November 22, 2014

Laundry is Moving Up

The next generation of laundry has arrived and the status quo is getting a much-needed makeover. New washer and dryer technologies and innovations in detergents and clothing care save time and energy, making laundry feel like less of a chore.

Everything in its place

Laundry rooms used to be relegated to the basement, but more people are finding space for washers and dryers in convenient areas of the house like upstairs near bedrooms. Experts say installing a “laundry nook” is not only a good investment and can raise the value of your home, but it can make hauling baskets of clothing up and down flights of stairs a thing of the past.

The closer the washer and dryer are to living spaces the more important it is for them to be quiet. “Look for machines with new technologies that reduce vibration for nearly noiseless laundry sessions,” says home design expert Doug Wilson. “If your washer and dryer are out in the open, look for colorful and sleek models that can stand out stylishly on their own. New models are available in a variety of designer finishes such as wild cherry red, Riviera blue and even colors that give the look of stainless steel without the stainless steel price tag.”

Near the laundry area or on the go, make sure to keep the latest stain removal products handy. Treating a stain as soon as it happens can help to ensure your clothing won’t be ruined and prevent the need for multiple washings to remove the stain. Oxygen-based stain removers are gentle, nontoxic and effective on nearly every stain and most types of fabrics. And portable stain-erasing pens and wipes are handy for treating stains no matter where you are.

Get the most out of your wash and save energy

Until now, washers only used one washing motion — tumbling — to clean clothes. Select washers from LG now feature technology that provides a new way to care for your clothes with four new washing motions — rolling, stepping, swinging and scrubbing.Cold care, heavy duty and enhanced hand-wash cycles use a combination of these motions to gently and effectively clean clothes. For example, the cold care cycle uses cold water in combination with these motions to clean clothes as effectively as the normal cycle that uses hot water, but with an energy savings of more than 60 percent.

Look for the ENERGY STAR label on washing machines, and you can cut your water costs by up to 50 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. There are also machines that automatically adjust the water temperature and the amount of water used for each load to prevent excess and waste. Detergent designed for use in cold water helps to save energy by effectively cleaning clothes without hot water.

Another trend in laundry is the use of steam for greater energy and water efficiency. Steam washers and dryers also offer enhanced clothing care options such as short, steam-only cycles that help to reduce wrinkles and remove odors from clothing with using water and detergent (and can help cut down on trips to the dry cleaner in the process, helping to save money in addition to energy).

Stay healthy

With 70 percent of U.S. households affected by asthma or allergies, LG’s SteamWasher with Allergiene cycle gently and effectively reduces allergens, including common triggers — like dust mites and pet dander — on fabrics by more than 95 percent, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“Now there’s a washing machine that is so effective at reducing common household allergens, the LG SteamWasher, that we are able to certify it ‘asthma and allergy friendly,’” says Mike Tringale, director of external affairs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Repairing a Whirlpool Washing Machine -Video

Sometimes the hardest part of repairing an appliance, is knowing how to get the machine apart so that you can get in and get to work. A professional has seen a washing machine disassembled enough times to know when to push and when to pull. Here’s a great little video with instructions on how to take apart a Whirlpool Washing Machine to make repairs yourself.

New From Haier: Stackable Washer and Dryer

For those folks short on space and loaded with laundry, Haier has introduced a washer dryer pair with the option to stack. 
The standard 24-in wide by 24-in deep  HBF1055TVE washer offers a 1000 rpm spin speed and can be stacked with the HDY6-1 electric dryer to create one unit that can be stacked in a closet or placed separately side by side.
The washer has a 1.8-cubic-ft stainless-steel drum, auto select wash/rinse temperature and 12 fabric-care wash cycles that include such traditional front load options as soak, extra rinse, four-spin speed and spin only. The dryer has a 3.5-cubic-foot stainless-steel drum, dual temperature settings, dry-time selector and temperature sensor drying.

This convenience costs about the same as a standard washer/dryer, retailing for $1,099.  So you don’t have to be as loaded with money as you are with laundry.

Tops in Customer Satisfaction

According to a new study by J.D.Powers and associates, Customer satisfaction was highest among owners of LG and Samsung washer and dryers than other brands.

