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How much Juice does an Energy Star Washer draw?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Gooserider, Mar 28, 2008.

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  1. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    I own a Staber. It seems to be doing a great job. I really like the top load and the fact that the tub has two bearing supports instead of one. It seems like a small tub until you load it. They have videos on their web site. And, you can open it up during a wash cycle like a regular top loader.

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  2. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I have run across these before on other forums, but never met anyone with experience. It's basically a home sized version of a commercial "pocket" washer. Anybody else have one?

    Chris
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I own a Whirlpool Energy Star top loading washer and the primary savings are in water usage if I remember correctly.. How it achieves this is by not filling the tub for the rinse cycle but rather it sprays water instead .. I have owned this for about 10 years and never a problem.. The washer also has temp controls for the warm water if you use it and saves energy in that sense however we rarely use hot water for washing..

    Ray
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I have an electric dryer. No gas at my place and even if I did I have a mental issue with a fire in my dryer. Cripes, the electric ones even burn houses down.

    When I replaced my electrical panel my electrician buddy checked each circuit's loading by using his little clamp on amp meter. Seems that circuits are supposed to be 75% utilized so a 20 amp 220 volt circuit should be passing 15 amps or so. The important item is that little amp meter. It was slick as heck and can measure 220 volt current just by putting a clamp around that circuit's hot line. It didn't keep track of KwH but the timer would do that provided that the current remains constant throughout the cycle.

    The washer takes about twice as long as the dryer but the washer spends a lot of time doing the dryer's job by spinning the clothes dry. Lots of time seems to be spent doing things other than tumbling in soapy water. In no case do I see the water level through the glass when clothes are in there. In fact, before using the machine I was directed to run an empty load to clean the sweat shop dust out. The water level only came up about 3 inches into the drum. The washer has a water sensor that automatically fills to that level regardless of wash load size.

    There is one more level of washing schemes and that is the "heavy wash" or high soils wash. It probably just agitates for a longer period but I don't know. 54 minutes seems long enough. I use the "warm" temperature setting and just the HE soap.

    Oh and these things are not any quieter than the old style plus the vibration is heavier with the high speed spin.
  5. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    You can continuously load a breaker at 80% load indefinitely unless they are marked for 100% load which I have never seen. So a 20 amp breaker can go 24/7 at 16 amps. If you load above 80% for an extended period of time it will cause nuisance tripping but no harm will be done..The clamp on ammeter you refer to is known as an Amprobe in the trade and it works similar to a transformer by magnetic field surrounding a single conductor being induced into the Amprobe.. DC Amprobes use what is known as Hall Effect to sense DC amperage which I won't go into here..

    Ray
  6. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Gooserider - Thanks, it helps. I never did get a chance to recheck my machine though, spent my weekend getting my truck on the road.

    Redox - There probably is, but if there is a 50 foot limit then they hit it. The inline booster is working pretty well though. Pretty neat gizmo, has a pressure sensor that turns it on when it detects a high pressure zone on the inlet and turns it off when it detects a vacuum, if dryer off and booster on.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I know my dryer time seems a bit long, but remember that I'm running on medium heat, rather than high, and I set the moisture control to "VERY dry". Our venting is pretty good I replaced it a year or two ago with solid aluminum pipe, and it's a reasonably short run - out the back of the dryer, 90* elbow, up about 5', another 90, and out. I'm also very vague on the time - I hang out in front of the PC in my office, which is on the diagonally opposite corner from the dryer, so I can't usually hear it when it beeps. When I was doing this run, I know that it was still cranking when I checked it at about 50 minutes, but had quit when I checked it at 90...

    (One feature I wish the Kill-A-Watt had, but doesn't seem to, is a "power draw time" - the current timer starts when you plug it in, and just records how much time total has elapsed, which is good for seeing how much power you draw per month or whatever, but isn't so good for determining "cycle time" and power per cycle. What I would like is a timer where you could set a "threshold draw" (to allow for phantom loads) and then have the timer only count the time when the draw was above the threshold... Don't know if there is anything that can do this easily or not, but the unit I have can't.)

    Gooserider
  8. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    YES

    My old GE washer circa 93 washers transmission started to leak gear oil out the lower seal. could of fixed for 89$ but when I disassembled the tub was rotting ala toyota syndrome under the boot. So couldnt get a new tub so went into research mode.

