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HELP!! --New "High Efficiency" Washing Machine

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Posted (edited)

Okay, so my old traditional Kenmore washer died after 10 years of faithful service. and no repairs, ever....RIP Kenmore....I miss you so much.

My son took me to pick out a new one...It seems all they had available were these HE (high-efficiency) washers....Different brands, but all were "high-efficiency".....We picked out an Amana top-loading machine that has an agitator......Apparently you have to use special "high-efficiency" soap in these machines, but that's not a big deal. 

The HE machines are complicated for me at least, I was used to the old-school ones.......In the new HE washers, there are really only 2 options for water depth.......You have to select "auto-sense" or either "deep water wash"........The auto-sense option is supposed to sense the amount of clothes you have in there, and only dispense just enough water to wash the load..........The deep water wash option fills the machine all the way to maximum water level.

First, we tried the auto-sense wash option......This option puts only a very small amount of water in the machine....It wasn't even enough to cover the clothes we put in!!.....We did read the manual carefully before using....You only need a small amount of "high-efficiency" soap.

Second, the machine took an hour to do one load of wash..!!........How is that considered "high-efficiency"?....My old machine only took about 20-25 minutes to wash a load.

Third, the top layer of clothes was not even completely wet when the load was done!!....How is that going to get clothes clean?

I read some things online about these machines.....And a lot of people said they only used the "deep water wash" option, because that was the only choice that got their clothes clean.....So, the auto-sense option is basically crap, in my opinion.

We did wash the load over again using the deep water option, and the clothes came out clean this time, but the deep water option takes even longer to finish a load, about an hour and 20 minutes..!!

How can they call these machines "efficient"??.........To get clothes clean, you have to use the deep-water option, and it takes so dang long for them to even finish one load of clothes....

It doesn't make any sense...!!.......I hope I don't have a panic attack when I see my next water bill.

I know this was long, so thanks for reading......Any help or tips from someone who actually has one these damn things?....Any help appreciated.

 

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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Yep, got one, HATE IT. I think they only mean efficiency with regards to saving water. The “quick wash” is a joke, still takes over 30 minutes. I hate the touch buttons, give me a dial any day! 

One thing, maybe this will help, the guys from Lowe’s that installed it said to make sure to load the clothes *around* the stupid tiny knob where the agitator post used to be. You’re supposed to leave the middle clear. I do use the normal setting all the time, and at least mine, it’ll initially fill with minimum water, then as it’s agitating it will add bits of water as needed. I’ve not had a problem with the clothes not getting wet.

I don’t really get my clothes that dirty most of the time, so they seem clean enough to me. If it’s gardening clothes tho, yeah, I throw them in with towels and use either the bulky or deep wash setting. 

HE detergent is less sudsing, as I understand it. I’ve been using All Free liquid for decades now, my kids have sensitive skin. I just use the regular formulation, and use half the normal amount. 

Thought I had broken it one time. I dunno, I was trying to cancel a wash midway, kept pressing the stupid buttons, and it wound up freezing. Turns out that I had to simply turn it back on and wait, and the cycle cleared. Sorry, that might not be clear. I’d advise to definitely google troubleshooting before calling a repairman! 

Mine’s a whirlpool. 

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I looked into them when my washer faltered. It said a regular washer uses 22 gallons a load, these use 2-6 gallons, so probably your water bill will be ok, not sure about gas or electric but I think they would be ok?  Mainly I don’t have space for a bigger washer. And I read you have to be diligent about mold, which I fear. But I got a repairman out to fix my old one and got advice from him.  Is there an old school appliance store near you, where, unlike Home Depot, they may actually know a lot about the products?  I know someone who goes to that sort of place and gets advice from the owner/manager on her appliances . I guess that’s not for everyone. Friends tell me to just use the high water if I get one but since I just have a laundry closet, not room, guess I better make the best of my old one, especially after hearing your experience. 6 gallons does sound frugal, but laundry day must get pretty long. I hope the water comparison eases your mind a bit, sorry I don’t know more. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Rabbit37 said:

Yep, got one, HATE IT. I think they only mean efficiency with regards to saving water. The “quick wash” is a joke, still takes over 30 minutes. I hate the touch buttons, give me a dial any day! 