This is LG’s third consecutive year in the firm’s 2008 Laundry Appliances Study, while Samsung ranked highest among all clothes dryer manufacturers.

The study measured customer satisfaction with washers and dryers based on performance in six factors: ease of use; features (such as the number of settings available and appliance capacity); performance (including energy efficiency, noise level and how well the appliance functions); styling and feel; warranty; and value.

According to Twice.com, LG achieved a score of 831 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in four of six factors: performance, features, ease of use, and styling. Following closely in the washer rankings with a score of 829 was Samsung, which performed consistently well across all factors. Sears’ Kenmore Elite brand ranked third with a score of 819, performing well in the ease of use and features factors.

Samsung scored highest in customer satisfaction with clothes dryers (833), performing particularly well in the performance and warranty factors. LG followed Samsung in the rankings with a score of 829, scoring high in ease of use, styling and feel, and features. Kenmore Elite followed with a score of 815.

The study found that while effective cleaning or drying performance is the most important driver of overall satisfaction, energy efficiency is also critical to the majority of consumers (see story above). Laundry appliance owners also cited capacity and price as the two most important considerations in selecting a washer or dryer, J.D. Power reported.

Electrolux to Give Portion of Profits to Cancer Research

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and to help raise awareness, Electrolux, leading is teaming up with Kelly Ripa to launch its premium laundry collection in North America. At the centerpiece of the new collection is a front-loading washer and dryer in “Turquoise Sky,” inspired by the brightly-hued ribbon that is the nationally recognized symbol in the fight against ovarian cancer.

During September, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Electrolux Turquoise Sky Washers and Dryers will benefit The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to remind people that we need to raise funds to help find a method of early detection for ovarian cancer. It’s a deadly disease that affects thousands of women and their families each year,” notes Ripa. “That’s why I am so grateful to Electrolux for stepping up once again to help me raise money and awareness to help support this important cause.”

“Electrolux is proud to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and its efforts to fund the research that will eradicate this deadly disease; that’s why we’re donating $200 to the OCRF for each Turquoise Sky Washer and Dryer pair purchased as part of our commitment to raise more than $500,000 to help fight ovarian cancer over the next two years,” said Electrolux Major Appliances President and CEO, North America, Keith McLoughlin.

For more information, visit www.electroluxappliances.com or check out the new laundry line at select independent appliance dealers Best Buy, Lowe’s and Sears.

Miele Earns Robb Report “Best of Best” for Washer

German appliance manufacturer Miele reports that their super large capacity Honeycomb Care™ laundry system has been awarded the top honor in the Robb Report’s “Best of the Best” issue featuring the “Best” products for affluent lifestyles.

The Robb Report “Best of the Best” issue is currently in its 20th year of compiling the finest examples of technology, exclusivity and overall quality in the luxury market. “Miele has always been known for its top-of-the-line washers and dryers, but because the products are geared to a mostly European audience, they traditionally have been sized for smaller loads,” said Bruce Wallin, Editorial Director, Robb Report. “The new Miele appliances represent a rare breed that combines the best of both worlds: large-capacity washers and dryers that are gentle on your clothes.”

From Miele directly:

The Miele Honeycomb Care™ laundry collection easily and safely launders a wide range of clothing including woolens, silks and other delicate fabrics once washed by hand or sent to a dry cleaner. MasterCare™ technology, available on the top-of-the-line W 4840 model, adds an enhanced program selection to optimize the care and cleaning of outerwear, comforters, dress shirts and much more. Consumers no longer have to know the temperature or spin speed – Miele’s Honeycomb Care™ laundry is programmed by clothing type – so a user selects the type and the machine already knows how to effectively clean them.

Miele has achieved more than 10 patents for the Honeycomb Care™ system’s technological advancements – increasing its longevity, cleaning performance, energy savings and quiet, stable operation. A few of these patented features include: the Honeycomb Drum™ that is proven to extend the life of clothing four times longer than other washers; a new aerodynamic lint filter on the super large capacity dryer that reduces the total dry time by keeping a continuous airflow; and, the optional appliance stand / storage drawer with a patented shelf for setting laundry baskets at the perfect height for sorting and folding.

