Throw Open the Lid: Top-load Washer Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

There's more to your washer than suds and water. New technology is making it easier to get stains out of your clothes and save energy at the same time. You don't have to buy a front load washer to do it, either. Let's enter the world of rinse and spin for a moment and take a peak under the lid of a top-load washing machine. What you find -- and don't find -- may surprise you.

Some new high-efficiency top-load washing machines lose one key design component. What is it?

Open the lid of a high-efficiency top-loading washing machine and you probably won't see a center-post agitator.

What is one way newer top-load washers save money and the environment?

Newer style top-load washers typically use less water and energy to complete the washing process.

In what ingenious way do some top-load washers save water?

They use a powerful spray to soak and rinse the clothes instead of filling a large drum.

How many loads of laundry does the average household wash in a year?

The average U.S. household washes about 400 loads of laundry a year.

Do newer washing machines have a longer or shorter washing cycle, or is the washing time about the same?

Newer style front-load and top-load washers use less water, which saves the environment. They also save energy because the consumer doesn't have to pay to heat a larger volume of water to clean a load of laundry. The trade-off is that less water consumption requires a somewhat longer washing cycle to get clothes clean.

A conventional top-load washer with a center post agitator uses about how many gallons of water per full load of laundry?

A conventional top-load washer (not the newer Energy Star models) uses about 40 gallons of water per load.

After spin drying, about how much water is left in a load of laundry washed in a standard top-load washer?

A standard top-load washer can leave as much as 2 gallons of water in a load of laundry, even after the spin cycle.

Conventional top-load washers use what principal to clean clothes?

That would be agitation.

In tests conducted by Consumer Reports, what type of washer was the most gentle on clothes?

Although the findings were close, front load washers were somewhat gentler on clothes.

Which is likely to cost you more, a front-load washer or a conventional top-load washer?

The front-load washer is more expensive. Although the operating costs are higher, the purchase price for a conventional top-load washer will be one of the lowest in the showroom.

Front-load washers use about how much water per load of laundry?

A front-load washer uses less than half the water of a conventional top-loader, or between 10 and 20 gallons per load.

In what important area does a top-load washer beat a front-load washer?

Although front-load washers have some great attributes, they're harder to load and empty than top-loaders.

Newer top-load and front-load washing machines are more energy efficient than their older counterparts, but do they get clothes as clean?

According to a California Energy Commission Report, high efficiency washing may actually get clothes cleaner than the old style "agitation" method.

If you buy a new energy-efficient washing machine, about how much of an energy savings will you get on an Energy Star-rated washer (top-load or front-load) over an old style washing machine?

On average, Energy Star-qualified washers use 30 percent less energy than standard washing machines.

When evaluating washing machines, what does MEF stand for?

MEF stands for Modified Energy Factor. It calculates the amount of energy a washer uses to wash a load, including the cost of heating the water and removing the residual moisture in the dryer. New washers carry an MEF number to help consumers rate overall energy efficiency. The most energy efficient washers have the highest MEF numbers.

What manual setting will help you use your washing machine in a more planet friendly way?

Both. Matching the temperature and the amount of water necessary to get clothes clean will save money and help the environment.

Whether you have a high-efficiency washer or not, what's one sure way to save money washing clothes?

Although all these suggestions are helpful, choosing the right temperature setting for your laundry load is the most likely to net you big savings. Around 90 percent of the energy cost of washing a load of laundry is used to heat the water. Whenever possible, wash clothes in cold or warm water.

In a high-efficiency top-load washer, what's one big advantage to eliminating the center-post agitator?

Losing the agitator leaves room for more clothes per load.

High-efficiency top-load washers do a better job at getting water out in the spin cycle. Why?

High efficiency top-loaders spin at faster speeds.

Washers are sized to handle different load capacities. Why is it important to match the load capacity to your specific needs?

Buying an oversized washer may seem like a good idea, but it's not. A washing machine runs most efficiently from an energy standpoint when it's full. If you run half loads, you'll overspend buying the washer and spend more to operate it, too.

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