One thing, maybe this will help, the guys from Lowe’s that installed it said to make sure to load the clothes *around* the stupid tiny knob where the agitator post used to be. You’re supposed to leave the middle clear. I do use the normal setting all the time, and at least mine, it’ll initially fill with minimum water, then as it’s agitating it will add bits of water as needed. I’ve not had a problem with the clothes not getting wet.

 HE detergent is less sudsing, as I understand it. I’ve been using All Free liquid for decades now, my kids have sensitive skin. I just use the regular formulation, and use half the normal amount. 

 

Mine does have dial controls, except for the START button......It also has an agitator, so what we've been doing so far is placing the clothes loosely around the agitator pole at the bottom.....I know not all the HE machines have an agitator, but mine does..

 Haven't tried the normal setting, but my owner's manual said that choosing "Normal" setting will cause the "auto-sense" option to kick in.....So have the setting set on "Heavy" option so it will do the deep water wash.

Maybe between brands they operate a little differently, but on my machine the "auto-sense" setting isn't even worth it, it doesn't even cover the clothes with enough water, so I have decided, for my particular model, to always use the "deep water" setting, along with the "heavy" cycle option.......That's the only way they get clean, for me personally....**SIGH**..

Now the salesman that talked to us said never to use regular detergent, or it would damage the machine....I suspect that was mostly scare talk......But I got a free large bottle of Tide HE with the purchase, so that's what's been used so far....When the Tide HE runs out, I haven't exactly decided what to use....But there's no sensitive skin problems here.

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it....!!........And I hate mine, too.....LOL

Oh, BTW, is yours a front load or top load?.....I read about the front-loaders being more prone to mold and mildew, so I got a top loader.

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, sugarsugar said:

I looked into them when my washer faltered. It said a regular washer uses 22 gallons a load, these use 2-6 gallons, so probably your water bill will be ok, not sure about gas or electric but I think they would be ok?  Mainly I don’t have space for a bigger washer. And I read you have to be diligent about mold, which I fear. But I got a repairman out to fix my old one and got advice from him.  Is there an old school appliance store near you, where, unlike Home Depot, they may actually know a lot about the products?  I know someone who goes to that sort of place and gets advice from the owner/manager on her appliances . I guess that’s not for everyone. Friends tell me to just use the high water if I get one but since I just have a laundry closet, not room, guess I better make the best of my old one, especially after hearing your experience. 6 gallons does sound frugal, but laundry day must get pretty long. I hope the water comparison eases your mind a bit, sorry I don’t know more. 

Thanks for responding.......I hope your old one lasts a bit longer....I surely do.....Because these HE machines are all that's available now, to buy new......I admit I looked into buying a used "traditional" machine, like my old one, but decided against it because it was already 7 yrs old.........I'll see what my water bill looks like next time, hope you're right about the water.

I have learned a lot just from reading around on the internet....Most folks seem to not really like these HE machines, if the reviews are any indicator.....It doesn't matter what the brand is, most people just don't like them...The main complaints being that it takes so long to do one load of laundry,  that the auto-sense option just doesn't put enough water in to get their clothes clean, and the onboard computers failing after only a short time.......I have a one year factory warranty.

Also, whether a front-loader or a top loader, it is recommended in the manuals to do a special "cleaning cycle" every 30 loads to prevent mold and mildew growth...You have to use either bleach, or a special cleaning tablet called "affresh"......And the list goes on why I hate these things.

........So for anyone who still has a traditional washer, if it breaks, have it repaired if you possibly can.....Or you'll be faced with nightmare of having one of these "high-efficiency" machines........

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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Mine’s top loading. Yes, I’ve heard horror stories of the front loading developing odors. That is not another chore I want to deal with. Why would they make a washer that creates more problems???