How to Save Money Buying a New Appliance

Buying a new appliance is expensive and everyone wants to get a good value for their money.  Sometimes getting less can be more.  According to Consumer Reports, some of the extra features offered on new washers and dishwashers are not needed and just add unnecessarily to the final cost.

Take new dishwasher cycles with names like “turbo zone” and “power scour.” For those, special nozzles are placed in the back of the dishwasher to take care of tough jobs.

Although those cycles do a good job, Consumer Reports testers say they are not essential.

“We find many dishwashers, using just the regular setting, do a great job cleaning our very tough challenge: baked-on brownie mix,” Consumer Reports tester Kim Kleman said.

You can also save by skipping the often-pricier stainless steel tubs and get a plastic tub in your dishwasher.

“People love the stainless steel look, but how many people are looking inside your dishwasher?” Kleman said. “The plastic tub should hold up just fine.”

Many washing-machine models come loaded with lots of extra features – such as cycles made specifically for bedding, active wear and sanitizing. Consumer Reports, though, says you should take a pass on those options.

“Stick with the regular heavy-duty, normal, delicate and white cycles. That’s all you really need,” Kleman said.

As for dryers, don’t be wowed by claims like extra-large capacity, super capacity and king-sized capacity.

“We find most dryers hold plenty, whether it says super capacity or not,” Kleman said.

Although matching washer-dryer sets look nice, they can cost more.

If you’re buying them at the same time, Consumer Reports recommends getting the best-performing, most efficient washer – one that extracts the most water from clothes.

Among dryers, get the one that has a moisture sensor.

Consumer Reports ranked its Best Buys among dishwashers, washers and dryers:

  • Dishwasher: Sears’ Kenmore 1374 for $650.
  • Washer: Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940F for $650.
  • Dryers: GE DBVH512EF[WW] for $650; GE DPSE810EG[WT] for $500.

Keep to this strategy: Don’t pay for features you don’t need.

Basic Appliance Care and Safety

If you are lucky, you rarely need to pay much attention to the appliances that run, some of them 24 hours a day, in your home. But to keep everything trouble free, it’s good to follow some basic guidelines for care and safety when using or installing appliances in your home. Handymanclub.com offers some simples steps for use with your washer, dryer, refrigerator, ranges, cooktops, even your water heater.

Ventilation and combustion (dryers, water heaters, ranges and cooktops)
• Clean the clothes dryer’s lint filter before or after each load. Check behind the dryer for trapped lint. Clear lint from the exterior vent often. Lint buildup results in inefficiency and excessive wear and can even pose a fire hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 15,500 fires each year are associated with clothes dryers.
• Use only metal ducting for gas dryers because they run hotter than electric machines. Rigid rather than accordion-pleated ducting is best for airflow.
• Never vent clothes dryers or water heaters into the house to supplement heating.

Plumbing (washers, refrigerators and water heaters)
• To prevent leaky or bursting waterlines, check washing machine hoses for signs of wear. Consider replacing rubber hoses with newer braided stainless steel hoses.
• Check the screens at either end of the water hoses and remove sediment that may have collected there. This is especially important after road construction or water-main work has been done in your area.
• Periodically check that the washing machine is soundly footed and level so the hoses and the drain hose do not come loose.
• If a dishwasher’s tub doesn’t empty after operation, detach the drain line from the household drain and clean any debris from the line.

Gas (dryers, ranges and water heaters)
• Never use an oven as a room heater — combustion pollutants resulting from fuel-burning appliances can cause illness or death. Have gas appliances serviced periodically to ensure they burn with the proper mix of air and fuel.
• Be sure all vented appliances are checked for backdrafting. (This is one reason that it’s important for a city building official to inspect newly installed vented appliances.)

Electric
• Diehard DIYers may bristle at this warning from the CPSC — nonetheless, it’s a lifesaver. Never attempt to repair a microwave oven — because they use high-voltage power, they can pose a risk of electrical shock even after they are disconnected from the power source.
• Use dedicated circuits for large appliances such as washers and dryers.
• Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces.