Buying a washing machine is a big investment, akin to buying a large appliance such as a refrigerator or cooking range. Therefore all aspects concerned with this purchase must be carefully evaluated. Here is a quick washing machine buying guide.
Types of Washing Machines
The two most common types of washing machines are top-loading and front-loading. The top-loading variety is quite difficult to find these days as most people prefer front loaders. Top loaders are narrower and require less space. They have a lid on the upper surface through which the clothes are put in and taken out. Top-loaders cannot be used as integrated washing machines as they cannot have any cabinets or shelving above them because of the way they open. Front-loading washing machines are practical and popular. They can work as standalone or integrated versions.
An important factor in deciding on the kind of washing machine is knowing how much space is available to house it. There should be at least 2 feet of space between the machine and any wall near it. For a smaller space, a built-in washer and dryer combination would work well.
The size of a washing machine is calculated based on the size of its drum. This usually varies between 5kgs and 12kgs with the average being around 7kgs. A good rule is to buy a washing machine with a drum that will not be difficult to fill i.e. it is better to err on the side of caution and buy a smaller drum. The obvious exception to this rule would be large families or families with many children under 10 years of age, who require many changes of clothing throughout the day.
Drum sizes are decided based on the number of kilos of dry clothes that can be put into the drum. For example, a 5 kg drum will be able to contain 16 men’s dry cotton shirts. One large bath towel and three hand towels would amount to one kilo of clothing. For the best wash, the drum must never be filled to capacity, nor should it be at the other extreme and have very few clothes for a wash load. Filling it to about 80% of its maximum capacity allows water and detergent to move and mix well and reach all the clothes.
The spin refers to the speed at which the clothes rotate in the spin cycle. It is this cycle that removes the maximum amount of water from the washed clothes. Washing machines have spin speeds that range from 1000 rpm to 1800 rpm. The faster spin speed machines tend to be more expensive, less energy efficient and noisier. Even an average spin speed can remove most of the water and reduce the time required in the dryer or on the clothesline.
Washing machines manufactured after December 2013 carry an energy efficiency rating of A+. Energy efficiency is measured based on how much water and electricity is used for one washing load. Machines that use less of these resources are less expensive and more environmentally friendly. According to the experts, a machine that requires less than 7.5 litres of water for every kg of clothes is very efficient with regard to water consumption.
Most washing machines these days come equipped with a host of additional niche specifications. Most of these add to the cost of the machine and are rarely used. However, some of them are quite useful depending on the specific need. Most specifications have to do with different settings for fibre, spin-rate and washing temperature. Other useful settings include quick wash, baby wash, hand wash, minimum iron wash and child safety features such as locks.
And remember, the better you treat your washing machine the longer you will go without the need to repair it. But, should you need a washing machine repair, always contact a licensed repair company, to be sure your washing machine is in good hands and will serve you for years to come.