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We've had 2 HE front loaders. Our first one (Kenmore) finally died after over a decade. Now we have an LG front loader. I love front loaders so much more than top loaders, even though some of the cycles are ridiculously long (especially when you add one or two extra rinses on, and at least one extra rinse is a must). The new one does have a turbo wash option you can add to some of the cycles to make them shorter which helps and IMO is superior to the single quick wash cycle on the old machine (the new one utilizes specially placed water jets and such).

I feel my clothes get cleaner and less beat up in general by our front loaders vs. the old school top loaders we had in the past. I love the delicate and hand wash cycles more than their equivalent in an old school top loader (can't speak to HE top loaders since I've never used one). Also, clothes/towels seem to spin out more dry during the spin cycle so then need less time in the dryer or hanging up to dry. And if our laundry tub drain clogs with lint,* it never overflows during a front loader wash cycle because so little water is used, it doesn't even come close to overflowing the laundry tub that the water ejects into. We had several instances with our old top loaders where the drain would become accidentally obstructed and then the ejected laundry water would fill up the laundry set tub and overflow and flood the laundry room.

We've never had a smell/mold issue with our front loaders and our laundry machine and dryer are in the basement (though we do usually run dehumidifiers in the basement to keep the humidity somewhat at bay). We just alway leave the washer door open a little bit whenever it's not in use and try to do a quick wipe down of the inside of the glass door and the rubber seal with a dry rag after finishing with laundry for the day. (I admit we sometimes skip the rubber seal wipe down entirely or do it half-heartedly.)

With the Kenmore front loader, on a weekly basis we were doing steam sanitize cycles on things like rags used for house cleaning tasks or on things with gross stains. Those steam sanitize cycles may have helped. I think at most we maybe did 2-3 official cleaning cycles per year with bleach during our first front loader''s 10+ year life. We do some steam cycles on the new machine, which again maybe helps.

I'm so obsessed and in love with our new LG front loader, that I'm actually religiously running the tub clean cycle on the first of every month (the only way I can remember). I could use bleach (but again, I'm in love) so I actually splurged on some affresh tablets when target had one of those buy this many/much, get a gift card promotions. Personally, I'm not sure the affresh tablets are doing anything all that special so I may not continue with them once I run out.

I've never noticed a need to run the tub clean cycle but since it's there, I use it prophylactically just in case because I'm aware there's some segment of the population that apparently has a mold/funky smell issue with their front loaders. But with our washer being in a midwestern basement, and as lazy as we are about thoroughly wiping down the seal (which btw, only takes about 5-10 seconds), it's hard (for me) to believe it's truly that common if we haven't developed an issue by now. 

*We have a pantyhose solution to catch lint but sometimes things still go awry and the drain gets blocked.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, aquarian said:

We've had 2 HE front loaders. Our first one (Kenmore) finally died after over a decade. Now we have an LG front loader. I love front loaders so much more than top loaders, even though some of the cycles are ridiculously long (especially when you add one or two extra rinses on, and at least one extra rinse is a must). The new one does have a turbo wash option you can add to some of the cycles to make them shorter     

Thanks for your input.........I'm happy to hear you've had mostly good experiences with your front-loaders......I guess I'm revealing my age here, but I just prefer the top loaders.........I'm really sad to see the disappearance of the traditional washers.

My sis had an HE front loader, can't remember what brand, but was expensive (800-1000 range), that she had constant problems with, and it died after only 4 years, so maybe I am a bit biased.....She might have just gotten a lemon, but she was always complaining about that washer.

Yes, the cycles taking so long seems to be a common complaint about all these HE washers, whether they are front-load or top load..........I'm glad you seem to be very happy with your washer....!

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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I am mildly confused...around here, you can easily buy the standard, old-school washer or dryer. 

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My experience is that front-loaders are more water-efficient than top-loaders. Since the clothing is continually shifted into the water it can use less. With any washing machine, leave the door/lid open when not in use so that any moisture can evaporate. It is worth it to wipe down the inside of the rubber seal on a front loader after you finish using it. In the past I've just kept a rag nearby.

