How Front Loading Washing Machines Work
We told you about how top loading machines work, and why they are a great buy, in spite of the way front-loads have entered the market. But this does not undermine how front-loading washing machines are slowly eating into the market share of top loaders. You have read all you wanted to know about top loaders in our previous article of this series, and now let’s talk about front loaders and why they make great sense too.
How Front Loading Machines Work
Unlike top loading washing machines that operate on a Y-axis, a front loader washing machine operates on an X-axis, which means that the drum inside it is horizontal and not vertical. The drum operates on the principles of gravity to wash your clothes. There are two drums inside your front-loading washing machine – an inner drum with paddles on its sides that moves, and a static outer drum which holds the water during the wash cycle. How it cleans is by simulating the action of pulling clothes into the water and then throwing them out – much like ancient hand washing techniques worked. Meanwhile, the paddles on the side of the inner drum rub against the clothes, simulating a ‘scrubbing’ action, removing the grime from your clothes.
There is no agitator or impeller in a front load washing machine, and this means that your clothes do not face any wear and tear the way top loader machines subject them to. Your clothes just rotate inside the drum according to drum’s movement, and there is minimal pulling and stretching involved. This action does not require the clothes to be surrounded by water at all times, and this reduces the water consumption of a front-loading washing machine drastically compared to a top-loading washing machine.
Front loading washing machines are relatively new in the consumer market and are fast gaining ground. When the front loading washing machines arrived, top loaders competed with them by introducing a highly efficient version of top loaders, but front loaders are still a great investment, and this is why:
Unlike a top loader, a front loader washing machine uses much less water to function because your clothes do not need to be continuously surrounded by water to be washed. The washing action of a front-loading washing machine does not require water to move your clothes, and therefore, water consumption is kept low. This means savings in your water bill, and if your area has a water supply issue, you can still run a front-loading washing machine because the consumption is so low.
Less water at the time of washing automatically means less water to wring out in the drying process. So the drying process is faster and power required to complete the process is also low. This means saving time and electricity while you do your laundry. A front loader then gives you all round saving – even better saving than the high-efficiency top loading washing machines.
Longer Life for Your Clothes
Less water means less detergent, and this means less chemicals entering the fabric of your clothes. And the front loader employs none of the agitation involved in a top loader machine, and this means your clothes will not be pulled and stretched during a cycle. A front-loader washing machine, therefore reduces the wear and tear that happens even in the best of top-loading washing machines, and does not adversely affect the life of your clothes.
But there are significant disadvantages too. One of the primary problems with using a front loader is that it requires a particular kind of high-efficiency detergent, which mixed in water produces less suds to it can be washed off faster. You can still use regular detergent like a top loader, but the recommended detergent is HE.
The other problem with a front loader is, because so much water swishes around the door, there is a high chance of mildew developing in the hinges. This is turn gives a rather foul odour to the insides of your washing machine. Unless you clean the washing machine after every wash, this is a very real problem.
A third problem is, front loader are relatively new in India, and the hi-tech nature of them implies that the prices of these machines are relatively higher than a regular top loading machine. They are not really available in the second market yet, so you may not find an affordable refurbished model either.
In spite of the problems, the very fact that in the longer run a front loading washing machine helps you save better, and the better looks of these models makes front loaders a great buy.