- 1. Expert advice | 2. Types of Washing Machines | 3. Key Features | 4. Washing Machine Capacity | 5. Practicalities | 6. Customer endorsement | 7. How to choose
A washing machine, if used properly, can last for up to 10 years. So, it is important that you buy the one that suits your requirements, as well as the growing needs of your family. Here’s a step-by-step guide to choosing the best washing machine.
Know your needs
First, you need to ask yourself these basic questions:
1. How large is my weekly laundry load? - One complete outfit (top, bottom wear, underclothes, socks, and handkerchief) roughly equals to 1kg capacity on a washing machine. You can use this to calculate the amount of laundry you would be generating weekly.
2. How much space do I have in my home?– Do you have a designated space in your home to place the washing machine? Can the space available accommodatethe type of washing machine I need?
3. How constant is water and power supply? – The water requirement of each washing machine differs. Some washing machines require a continuous supply of water while some don’t. Some washing machines can be powered by a small sized generators, maybe that’s what you need to get if the power supply isn’t regular.
Overworking the machine can shorten its lifespan, so size and capacity in relation to your needs is something you’ll need to consider.Washing machines capacity ranges from2 kg to 15kg.
Washer– Washersare entry-level machines, with generally one tub for washing the clothes. With these kinds of machines, you have to manually take the clothes out of the machine, squeeze out the water and dry outside.Though they have no spin section and drying of clothes can take longer, they howeveruse less water as they don’t require continuous supply of water. In addition the washing process takes less time and you can add clothes with the washing process. If space is an issue, you will be pleased to find that this appliance requires less space and can be moved around. Finally, its lower power consumption means it can be run by a small sized generator which is great.
Top Load Semi-automatic Washing Machines
Top Load Semi-automatic machines are top loading machines, equipped with generally two tubs. One tub washes the clothes while the other is used for drying.During the wash process, you can add more clothes although you’d need to manually move the clothes from the washing tub to the dryer. These machines are a bit bigger but they cost less than fully automatic machines and also require less maintenance.A semi-automatic washing machine is a good option if you’re on a tight budgetand can even run on a small sized generator.
Top Load Fully Automatic (Top Loading)
Top Load fully automatic Washing Machines are equipped with one tub. The same tub is used for both washinganddrying;this means no manual intervention is required although they require a continuous flow of water. A Top Load Fully Automatic (Top loading) washing machine is slightly more expensive then Top Load Semi-automatic Washing Machines, but provides more convenience and takes less space.
Front Loading Automatic Washing Machines
Front load Automatic washing machines haveonly one tub, which performs all the functions. Although it cannot be moved around and you cannot add clothes during the wash process, these machines are equipped with a tumble wash which gives better wash quality and some models even have a built-in heater. There are generally more cycle settings on these machines and they are more water efficient so all you need to do is load your dirty laundry, set the options and come back when the alarm beeps, to get clean, fresh, and dried laundry.
Though a washing machine can remove excess water, the advantage of a dryer is that the heated air circulated through the drum evaporates the moisture completely, so that the clothes can be worn immediately. A dryer, with a moisture sensor, is better as it minimises chances of over drying, which can damage clothes.
1. Soaking Function: The pre-soak facility allows you to soak the clothes for a specified period, after which the wash cycle starts automatically.
2. Time Delay:Time delay allows you to load the washing machine and start it later. This is useful if you want to avoid the noise at certain times.
3. Spin Speed: Most machines come in the spin speed of 800-1800 rpm (revolutions per minute). The higher the spin speed, the more water will the machine remove, reducing the overall drying time. But you need to bear in mind that you will be paying extra to get a higher rpm.
4. Washtub material: Washing machine tubs are either made of plastic, porcelain or stainless steel. While stainless steel the best and most expensive, plastic tubs are cheaper and are fine for medium usage. Porcelain tubs have a tendency to chip and require careful use.
5. Automatic Drainage: This function ensures that you do not have to walk up to the machine, every time you want to drain it. This feature also prevents your clothes from over-soaking, which in turn increases the life of the cloth.
6. Controls: Controls can be eitherDial or Digital. Digital control may not be as easy to navigate as a dial control but it can provide many customized options for washing different kinds of fabric anduseful features like child lock, signals and alarms etc.
7. Extra rinse cycle: As the name suggests, it rinses the laundry for an additional cycle and is beneficial for people who are sensitive to detergent residue.
What size of washing machine do I need?
Selection of appropriate washing machine can be determined by your wash load, frequency of usage, space requirements, and budget constraints. One complete outfit (top, bottom wear, underclothes, socks, and handkerchief) roughly equals to 1kg capacity on a washing machine. You can use this to calculate the amount of laundry you would be generating weekly. You may need to consider a small washer if you have a small child in your family as this may increase your usage frequency. As a guide, wash load of domestic washing machines in Nigeria varies between 3 and 10kgs. A reference guide is outlined below:
Regular maintenance is essential because of the build-up of limescale, dirt, detergent, hair or fluff which could clog up your washing machine and hinder performance. To prevent odour build up, leave the door slightly ajar after each wash. Here are some great maintenance practices you should adopt on a monthly basis:
1. Inspect and clean door and door seal
2. Inspect and clean detergent tray, most trays are removable, (by sliding out and tilting backwards).Rinse and dry before replacing.
3. The glass front of the door should be cleaned inside and out with a slightly abrasive pad, particularly where the door meets the seal.
4. Damage or tears in door seals could result in leaks – Inspect and replace door seals occasionally.
5. For machines with a lint filter (usually at the front base of the machine) check and clean filters at least once every six months.
6. The hose connections at the back of the machineshould be unscrewed (should only ever be hand tight) and the washer and filter checked and cleaned.
If you ever have to move your machine to clean it, ensure you move it as little as necessary. Always lift the machine by holding the circular inner rim when the door is open. Never lift by holding the door itself.
1. Capacity: This is determined by the usage pattern and family size, as a guide for capacity selection:
2. Type of Washing Machine: This largely depends onyour lifestyle needs, budget, water and power consumption, noise generated from the machine, installation area required, frequency of usage, etc.
3. Space & Water availability: Please make sure that the washing machine you are choosing gets enoughspace with provision of water connection for both washing as well as draining the water after the wash process.