Choosing Washing Machines: Front Load
Everyone has to do laundry, but not everyone knows that the type of machine you wash your clothes in can make a big difference to your energy and water bills. There are two types of washers on the market these days: top-load and front-load. Until recently, top-load machines were the most popular choice for homeowners, while front-load machines were mostly found in laundromats and commercial washing facilities. These days, however, front-load washers are quickly becoming a better option for those concerned with energy and water conservation. Read on to see if a front-load washer is the right choice for you.
How Does a Front-Load Washing Machine Work?
A front-load washing machine functions similar to the way a dryer works. It spins clothes up and around based on momentum, instead of relying on an agitator in the middle. When you open the door on a front-load washing machine, you put your clothes inside what is called the drum. When you start the washing cycle, the bottom of the drum fills up with water and then it starts to spin. The soapy water stays on the bottom as the clothes are washed and then tossed up to the top of the drum. There, they are sprayed with clean water and then they go back down for another dunk into the soapy water. This is repeated until the clothes are clean. Then, the soapy water is drained from the drum while the clothes spin a while longer to drain any excess water caught in the fabric.
Benefits of a Front-Load vs. Top-Load
- A front-load washing machine only requires one-third of the water that a top-load machine uses.
- You can fit more clothes in a front-load machine since there is no agitator taking up space in the middle like with a top-load machine.
- Your clothes will last longer when being washed in a front-load machine without an agitator that adds wear and tear to clothes washed in a top-load machine.
- The spin mechanism on a front-load machine can reach up to 1,000 rpm, which can remove a lot more water from your clothes at the end of the wash cycle in comparison with the average 650 rpm that a top-load washer reaches. This results in a shorter drying time for wet clothes.
- You can save floor space by stacking a dryer on top of a front-load washing machine. This is impossible to do with a top-load washer.
Downside of a Front-Load vs. Top-Load
- The major downside of front-load washing machines is that they are more expensive than top-load washers. A good, new top-load machine will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $400, while a good new front-load washing machine can be twice that amount or more.
- A front-load machine can be difficult to use for people with knee or back problems, since you are required to bend down or kneel to load and unload the machine.
- Most front-load machines don’t allow you the luxury of tossing in a forgotten piece of laundry once you have already started the cycle. The door locks and anything left out will have to wait for the next load.
The low energy and water usage benefits of a front-load washer are the main selling points for this type of washing machine. The extra money required for the initial purchase of a front-load washing machine will definitely be made up over time as your energy and water bills come down, but the choice is up to you, as the consumer.
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