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Horizontal axis washers...  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2005 03:55 am
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gary
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I've read a horizontal axis washer will pay for itself in three years. If true, I'm sure a certain number of loads per week is assumed. Are the savings really that great? I'm considering replacing my Kenmore combo unit with a Duet pair (see Gas vs Electric post) mainly due to the savings I keep reading about. We are a family of four and I do about 10-12 small to medium loads per week. I quit running large loads due to the long dry times.

Gary

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2005 04:32 am
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Pegi
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Sounds like s good plan, have been reading about the savings in water and soap, the Duet is a fine choice also, your Kenmore combo would probabably have been made by Frigidaire.  Gas used to be the choice for savings because gas used to cost so much less than electricity, but I do not know how this will pan out now with natural gas going up 70-90 %, here at least.  But so is electricity going up, 24% here and that is on top of  three increases just this year. You might want to ask some questions in your area to see what the people in the know say.  Whichever you decide the most important thing to remember is the dryer vent has to be clear, short and clear.  And you must use HE detergent in the washer, no more than is recomended....too much soap or the wrong kind will cause all sorts of problems in the washer, blocked venting will cause poor performance in the dryer.  I think you will be pleased with the Duet or LG.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2005 01:38 pm
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wain
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my question would be where is the test / study on the comparison?
and who did it-
I bet the FL use less water but whats the payback?
water here is $40 for 5500 gallons- thats a slow pay back
reduced drying time is also claimed - who has tested that/ other than the manufacturer?

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 Posted: Sat Nov 12th, 2005 04:06 pm
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Personally, I think it's unconscionable to waste water if it's within your reasonable ability to use less, regardless of the cost of water in your area. Many municipalities charge far below market rates for water and this encourages waste which creates greater treatment plant burdens and, ultimately lower water quality and availability for everyone.

Using 56 gallons of water per wash in a top loader vs. 12 gallons of water per wash in a front loader is, in and of itself, compelling enough reason to use only a front loader. People who know this and have it within their economic means to buy a front loader but don't are exactly the type of useless eaters that need to be kicked out of gene pool.

As it turns out, that is only one of many advantages of front loaders. Front loaders use much less electricity, because of much greater mechanical efficiency-- transmissions, like those found in top loaders, are stupidly inefficient mechanisms that are prone to mechanical problems and waste electricity by requiring a bigger motor to do less work.

I could go on about using less detergent, clothes lasting longer, yada-yada, but I think you get the picture.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 02:46 pm
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Fermental
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Nobody seems to make a consumer grade FL that holds up, though. Also, consumers have been conditioned to expect silly, touchpad electronics that cleary don't last in a washing machine environment. In a machine that has several hundred parts, it shouldn't cost the value of the entire machine to replace just one of it's parts. All at once, it seems, appliance companies have conspired to lower quality, increase repair costs and shorten warranties in an effort to rope the consumer into buying a new machine every 5 years.

There are some vintage, high quality TL machines that are in their 3rd decade of service. They use more water, but they also don't find themselves in the landfill after 5 years. I'd say the environmental impact evens itself out.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 03:12 pm
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Trying to help
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Guidelines from the government dictate that a Manufacturing company must provide a certain % of models that meet the Energy Star Rating. Doesn't mean they have to wash well, last or look pretty. Just that they meet the rating. The only way to meet the rating is to have a ELC board to regulate water temps (guideline, not an option) . Tstats and 60/40 or 70/30 Cold to Hot Gallons ratio's do not cut it anymore. Consumer usage has the biggest negative effect on the usage of Front Loaders. The I shouldn't have to use powdered detergent. or I shouldn't have to clean the filter in the front, I spent $800 for this machine is rampant out there. As a tech, I just shake my head and move on. These same people usually have no qualms about using hi octane fuel (The book says so) or the recommended leather cleaner, my salesman said I have to. But point out something like that in the use and care of an appliance and they do not want to adhere or even read it most of the time.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 03:36 pm
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Fermental
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I'm an environmentalist and I believe in efficient appliances, but I think the energy savings argument is sort of a scam. It impacts the environment simply to replace old appliances with new, more efficient ones.

