Washing Machines: Should You Buy A Front Loader or Top Loader?

Front Load (F/L) washers use much less water and energy, yet clean better and are gentler on clothes.

  • They use less water than a top loader; this  means less water to heat, thus also saving energy.
  •  They are gentler on clothes and wash better, and the absence of a harsh agitator is the difference here. The tumbling action cleans better and does less damage. You can see this effect by the reduced lint in a dryer filter.
  • They spin out more water before going into a dryer; this means faster drying times using less energy.
  • They require high-efficiency detergent (low sudsing) because suds use water; low-sudsing detergent is a major way that front loaders are made better cleaners with less water.
  • All washers have some propensity to mildew, and F/L washers are a little more prone. This is resolved by leaving the washer door ajar when not in use. (Top loaders should keep the lids open for the same reason.)

As asides

  • F/L washer capacities are listed in cubic feet, just like a top-load washer, but this is not a true volume. The physical volume of a top-loader tub may be 3.1 c.f., but the agitator takes up about 12% of that, meaning that the usable volume is nominally more like 2.7 c.f. The original classic front-loader (White-Westinghouse) was rated a 3.1 c.f., but was physically a 2.7. It’s about compatibility of load capacity, but in fact, the smaller actual volume of a F/L is much more useful and effective in the absence of an obstructive physical agitator. (You can effectively wash a small comforter in a nominal 3.1 c.f. F/L washer.) This is not so different from how TVs are measured diagonally because picture tubes were originally round.
  • NEVER dry anything on HIGH.
    • High heat shrinks cottons, even if they have been pre-shrunk.
    • High heat ruins elastics, shortening their useful life dramatically.
    • Even if a cotton or other garment won’t shrink in high heat, the thread stitching likely will. This is often what causes puckering in the shape even of towels and other items that you might think are fine in high heat.

In short, never dry above medium heat unless there is some compelling and overarching reason.

#Thinkwing: Mon, 9/18/2017, 9PM @KPFTHouston 90.1FM. TOPICS: FEMA – What you need to know now and in the future. GUEST: PETER HERRICK, Jr. is communications specialist for FEMA [AUDIO/VIDEO]

SHOW AUDIO: Link is usually posted within about 72 hours of show broadcast. We take callers during this show at 713-526-5738.

Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show  airing live every Monday night from 9-10 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Bob Gartner.

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TOPICS:  SUPPORT KPFT!  FEMA: What you need to know now and in the future.

(Part 2 of the Flood Control discussion is now tentatively scheduled for September 25th)

GUEST:   PETER HERRICK, Jr. is communications specialist for FEMA in Washington, DC. Mr. Herrick is out front for the agency in times of disaster, serving as an Agency spokesman and the External Affairs Officer on a response team. </spanHe has responded to recent disasters such as the West Virginia chemical spill, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. He has also worked on high profile topics such as the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station biennial exercise and the 2015 Papal Visit.

For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:

  • You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
    Houston Mayor Annise Parker [L] with Mike, just before the show. (Dec. 14, 2015)

    Houston Mayor Annise Parker [L] with Mike, just before the show. (Dec. 7, 2015)

  • An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.

SIGNOFF QUOTE[s]:

“Insurance is just another way of saying, ‘We’re all in this together.’” ~ Michael R Honig, 9/17/2017  

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