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Conservation: WashWise FAQ


Are all WashWise qualifying washers tumble action?
No, most of the qualifying machines use a tumble action cleaning process but Whirlpool Leaving City of Seattle public network recently introduced a qualifying, toploading design. The Whirlpool Resource Saver uses an agitator and a deep water wash. It also employs a fresh water spray rinse rather than the conventional deep water rinse.

Aren’t these frontloaders you’re pushing just like the ones that went off the market in the 60’s?
Not exactly. While it’s true that the basic technology of tumble action machines have been around for a long time, these new generation machines have greatly improved on the design you may remember from thirty years ago. In fact, they represent a marked improvement on some designs on the market just a couple of years ago. These improvements have made for greater reliability, stability and cleaning performance while actually improving resource efficiency.

How reliable are these machines?
The European made machines have been manufactured for decades and have good track records. The U.S. made machines are all relatively recent entries into the market place but have been put through rigorous testing prior to their introduction. In addition, the new U.S. made machines come with longer than normal warranties to reassure buyers.

On the downside, the European machines hold a very small portion of the market so if the machine breaks down, immediate repair may not be possible, especially if such repair requires an odd replacement part. As for the U.S. machines, they are as yet too new to have much of a repair history.

In a tumble action machine, is there a chance of water leaking through the door?
Not really. When the drum is at rest, the level of the water is below the bottom of the access door. The purpose of the gasket in the door is to keep water that splashes around during the washing cycle from splashing out; it does not have to hold back standing water.

Can I add clothes to the wash after I begin the cycle?
Yes. However, you will have to stop the machine and wait until the drum stops turning before you open the door to add a garment. Remember that when the machine is at rest the level of the water in the drum will be below the bottom of the door opening, so, when you open the machine, water will not come spilling out. Yes, it’s easier to add clothes to an agitator type washer but the advantages of the tumble action design far outweigh that benefit.

I hear these tumble action machines take a longer time to wash clothes. Is this true?
In general yes, but, in the case of the U.S. made machines, we’re only talking about a few minutes. However, if you take into account the whole laundry cycle including drying time, the lower Remaining Moisture Content (RMC) of the finished wash makes for much shorter drying times, and the total time for the complete cycle is less than before. Anyone who has to wash several loads of laundry in succession using an agitator type washer knows that they spend lots of time waiting for the dryer to complete its work on the previous load. If you replace only your washer and not your dryer, chance are the dryer will never again hold up your washing process.

As for the European made machines, they typically have a washing cycle of an hour but yield finished loads with very low RMC. Total time for washing and drying a load will probably be comparable.

I hear that the European machines are very small. Will they give me enough washing capacity?
That depends on how much laundry you actually do. If you do a lot of laundry, the smaller European machines may not suit your needs. This is probably most true for folks with families of four or more members. Smaller family groups may find that the European machines have adequate capacity. Even though they look quite small, they hold and effectively wash a surprising volume of clothing. Studies show that the average size load in both the United States and Europe is seven pounds. The European machines will comfortably handle that average load and more. They will even handle some bulky items like blankets and sleeping bags.

Remember that fully loaded washers wash better than partially loaded units and give full value for their efficiency potential.

Do all frontloaders qualify for WashWise?
No. WashWise qualifying machines must meet the minimum efficiency level set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). The machines must be tested by a reputable laboratory under a specific set of conditions and satisfy an exact standard for energy and water efficiency. Some frontloaders can’t meet the minimum standard. By the way, we try to refer to these machines as tumble action instead of frontloaders because one of the qualifying machines loads from the top.

How much does a WashWise qualified clothes washer cost?

Are there rebates available to Seattle City Light customers?

Which machines qualify for the WashWise program?

Where can I buy a WashWise qualified clothes washer?



Yen Chin, Appliances, LaundryWise and WashWise For more information from Seattle City Light on WashWise, please e-mail SCLEnergyAdvisor@seattle.gov or call 206.684.3800.

For detailed information about claiming a WashWise rebate or to check on the status of your rebate, please email washwiserebate@peci.org or call 1.866.632.4636.


Residential Conservation Programs & Services | LaundryWise | WashWise

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