My washing machine (provided by my landlord) is an Amana top-loader with a center agitator. It does claim to be high efficiency. It has switches for load size (small, medium or large) and water temp. There's a few different types of cycle. Delicates, Normal, Casual... something else. I looked up the manual and it turns out the spin speeds are higher for normal than casual, and there's more agitation for normal cycles. I've found that for my needs the casual cycle is sufficient and it has less wear and tear on my clothing. If I were washing sports gear, really dirty work clothes or badly children's clothing I'd probably use Normal. The casual cycle is longer than Normal, and both are longer than it takes a load to dry (I use low heat automatic dry in the drier). I can't speak to water usage though, because I don't pay the water bill.

I wonder if there's a sensor that's not reading correctly, and that's why the auto-sense is not giving you the right water level? Very weird.

FYI, most if not all liquid laundry soap is HE compatible these days. That means it is low-sudsing. You can use HE detergent in a non-HE machine, but not the other way around. High-efficiency machines use significantly more agitation and much higher spin speeds than older machines in order to use less water than before. That means that it is really important to have low-sudsing soap. 

I use Tide Free & Clear laundry soap and there is no non-HE formula. Same for All and Seventh Generation when I was looking at them recently. I also generally use 1/2 the recommended amount of soap, which lets me stretch the bottle further (and is why I don't use pods).

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Gearhead said:

I am mildly confused...around here, you can easily buy the standard, old-school washer or dryer. 

You are very fortunate to still have a choice in your area.......Around here, the appliance stores only carry the HE washers and dryers......

The old traditional machines are slowly disappearing, due to gov regulations on energy use.....Now the gov is regulating our appliances........**SIGH**.

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Geek said:

My experience is that front-loaders are more water-efficient than top-loaders. Since the clothing is continually shifted into the water it can use less. With any washing machine, leave the door/lid open when not in use so that any moisture can evaporate. It is worth it to wipe down the inside of the rubber seal on a front loader after you finish using it. In the past I've just kept a rag nearby.

 I wonder if there's a sensor that's not reading correctly, and that's why the auto-sense is not giving you the right water level? Very weird.

I got the same type/brand machine that you have-- Amana HE top loader with agitator.....

I actually called an appliance repairman, and asked him if it was normal for the auto-sense option on this machine to put so little water in (not enough to cover the clothes).......He said unfortunately, that's it's a common problem with these HE machines, and there's really nothing I can do about it.....He told me that to get clothes clean, a lot of people with HE machines just have to use the deep-water wash option, set on heavy......So that's what we're doing now, and washing as many clothes as we can with one load.

I also thought that maybe the sensor is not working correctly, but apparently it's very common for these HE machines, according to the repair guy...............I also asked him his personal opinion about them.....He said that due to gov't  regulations on energy, companies had to start making the machines this way......But he also said that so many people are  complaining about the HE washers, that the companies might soon have to come up with something different.

I got a free bottle of Tide HE liquid detergent with my purchase of the washer.....It's a little too highly scented for me, so when it's gone we're probably going to get the Tide Free and Clear.

I still wish that my old machine had been repairable.....I'd take it back any day over this thing I have now.......I could be wrong, but I have a feeling it's not going to last nearly as long as my old one did---Time will tell.......

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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After reading all this, I will try to baby my washer along. My repair guy said the new ones last about 5 years which is ridiculous so if I can I’ll stick to old school. At least if it fails I know to research all this stuff again. 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, sugarsugar said:

After reading all this, I will try to baby my washer along. My repair guy said the new ones last about 5 years which is ridiculous so if I can I’ll stick to old school. At least if it fails I know to research all this stuff again. 

Yep, it is sad that all the new appliances coming out today, don't last nearly as long as the older, more traditional machines.

This doesn't apply just to washers, but all major appliances.....So, stick with your old school washer as long as you possibly can..............It almost seems like somewhere along the line, all these appliance manufacturers got together and decided that these traditional machines are lasting too long, so now they have to make them lower quality, so they will break sooner....

IMO, it's all about the money.....**SIGH**

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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