There are variations in clothes washers, but all are basically big tubs that fill with water, agitate to scrub clothes, and then spin to wring out the water. Of course, in addition to these basic functions, they may have any number of sophisticated features. Most types also incorporate an electronic timer and controls.
Because a washing machine is a large consumer of both energy and water, the key to selecting the right one is to purchase the most energy-efficient model that fits your lifestyle and space and to always use the right amount of detergent for the washer and your Toronto water hardness.
In terms of lifestyle, think about how often you use the washer and what you wash. If you wash often, you will get the best performance from a stainless-steel tub. Those who wash less frequently will probably do fine with porcelain-coated steel or high-grade plastic.
If your wash includes a variety of fabrics and levels of dirtiness, choose a machine that offers specialty cycles such as delicate and extra soak, as well as one for a second rinse. Multiple water-level settings ensure the most efficient wash for loads of different sizes. Some machines can boost water temperature to sanitize a load.
For those with limited space in their Toronto homes, there are stacking washer-dryer units in either full-size or apartment-size capacities. Remember that the size of your washer should match your dryer’s capacity.
Other items to consider are automatic temperature regulators (a must in cold climates, they ensure that wash water comes in at a constant temperature for the setting) plus additional insulation and reinforced frames, both of which reduce noise.
When buying a new washer, pay careful attention to the warranty. Be clear about both the term and the extent of the coverage. Also be aware that some washing machines are much easier to work on than others. Some new types have a cabinet that is easy to detach and lift off for easy access to the parts.
There are two styles of washer: top-load, which is the most common, and front-load, which provides the greatest energy efficiency.
A top-loading machine, also known as a V-axis because the agitator turns on a vertical axis, allows you to access the wash tub without bending. While a top loader costs less initially, it is less energy efficient in the long run. It uses regular detergent and offers the greatest selection of models and options.
A front-loading machine, called an H-axis because its agitator turns on a horizontal axis, is gaining in popularity because of its energy efficiency. This type uses from one-third to one-half the amount of water of a top loader, which also means that much less heating. And, because it spins faster, clothes come out needing less time in the dryer. Although they save on energy costs, front loaders are more expensive at purchase, and some require a special detergent.
Your Toronto plumber can inform you as to what is available and which is most suited to your needs. Once you have reached a decision, your plumber can also take care of the plumbing installation should you need assistance.
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