    Visit this forum on appliances, mostly techs who service. In there opinion since they see them day in day out, most new appliances made in the last 5-10 years are junk! So if you have older ones, keep em and fix em. For example the new frontloaders have nice fancy control boards which take a dump. They also have a single bearing on the back of the drum which will fail on most of em within 4 or 5 years and probably cost 4-500$ to fix. Ask all the Neptune owners LOL

    The staber is horizontal axis top loader. Has two bearings to support the drum. no transmission, mechanical controls, one motor control board and can repair from the front. has heavy duty siemens motor and a belt. Built like a tank. Doesnt use much water or detergent.

    I have had mine for year, runs great.

    Go read the appliance samari forum and his pages, very entertaining. Good read, especially the appliance war stories forum

    http://fixitnow.com/

    http://applianceguru.com/

    A tidbit

    http://fixitnow.com/wp/2006/09/14/asko-a-former-asko-customer-says-oh-no/

    another tidbit
    http://fixitnow.com/2005/03/washing-machine-shootout-staber-vs.htm
  9. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Wow! Infomative website. Spent about an hour looking through his FAQ's. He really knows his stuff. I also liked his theory on the half-life of an appliance. Kinda like Click and Clack's theory on car maintenance costs.

    It would seem the few complaints that there are about the Staber stem from the people that don't realise that they are NOT buying a mass market appliance. It really is meant to be serviced by the home handyman, which probably describes about 95% of the members of this forum. It isn't as refined as a Duet, but built to last

    I used to repair home appliances back in the '80s and could probably add some war stories to his site. I also agree with his choices on appliance brands (Whirlpool-GOOD, GE-BAD). Good info for the homeowner smart enough to understand the finer points on appliance repair.

    Thanks for the links!

    Chris
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I agree his site is impressive, but there are other appliance sites that are as good, though without the fun attitude, that DON'T ask you to pay for the priviledge of asking questions or commenting... I agree the Staber does look like a nice machine, but it appears to be at least 50% more $$$ than the average front-load machine that I have seen listed on the net... Seems a bit hard to justify - is it THAT much better?

    While Samurai's reasons for liking the Staber seem fairly legitimate, and agree with the Staber website, I must admit that I tend to take them with a grain of salt seeing as how he is a Staber dealer...

    I'm also getting somewhat doubtful about the economic wisdom of doing the switch at this point in time - Given that we do 95% of our loads in warm or cold water, and have a Natural Gas water heater, we will not see anything close to the energy savings that some are claiming for those people that do a lot of hot loads and have an electric heater. Mr Electricity says here that we seem to be marginal at best, even with a $700 washer replacement.

    If our current washer was dead in an expensive way, it would be one thing, but at this point it doesn't even act "elderly" - and there is something to be said for the fact that older machines seem to be better / more reliably built, and keeping them in service does keep them out of the waste stream.

    What might make more sense for us in terms of payback and energy savings is to get a spin dryer to get more water out of our clothes, without spending a bunch of money - payback on $140 is going to be a lot easier than payback on $12-1600, and that machine will take a bite out of our biggest laundry cost factor - namely the energy consumed in drying.

    Gooserider
  11. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    Actually Samari just gets a small commision if you order one and list him as reference

    The washer is shipped motor freight tax free :)

    If you visit his website the info is free but if you want to participate you contribute to his beer fund. Good deal considering it is one of the best run and organized and he spends a lot of time providing info. Even if you dont join and do a search you will probably find the issue with your appliance since someone else will have already experienced it.

    If anything I have learned from that forum is, if your appliances were made before 95 or so and you bought top of the line, you have good ones worth fixing. Also dont fall into the stupid trap of energy star non-sense. Dont get rid of a working appliance to save 5$ a month on your electric bill, especially if you trade em so to speak for new cheapies. You will be repairing them in a few years or tossing them. Repairing them youself isnt a big deal but paying someone is very expensive. My neighbor has 4 year old Subzero junk he paid top dollar for when he built his house and has had about 700$ worth of repairs on the range/cooktop and his icemaker :) Sister in law has had nothing but problem with the Bosch front load washer which is maybe 3 years old. Has had 1 board out of warranty replaced for about 350$ or something like that. The techs like the middle of the road Whirlpool as best value and avoid all the expensive Viking, Substandard, Bosch junk, way overpriced PITA to fix, poor customer service and difficult to get parts.. They despise new GE since 1996 or so and neutral on most of the others.

