Are the eco-friendly features you are being sold any use or truthful
It is often, especially when talking about better quality machines, that we will get people that are totally confused about green issues and how things actually work in practice. Of course, this often isn't helped by the marketing taglines as more and more companies struggle to add a green tinge to their products and wares.
You can't blame them, nobody wants to be seen as being the worst polluter in the industry in which they operate and, inevitably, there are a lot of half truths and spin surrounding the so-called green alternatives.
From our perspective, as service engineers within the appliance industry, lets burst a few myths and shoot down some poor marketing.
Also bear in mind that, as with most things in life, there are compromises and pros and cons to each "benefit", it is merely a matter of working out which ones you can live with.
New Washing Machine Saves 30%+ Energy
Okay so you see the headline figures that are claimed by many that state that you will save a considerable percentage of you electric use or water use but you have to ask yourself, how do they do that?
Simple physics dictates that it takes X energy to heat Y volume of water from whichever starting temperature that you choose to use as a baseline. This is a physical fact that simply cannot be gotten around and heating the water is the single biggest use of energy for every wash. So, how can you save these massive percentages then?
The simple answer is of course, you can't.
What is often seen is that the manufacturer will put these claimed savings up as a comparison against an older machine, very often we've seen the figures achieved by using an old machine which is energy guzzling from twenty years ago. Of course there will be a huge disparity, but it is a falsehood to think that an A energy rated machine from one manufacturer would have such a massive difference compared with a similarly modern machine from another.
Where the savings come in is by reductions in the amount of water used, which in turn requires that to achieve similar results the period of agitation must be extended, leading to long wash cycle times of two hours or more in many cases.
So sure, you can save a bit of energy as well as water but it isn't as big a saving as you may be told by any stretch and the downside is that the wash will take longer.
Think on it this way, you can't have a car with the performance of a Ferrari and the frugal fuel consumption of a Prius. The same applies to washing machines in large part.
You can also find the same trick used in marketing dishwashers and refrigeration as well and you can find out a lot more about the actual saving on energy cost that can be made from this article and why many of the claims made are misleading.
Hot Water Fill
This one annoys us as we have to explain it so often to people but we do try to explain why it is a waste of time for the vast majority of people as simply as possible.
Machines with hot fill will ONLY fill with hot water on a boil wash using the first fill after pre-wash normally. *NO* machine sold in the UK or anywhere else that we are aware of has a smart or mixed fill, it simply does not exist and if a salesperson tells you otherwise then they are misinformed.
Most homes have hot water storage tanks or instant hot water from a boiler that can do that in the UK.
There is a load of pipework filled with cold water between the storage tank or boiler and the washing machine and, with low water level modern machines, it is all too often the case that all you will do is fill the machine with the cold water that is lying in that pipework.
You will fill the pipes with the hot water and heat in the machine anyway.
Then consider that the detergents that you use will be designed to work on a temperature curve, not with instant hot water and you will lose some of the cleaning power of these.
Do this on a dishwasher using hard tablets and you are asking for poor results, soap residues and poor dissolution of the tablets.
In other words, for all but the very few (and manufacturers don't make machines for the very few) that have solar heated water or suchlike, hot fill is a total waste of time and money. In short, cold fill only is better for the vast majority of people.
Large Capacity Washing Machines
Having a larger capacity washing machine will save you money through reduced electricity and water the adverts declare.
Do you wash more all of a sudden?
In short, it's a load of old rubbish and the manufacturers playing the old "mine's bigger than yours" game.
The fact of it is that the average load size in the UK is about 2.5kg as, if you separate your laundry correctly, you shouldn't have vast loads to wash. Asides from which it takes the same amount of energy and water to wash the same amount of clothing in whatever capacity of machine.
If you use a large capacity machine and ALL the detergent manufacturers will tell you that you have to use an additional 50% of your normal detergent irrespective of the load so that the detergent cleans correctly. So, even if you did save a little electricity and water you lose big time on the detergent cost and this may surprise you, but the detergent is the greatest cost, not the electricity.
It gets worse for large capacity machines because people still wash small loads in them, you don't not wash your favourite or work shirts just because there's not enough of the same type of laundry to be washed, so people just bung in what they always have. This often wastes electricity, water and detergent, costing you money.
Does it really save anything? Not really, no and it will most probably end up costing you more in running costs.
The other thing that people think when buying these large capacity machines is that they can wash a full size duvet in them. Well our advice has always been and, will always be, to have these sorts of very large items washed professionally and a professional cleaners as, quite simply, you will get a better job done and the money you will save on all that extra detergent you'd use over a year in the large machine will likely more than pay for it!
A 6kg load machine is more than adequate for most people without special needs or bordering on commercial requirements.
If you really feel you need a huge load capacity, we would suggest you look at a commercial machine as that's really what you need, not a domestic one which, if you do that much laundry, you'll break quickly.
Crux Of It
The crux of all these claims is that they are not always what they are made out to be and that advertising authorites do not check the claims it would appear unless a compliant is made. But if people continue to blindly accept what they are being told by these claims then they will continue.
It really is a case of caveat emptor and, if you are prepare to accept these wild claims from an advert don't be too surprised when you learn that the machine you just bought perhaps wasn't quite what you thought..
But then, if you don't ask questions, you only have yourself to blame.