Factory workers have to drive their smelly cars to factories to build the new appliances. Raw materials for the new appliances have to be produced. Diesel-fueled trucks have to transport the appliances to the retail stores. A delivery van burns fossil fuel to deliver the new appliance to the house. The old appliance needs to be disposed of. Environmentally, I believe we lose ground by upgrading old appliances.

Honestly, a good old 70%-30% mixing valve would be an environmenatl improvement.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 04:09 pm
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Trying to help
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Not arguing any of your points. Just pointing out that if the Major manufacturers could still produce the older design units they probably would.. to some extent. I am just pointing out that a lot of the negative publicity the Front loaders get is from the consumers unwillingness to change the way they have washed for years. I have one of the front loaders with the worst public image out there and it is perfect. No odors, no mold. My brothers is one of the best rated. Smells like old sox. and no matter what I tell him, he will continue to use the liquid detergent, full cup (its easier). He tells me he has a lemon because it smells and has had to replace two pumps. (I did one visiting, more change in it then you need to cross the George Washington bridge) but his machine is a lemon. Tell someone they have to change oil every 3000 miles and treat there imported leather seats with sweat from a camel on there new 50k car, no problem. Tell them to clean the "Gack" (professional term used in the industry) in the front filter brushes on there front loader they caused by using 4 times the amount of soap they should use and didn't empty little Jimmy's pockets of his snot tissues and they go on a tirade about how they will not accept having to do this after every other load or so, they just spent 800 dollars on this unit and it's not fair. Can you do any better on the bill, no, OK, can you brake this 100, oh yea, next time you come to my home, can you please use the service entrance and don't park so close to my lexus........all this said, I still have my vintage LAT top loader washer and dryer set in the garage with a tarp on them. It is my version of a 56 Chevy or an old Harley. 1/4 horse motor, straight 50/50 valve and an extra rinse to top it off. Might not ever use it again, but I wont throw it out either.      



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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 04:38 pm
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Fermental
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I hear you. You bring up good points, too. I'm not in the repair biz, so I'm not  qualified to speak about that side of it.

It seems that some of the FL's are just poorly designed. There's no excuse for circuit board failure at 1 to 2 years old. If the manufactures TRUELY believed in their designs, they would offer a no-cost 10 year parts and labor warranty. (We all know that they would go broke if they did offer long term warranties). The older TL designs were a little more abuse proof than the FL's. If you overloaded or over-suds'd a TL, it was no big deal. It seems that oversudsing a FL can be fatal. If I understand it, this is sort of due to cheap tub bearings and the like. Granted, the consumer shouldn't oversuds, but the machines shouldn't be so cheaply designed, either. It'll be a while before I buy a FL. Many folks got sucked into the hype of these things before there was a proven design consumer model available.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 05:27 pm
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Trying to help
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The over-sudsing really produces mold and smells more then bearing problems. The undissolved detergent does build up in the pumps and damages impellers though. As far as buying one, I have used this comparison in homes and on this site. You never buy a first year car. To many unknowns. The same with new design appliances. The look so great an innovative, but they are unproven. I currently own the dreaded Neptune units everyone talks about. Would I have bought one 7 years ago when they first came out. NOPE. But now the design on the new 5500.6500 and 7500 have addressed all the original problems and I own one. The new 9700 design is completely different and in its first year. I'll give it a few more years prior to possibly selling my old set to upgrade. It might be the best thing since sliced bread, and it sure looks good. But I will wait to find out!! 



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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 08:06 pm
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wain
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I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHERE IS A NON INDUSTRY STUDY THAT GIVES THE WATER AND ENERGY (BETTER DEWATERING) SAVINGS

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 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 09:29 pm
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Pegi
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Wain, why not do a Google search and perhaps you can find this information???