    Myself I have a 1999 Jenn air(Maytag) Range and have to replace the thermocouple/sensor for the oven 45$, and the display at 6 yrs old just out of warranty failed to the tune of 260$ fixing it myslef. I have 1993 vintage GE Washer which I just replaced, transmission failed leaking oil, replaced with the staber and I just fixed my 1993 GE drier, needed a element and control. that was 200$ for both and a couple beers :) Guess I got the last of the good GE appliances before Jack Welch turned everything to junk! Also have a Hotpoint fridge circa 93, never a problem with it either. Vacum the coils once a year and good to go. Probably could get an energy star unit to replace it but I bet the new one would last at most 5-10 yrs before it would have issues. Not worth the savings!

    Per your drier, the Staber whips the clothes very dry from its spin cycle so the drier no longer has to run as long and I guess if you do the clothes line, it wouldnt take too long for them to hang to dry.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well all our major appliances are ~15 years old except for our stove - all are working well, and I see no real reason to change any of them from a functional standpoint - they work well and have not needed major repairs.

    The washer is a Maytag, and the Dryer is a Whirlpool, both basic models - simple and seem reliable...

    I just did another time/power check on our dryer - full load, lots of jeans, a big towel, and a denim jacket, medium heat, moisture sensor drying, maximum dryness... 1:08 to the first beep, about 0.3kWh, total run 2:00, and 0.35kWh. At fifteen cents / kWh, that is about five cents a load worth of juice - not a big deal...

    Running the dryer is low cost on electricity, not sure what it does for gas consumption, or how to figure that. However I'm not thinking it's a huge amount, and so it would be hard to justify spending a lot of money to upgrade the washer to reduce drying time.

    The math just doesn't work on the Staber or one of the other frontload washers. It might be better if we got a laundry spinner which wouldn't touch the water consumption, but would supposedly make a big difference in the drying time and energy. Unfortunately, it looks like Laundry Alternatives has had a fairly bad customer service record judging from some of the other sites that I've seen.

    Gooserider
  13. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Kinda sums up the points I have been making all along! It hardly pays to go out and replace an appliance that is still working just to save a few dollars a year on utilities. The issue is probably a little different on the west coast where utilities are more expensive and water is consideraply more precious. Those of us on the east coast have (generally) been spoiled with cheap, plentiful water. Why do we have to put up with 1.6 gal toilets when water is so cheap? It's just better for the environment when you flush away that pint of used beer!

    Natural gas reduces the payback because it is still a relative energy bargain. If you had an all electric house, the situation would be a lot different. The cost per load is probably double or more. If you lived off the grid or had to desalinate all that water, it would be substantial. All is relative.

    I might venture that the Staber is kind of like a certain brand of Italian motorcycle. It's not made for the average Joe, more for the person who can appreciate the difference. I have considered it in the past, but our 20 year old Sears (Whirlpool) washer keeps doing it's impersonation of the Energizer bunny down there, so I leave it alone. Kinda like a Honda, hmmm? Maybe the Staber is more like a Beemer...

    I liked his summary on appliance brands. I know people who have Sub (less than) Zero refrigerators and Thermador or Viking ranges and they pay out the a$$ for repairs. I'll stick with my Whirlpool, thank you very much. Kinda like a Chevy; you can find parts everywhere and they are cheap! There are even third party manufacturers that make aftermarket parts for WP! When all you want is clean clothes, stick with what works.

    Now a little rant about GE. Part of the reason they are still in the appliance business is because of the builder's market. Most new tract housing will be built with GE because they sell the stuff so cheap. After you own the machine, you will pay much more for the parts, rather than replace it. Their stuff isn't that bad, but their support after the sale sucks, kinda like Vermont Castings right now! GE had a huge problem with compressors on their refrigerators a few years back. They were the only manyfacturer that made their own compressor and nothing else would fit. Their icemakers were a known problem, until they started using the Whirlpool icemaker. I could go on, but the lawyers are beginning to circle...

    The European brands in general are like owning a Mercedes. They have that cachet that a lot of people will pay for, but aren't really going to last any longer or work any better. Ditto for Sears; most of their stuff used to be made by Whirlpool, but not any more. BTW, Whirlpool passed Maytag in reliability many years ago, but the myth lives on. I'm not sure how they are going to fare in the future because Whirlpool just bought Maytag. I know this is sounding like an advertisement for them, but if for no other reason than this:

    http://www.whirlpool.com/custserv/habitat.jsp

    73,000 appliances and a commitment to 2011. If you care about corporate responsibility like I do, you can't find a better company, IMHO. I know who will be building my next refrigerator.

    OK; ranting over. Hope I haven't been out of line. No, I don't own any stock or have any interest in the company, other than product ownership. Most of us don't care that much about appliances, anyway.

