Washing Machines are changing fast. Gone are the days of the "thumper" machine that shook the house during the spin cycle.
Todays washing machines are quiet, efficient and are attractive marvels of technology.
More and more, home owners are switching to front loading machines beacuse of their energy and water efficiency. Advances in design mean that the new washing machines use one third as much water per load than top loading machines.
All washing machines use a combination of mechanical energy, thermal energy and chemical energy along with water to clean your clothes.
Top loader and front loader washing machine comparison
Both types of washing machine have their pros and cons. Here is a comparison of top loaders versus side loader washing machines.
Believe it or not, the front loading washer is a simpler design than the top loader. The top loader however uses more water as the clothing are suspended in the water, moving up and down within the tub moved about by the agitator.
Side loaders use less water, therfore need less energy to warm the water and use less laundry detergent for the same cleaning action. The tub has paddles that lift the clothing up, where gravity comes into play folding the clothes over and allowing them to fall back into the water at the bottom of the tub.
Top loaders are mechanically more complex as they have a gearbox, a clutch and crank. They however have the benefit of using gravity to keep the water in the tub due to their upright position.
Front loaders on the other hand have to rely on a special seal to keep the water in. Further more, a rubber membrane known as a bellows keeps clothing from moving into the space between the preforated tub where your clothes are and the outer (water holding) tub. Both top loaders and front loaders share this design of an inner preforated tub and an outer water holding tub.
This drawback of front loaders is being mitigated by the fact that manufacturers are figuring out how to make washers use less water, meaning that the water level might be below that of the glass door. For those of us who use front loaders, the front glass door is a feature that we would not want to live without. Front loaders in Europe were manufactured without the window door, but are rare now. Users of these machines often could not see if an article of clothing had become stuck between the tub and the door, often leading to tearing of the clothes.
Another advance in washing machine technology is the progression from mechanical timing mechanism using clocks, gears and cams to electronic timers to micro-controllers, essentially resulting in smart computerized washers.
These modern machines have a far finer controll of the clothes washing cycle, leading to cleaner clothes in a shorter time period, using less water, energy and detergent.
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