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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2005 01:27 am
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Samurai Appliance Repair Man
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Trying to help wrote:
Tell someone they have to change oil every 3000 miles and treat there imported leather seats with sweat from a camel on there new 50k car, no problem. Tell them to clean the "Gack" (professional term used in the industry) in the front filter brushes on there front loader they caused by using 4 times the amount of soap they should use and didn't empty little Jimmy's pockets of his snot tissues and they go on a tirade about how they will not accept having to do this after every other load or so, they just spent 800 dollars on this unit and it's not fair. Can you do any better on the bill, no, OK, can you brake this 100, oh yea, next time you come to my home, can you please use the service entrance and don't park so close to my lexus........

LMAO! You nailed it, TTH! I'm dyin' ovah here! :laughing::rocker:



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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2005 05:20 am
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gary
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Glad to see all the posts. I took a close look at a Duet pair today and it seems it would be a pain to add detergent, bleach, etc if they are stacked. Stacked is how I would prefer to configure them, but it is not a show stopper if I can't. After more research into this model, I'm also a little concerned with all the electronics, notwithstanding the fact that many folks believe them to be very good units. I took another look at the Staber web site, and I think when it comes time to replace my combo unit, I'm going to get the Staber and a Whirlpool dryer.

On the issue of horizontal axis savings... There seems to be a general agreement that they do save money, but how much? The Staber site says a family of three doing 8 loads a week will save about $300 annually. I found a few links about this...

http://eartheasy.com/live_frontloadwash.htm
http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html#frontload
http://www.consciouschoice.com/2000/cc1305/sensible1305b.html
http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/homeandwork/homes/inside/appliances/washers.html
http://www.creativehomemaking.com/articles/050500b.shtml

It seems the $300/year savings is a bit exagerated, but the above links don't take into account savings from detergent either. I guesstimate I'm spending $120/year in detergent costs, so realistically I might expect to save about $150/year in total.

There is also the savings from decreased maintenance that would presumable come with buying a Staber (or Duet).

Love the site. It's good to have this place to come to for appliance questions.

Gary

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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2005 10:08 am
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Budget Appliance Repair
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gary wrote:
I took a close look at a Duet pair today and it seems it would be a pain to add detergent, bleach, etc if they are stacked. Stacked is how I would prefer to configure them, but it is not a show stopper if I can't.

Gary


A pain to add detergent and stuff??? Why?? If you stack a Duet pair, (can they be stacked? Maybe, but I haven't seen a duet pair stacked yet), the washer could only be on the bottom. So, no more difficult to add detergent/bleach/etc. then if it weren't stacked.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2005 03:27 pm
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gary
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Budget Appliance Repair wrote:
gary wrote:
I took a close look at a Duet pair today and it seems it would be a pain to add detergent, bleach, etc if they are stacked. Stacked is how I would prefer to configure them, but it is not a show stopper if I can't.

Gary


A pain to add detergent and stuff??? Why?? If you stack a Duet pair, (can they be stacked? Maybe, but I haven't seen a duet pair stacked yet), the washer could only be on the bottom. So, no more difficult to add detergent/bleach/etc. then if it weren't stacked.


Since you haven't seen a pair stacked I can understand why you don't see a problem. The issue is the dryer overhangs the washer by an amount that would make it a PITA to add bleach, and to a lesser extent soap. While they can be stacked, I don't think the manufacturer really intends them to be operated this way. The drawer where supplies are added is proof IMO.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2005 04:37 am
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If you are going to invest the money in a fl machine then consider a Miele.  They have been making computer controlled washers for almost 30 years.  They are far more superior than any North American or Asian maker.  I have seen many of these units that are 20 years old and still going strong.  The average price for a set is about $3000 Canadian, well worth the money.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2005 05:32 am
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AppGuy
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I have one of those dreaded Neptune washers as well.  The reason I have it is our store refuses to sell them knowing the vast problems they have and the expenses involved in repairing them.  So, why do I keep it?  Well, it does use less water, my electric bill has gone down, my soap usage has gone down, my drying times have gone down (except the pesky maytag dryer that sometimes decides to keep running) and as stated, well it looks pretty dang neat.  Of course every neptune that comes thru I test out, and strip all the good parts off for spares to put in a box at home :P  Would I recomend any common manufacturer mashine that is highly computerized?  Well, that I always inform the consumer that only they can make the descision.  I can only tell them of the advantages and disadvantages of each machine.  For example,  we get alot of the profile GE washers thru our store, and I always warn the consumer, "if you are going to abuse the machine don't buy this one, but if you take care of your machines and don't overwork them then it should last a respectable time" 

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2005 03:43 pm
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dbiberdorf
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There are lots of good points being made here. I'll speak as a current front-loader owner. I've got the LG WM1812CW and its matching dryer. They are stacked at present, although we're considering unstacking them, simply to arrange our laundry room differently. (The LG dryer does not overhang the washer at all. There is full access to the detergent drawer.) I have a family of five, including three young kids. We make a lot of laundry here, doing 1-2 loads per day.

Energy savings and water use:
I agree with the Samurai that, assuming you're buying a washer anyway (or your existing one is quite old), it's really unconscionable to buy a unit that uses more water than it needs to. As he said, water is often sold at less than cost. On top of that, more water use means more infrastructure requirements from your municipality or municipal utility district (or your own well/septic). More water also means more detergent, in order to maintain sufficient concentrations of the cleaning ingredients. All that detergent is discharged in the wastewater.

Front loaders also extract noticeably more water from clothes on the spin cycle. This allows shorter drying times (less electricity and gas usage) in the dryer, or, even better, on a clothesline or drying rack. We dry the majority of our clothes on a drying rack. Even in a humid climate like Houston (where I live), a full washer load dries in six hours inside the house. My electric bill is certainly the better for doing it.

Durability:
Durability of all new appliances is in decline. Samurai has documented this elsewhere on his site. The washer that costs $800 sure sounds like it costs a lot, but it's not much different than paying $400 or $500 a decade ago, in constant dollars. To really compare a top-loader to a front-loader in terms of durability, you should compare machines of recent vintage.

Wear on clothes:
No one really talks about this. Having used a front-loader for 6 years now (first in Germany, then upon my return to the States), I can attest that the front-loader is gentler on clothes, and cleans them better, than any top-loader I've ever used. This means replacing fewer clothes due to pilling, abrasion, and all-around wear. I have hand-me-down play clothes for the kids that are now going on the third or fourth go-round, and they look awesome. I'm an Orthodox priest, and I'm willing to wash my cassocks in my front-loader, knowing that they will be washed VERY gently, while still coming out clean. This saves quite a bit of money compared to taking them to the cleaners, or having to hassle with washing them by hand.

LG:
This thread is about FLs in general. However, I'm very happy with the LG pair I have so far. An under-reviewed aspect of this equation is the dryer. I must say that this LG dryer is simply awesome. Its capacity is huge, and it dries an entire load of towels in 40-45 minutes. I was told by the salesman that LG designed their dryer to have drying times to match or beat the washing time, so that the process doesn't get held up by a slow dryer. That's not a big concern for us, but the dryer is still the nicest one I've ever owned.

Overall, I wouldn't change out a recent vintage top-loader for a front-loader, unless I did a LOT of laundry. But if I'm in the market for a machine, there's no doubt in my mind that the front-loader is the way to go unless you simply can't use one (e.g. frame house or whatever). I was a skeptic before I went to Germany six years ago, but I'm certainly convinced now.

Last edited on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 03:46 pm by dbiberdorf

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2005 04:32 pm
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Pegi
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Dear Fellow Texan in Huston, thanks for the information you posted about the LG washer and dryer.  We do warranty service for LG and think they are fine products, your post will help others when they are deciding on which brand to buy....



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