Following my post about bargain and advice on buying fridges during Appliances Online’s Legendary Birthday Sale some weeks back, I thought of writing up another guide for the other important appliance in most households - the washing machine. Picking the right model shouldn't only suit your needs, but also save you significant amounts on running costs. So what features are important to consider when on the hunt for a new washer?
Price comes first… Thanks to the Legendary Birthday Sale, you can find some good deals on washing machines at Appliances Online. In addition, it is one of the few stores who offer free delivery and removal of your old appliance (which FYI has to be disconnected). Installing a washing machine needs some extra plumbing, something that Appliances Online also offer but at an additional cost. However, all expenses summed up, they generally still tend to beat the prices of other retailers. As shown in this previous blog post, you'll also see that getting the full service package from Appliances Online would only cost you about $20 more compared to contracting the most reasonably priced tradies in Sydney (for example) to deliver/install a new appliance as well as remove the old one.
Besides the initial, delivery and installations costs of an appliance, I’m not sure how many of you actually consider running costs too? Although a fridge consumes electricity on a 24/7 basis, when in use a washing machine consumes a lot more kWs in peeks, not to mention that unlike fridges, it will effect your water bill as well. For this reason, it's a good idea to start off by choosing the most water and energy efficient washing machine that you can find within your budget.
Energy star rating and WELS labels will help you with this, but here is some other useful information to keep in mind when comparing different models.
A front load washing machine is more efficient than a top loading one as they use about 50% less water. Based on five loads a week, a machine with a water star rating of 4 will save you at least $50 a year compared to the less efficient models. If you do have a gas, a solar or an off-peak electric water heater, it would also work out a lot cheaper to use a model which has both a hot and cold water connection as these models import hot water rather than using an internal heating element.
Front load models also offer features such as load sensing technology, variable wash/rinse temperatures and variable spinning speeds, which energy star ratings take into account as well next to the capacity. Despite using more electricity, a larger capacity machine will appear more efficient due to using less energy per kg of clothes when fully loaded. A model with a good spinning performance, for example, will also get higher ratings for allowing you to dry your clothes on a clothes line and by doing so “saving you costs” on using a dryer. Most washing machines come with an economical function, it’s recommended to wash using this feature if available.
Try to aim for a front loader with a minimum 3.5 star energy rating (each star saves you roughly 25% on your washing machine’s energy use on a warm cycle) and be realistic on estimating the kgs of clothes you’ll wash in one load. People generally tend to sort their laundry by colour and how dirty they are (for temperature and cycle setting reasons), so filling a 10kg machine five times a week is not something that I would call common use for a couple, for instance. Buying the “biggest and best” machine could end up costing you quite a bit more for capacity and features that you don’t actually make use of or need.
Although Samsung is currently running a cash-back promo on selected washing machines until the 30th of November, if I were to buy one now, I would most likely go for LG’s WD14022D6 model. It’s a 7.5kg front load, white washing machine with a 3.5 star energy rating and a 4 star water rating featuring 13 wash programs. What I also like about it is the "smart delay" option which is especially beneficial for people on a flexible electricity tariff as you can schedule your wash to run in off-peak times only. The motor itself is an inverter direct drive, which adjusts the speed of the cycle depending on your clothes’ movement. Plus these motors have minimal wear and tear, which is why LG is confident to give you a 10 year warranty on the motor parts. The machine itself comes with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty and for an additional $99 on top of Appliances Online's $737 price tag (using the $10 off coupon) you can also get an extra 2 years covered by the customer care plan. The LG WD14022D6 would cost you a bit over $830 delivered at Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi, so you're looking at saving roughly $100 buying this washing machine at Appliances Online.
Thinking long term, a quality washing machine is supposed to last you at least 10 years, and ideally after the initial installation cost you should try to avoid any appliance-related plumbing costs. With time some parts in an appliance using water will deteriorate quicker than in others, so it’s important to clean the filters and use water softening and anti-cal products (commercial or DIY). These will not only give you better results, but you can consider them as an “investment” towards prolonging the life of your washing machine. Regarding the subject of your washing machine’s “well being”, some models even come with an app you could download to your smartphone which detect and diagnose load errors to provide easy troubleshooting solutions.