    I just want clean clothes and cold beer!

    Chris
  14. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Hi Chris,
    I have had tremendous luck with Whirlpool appliances.. My 1st washer ran for 15 years and that is doing laundry for 5 kids! Only one repair for $100.00.. My dryer was a an electric Kenmore and I had to replace the motor 4 times in those years!!! The washer broke down at 15 years and the tub was pretty rusted so I decided to replace them with the largest Whirlpool washer and electric dryer and at the time they had big rebates on the energy star Whirlpool washer so I bought it.. It's been at least 10 years now and no problems with either the washer or dryer and most importantly no motors ever for the dryer! I will not settle for anything less than a Whirlpool again.. I do have a Kenmore dishwasher (it was made by Whirlpool) which was rated #1 by Consumer Reports and it will fall apart before it needs a part.. My Maytag stove had several service calls under warranty but otherwise OK, I should have bought a Whirlpool lol... My Maytag fridge has been OK so no complaints there.. Appliances are boring f iyou ask me until they break !! I'm with you let's have a beer and discuss this :)

    Ray
  15. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Since natural gas is a limited use item (very few items in the home use it), turn the heater off and turn the hot water tank down to 100, then take a meter read and run the dryer. Note the reading when clothes are dry and put the water heater temp back up. Provided nobody uses any hot water while the dryer is going, it should not come on for the hour or so you need.

    I do think that the fridge is an appliance worth replacing for power savings, I know my circa 1994 Maytag fridge uses 2.5KWH/day, which works out to 912KWH/year. The same size in an Energy Star is supposed to use less than half of this.
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Good idea on figuring out the dryer consumption! The only question I would have is whether or not the meter would be sensitive enough to show a difference after just one or two loads - we are only doing 15-40 therms/month for everything, so the dryer can't be a huge part of that, and I think the meter only reads down to entire therms - will have to give it a try and see though. (It may be a while - I'm going to be out of town for several weeks starting next week...)

    Gooserider
  17. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I doubt you are going to be able to see enough resolution on a gas meter unless you run multiple loads. The average gas dryer burns 20-30000 btu/hr and isn't going to tick over a digital meter. If you really wanted to know, you could wire an analog clock (remember those?) across the gas burner and time the run. The burner on most dryers runs on 120 vac. On the Whirlpools, the wires come down to a connector right next to the gas valve. If I were going to do this, I would cut the plug off an old extension cord and splice into the burner with a couple of wire nuts. Plug the clock in to the extension cord, reset to 12:00 and fire away! Check the rating plate for the burn rate (usually on the door jamb), divide by 60 and multiply by the run time you measure with the clock to get BTUs. This isn't gnat's ass accurate as the ignitor takes a few seconds each cycle to fire the burner and the burner may not be adjusted perfectly, but will be accurate enough for comparison. This is what I would do. I don't recommend trying this as you will be voiding the UL listing and the code police may show up at your door as soon as you read this post, but it will work. YMMV, caveat emptor, and all the associated legal disclaimers apply. If something happens, you don't know me...
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Actually I was looking at my meter yesterday while thinking of this conversation - it might actually show something, in addition to the digital readout in CCF's (using mechanical odometer style rolling number wheels) it also had two analog dials on it, one appeared to be calibrated at 0.2 cubic feet / div, and the other at 2 cubic feet / div. I would think those ought to show something useful, if not I'd be surprised, and prepared to call the gas consumption negligible - even at $1.728/therm, less than 0.002 therms would be under three tenths of a cent per load...

    Will try this the next time we do a load...

    Gooserider
  19. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Did a quick search, looks like the Japanese are also interested in it. Has some average expected use values inside the article.

    One other thing to consider about the Energy Star washers that hasn't been mentioned, is the amount of clothing per load. The ones I've looked at are supposed to be able to was 10-12 pairs of jeans or 17-18 full size bath towels in one load. My current pre-Energy Star models can only handle 6-8 full size towels or 3-4 pairs of jeans at once. With the jeans I have to put in 3-4 pairs, then other lighter stuff for a full load as the weight of filling it with just jeans would rip it apart. So, you would also do fewer loads for a given amount of laundry.
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Nice article, sounds like a useful technique for a study, though not as directly useful for a homeowner trying to figure a particular appliance out. Good idea though for sure.

    Depends on the way you do laundry...

