model, as was found out by our consumer magazine, only heats to 110F instead of 140F when set to the Energy Label reference cycle. Even Miele washers now have cycles of three hours. All this is due to the fact that washers must deliver A-class cleaning but must also meet consumer's expectations of being super-efficient since the label makes comparing between different models so easy.

While I naturally welcome efficient appliances, I don't welcome cycles that take half an afternoon to run and wash my clothes cooler than I set the washer for. Just like so many of you, I had to figure out myself how to program my washer to do what I want it to.

The future will probably bring no-heat washers that spray a fine mist over the clothes to rinse them. No, wait! LG and Samsung washers already do this. :-/

On a more positive note, it also forces manufacturers to come up with innovative solutions that still get the job done. One example is the Solar Dryer by Miele (and Asko offers something similar, I think). Solar Dryer

Now, while I don’t really see how washers came become much more efficient - I think dishwashers can. But that’s a different forum.

Alex

Here is a link that might be useful: European Union energy label


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers

Here's another discussion on this from the other forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: New energy efficiency standards for washers and dishwashers announced


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

"With washers using less and less water, rinsing performance suffers." I totally agree. And the irony is that we'll use as much water as we did before the new regulations, by trying to rinse out the detergent. Running the load through a second cycle, but without detergent, just to get good rinses, does not save any water at all. It is also much harder on the clothes.


 o
thanks for the link, Alex

Very interesting discussion on the Discuss-o-Mat page. When dishwashers become completely ridiculous with 'water saving', we'll all go back to washing dishes by hand in the sink. The gov't won't be able to control whether people leave the tap running during that time, which wastes even more water. The only way to encourage people to use less water, IMHO, is to raise the price of the water itself, as a commodity, to consumers.

At some point, sewer pipes will fill with accumulated fats, and the water will back up into the homes. Ask me how I know; our kitchen is the main feed into one section of our sewer pipe under the house, with the guest bedroom/bathroom upstream. That bath sees little use, since it is a guest bath. Long story short, water backing up into the vegetable-washing sink after a toilet flushed upstairs (eeeeew!) and an emergency plumber call, I was told the fats from rinsing & washing dishes, etc., built up in the sewer pipe and caused the clog. The stuff the plumber raked out looked like Crisco shortening. Plumber advised me to regularly flush out the pipes with a LOT of HOT water. Makes perfect sense to me. It takes more than a gallon of hot water to carry that stuff to the main sewer line under our house.


 o
RE: New gov't regulations for washers coming

Cavimum - the sewer back up due to not enough water flow is already an issue in some areas. San Francisco has spent over 114 million attempting to address it. They save on water treatment costs though one must wonder how that affects public health. Guess that isn't as important as lowering water usage.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Laundry Room Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here