    I do the typical "bachelor bundle" where I don't sort, everything I take off goes in the same dirty laundry pile, which I periodically shovel into the washer, etc. (I deliberately avoid purchasing whilte clothing, and require that all my clothing purchases be "Machine wash warm / tumble dry" capable) My standard laundry cycle is 2-3 full loads, so a larger capacity washer would cut down on my number of washer loads, However the dryer would then become a bottleneck, as I don't think our dryer could reasonably handle much more than one full load in our current washer w/o overloading. That each dryer load ran faster would still not make it less of a pain to have to run two dryer loads for each washer full.

    OTOH, (and I've asked the GF about this so it's a "definitive answer" for our house) the GF sorts into different color loads, and while she generally washes full loads with the current machine she is very emphatic that a larger capacity machine would NOT reduce the number of loads that she runs...

    I've also talked to her about the laundry spinner idea, and she wasn't exactly thrilled... The idea of adding an extra handling step to her wash did not appeal.

    Gooserider
  21. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Gas fired rice cookers? Sign me up! Never thought we would get to 4 pages talking about laundry, though.

    Our gas consumption averages about 1/2 therm a day for everything (range, dryer, DHW, BBQ) unless the furnace kicks on. Then, it burns 1/2 therm an hour, or more. We are paying about $1.25/ therm delivered right now. After tax and tags, fees and fines, the gas portion of our bill works out to about $50/month. This isn't bad for a family of four. I'd hate to think what this would cost with electric resistance. Gas is too valuable to burn in a furnace, thus the reason for the Quad.

    I have been considering a compressor for the CNG cars, though...

    Chris
  22. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Heh heh... I understand Goose. All I can say is, the matching dryer would accept and dry the load the washer can handle, and when living with a girlfriend eventually kids come along unless surgical intervention takes place. I'm a family man now because of multiple antipregnancy methods failed at the same time, the only thing that put a positive stop to it was snip snip sizzle sizzle. Course, one kid plans to move out this year and the other probably won't be far behind. But I digress. With kids, suddenly laundry becomes a daily ordeal just to keep up. A super large washer and dryer would at least help with that. Any given day I can come up with three loads of laundry to do, with strict separation into whites, reds, light colors, dark colors, and towels (which get a double wash in hot). If we had one of those Kenmore Duet jobs that can take ginormous loads, then I'd be looking at far fewer loads. Guess since I've been a family man for so long now, I only consider things in those terms and forget that other people don't have the same loads to get through that we do. We do two loads a day, every day, except weekends when we play catchup.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The horizontal jobs are pretty deceiving when you load them. Without that agitator in the middle you can pretty much load them full but not "tight" as the directions point out. So a 3 CF horizontal washer might be a different beast than a 3CF vertical. With all of these loads per day and the greatly reduced water consumption per load it should be pointed out that your septic system will be seeing significantly less influent. I have an old home with an old septic system that is working as far as I can tell. Sending less liquid out to that system can only help it.

    My mother told me a long time ago that nobody gets pregnant on accident.
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Actually it's looking more like we need the medical intervention to make the kids SHOW UP... We've been actively trying for several years now, and no luck yet - of course both of us are well past the "ideal ages" Granted the practice is fun, but I'd like to see more results... If and when, I agree that different laundry equipment might be in order, but until then what we have works pretty well.

    (BTW, short of radical methods, not much is guaranteed, I remember hearing a while back about a couple on second marriage for each, each had gotten knots in the plumbing after having had "enough" w/ previous spouses, guess what happened?)

    Gooserider
  25. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Aw, jeez, Goose; more than we wanted to know! Practice makes perfect, so get practicing. For us, it was like "accidentally" falling off a log! :cheese:

    My understanding on the front loaders is that you really can't overload them; if you can still get the door closed, it's not overloaded. The clothes will tend to pack down when they hit the water, but this is not a bad thing. Toploaders need room to circulate the clothes down to the agitator as that is where the washing is actually happening. Front loaders tumble the entire load at once and wash better than an agitator and are easier on the clothes (they will last longer).

    Commercial washers are rated in pounds as it is hard to fake a scale. I think the standard homeowner machines were 14-15 pounds and the super capacity machines were 18 -22 pounds. This cubic feet thing is misleading kinda like horsepower on a vacuum.

    I am making room for a washer and dryer upstairs when I redo the master bathroom. Wife likes the idea of not having to go down 2 flights of steps with the laundry. Might have to "instrument" a pair to measure energy consumption...

    Telco, what are you doing with the towels that you need to wash them twice in hot water? This sounds a little excessive to me.

    Chris
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