Pros: Does Save Money One Way Or The Other
Cons: Concerned With Dispenser Drawer, Have To Change Habits
Moving from Missouri to Tennessee, I was lucky enough to purchase our new house, before we sold the old one. That meant, that finding a foreclosure that was short on appliances was not a big deal because I could simply take my appliances with me. Although I was happy with the washing machine I had, I ended up leaving it behind and purchasing a Front Load model instead. This was a two fold benefit since we did not have to lug the washing machine from one state to the next and we also expected to save a bit on our water/electrical bill from the switch.
I do not research purchases like this because frankly I do no have the patience. I know what I want my washing machine to do, so I look and compare what I might purchase to what I already had. Having not owned a front loading washing machine before hand, I simply learned a few new things after I started using the machine.
I purchased our GE Front Loading Wash Machine model WBVH520053WW at Lowe's, where I was able to have them deliver it free, even though I lived out in the country. At an added benefit we talked the two men who delivered the appliance to haul away the nasty stove that was left in the house when we purchased it.
When I purchased the front loading wash machine, I elected not to purchase the support/draw that is commonly displayed with these models. I did this because, firstly, it was $200 and the machine was only $600. If you purchase the pedestal your adding about 33% to your purchase price and I could not see paying that much for a drawer. The initial plan was to simply make my own pedestal, but I have been so busy, that I have not gotten to that project yet. Overall, the lower position of the wash machine really is not that much of a nuisance.
The first thing that really bugged me about this machine was the door. It does not offer the option to switch which direction it opens in and the house we purchased has the dryer hook-ups on the left and the washing machine hook-ups on the right. This happens to be the exact opposite from our previous home, so this would not have been a problem there. But, as it is, the washing machine door opens to the left, toward our dryer, which makes it more difficult to get the clothes into the dryer, especially without dropping some items on the floor.
The other noticeable change I have made is the size of my load. While the size of the drum is not exactly small, it is a down grade from the size of our previous wash machine. In addition to this, I use to cram so many clothes into our top load machine, that sometimes it would vibrate really bad. This machine pretty much makes that impossible and of the one time I managed to get it too full it vibrated fairly bad and made me conscious enough not to try it again. So although the machine promises higher efficiency, I'm not 100% sold on it. It may very well save us some money, but I wouldn't be willing to bet it is a major amount.
While I choose the GE Front Load Washing Machine primarily for its price, which was one of the three cheapest front loading machines available at Lowe's, I also purchased it because it was white. Yes, those brilliantly colored machines are pretty, but when your not buying them both, they are a bit unrealistic. Knowing that the dryer probably wouldn't save us much energy, if any at all, I opted to stick with my older dryer. So, while they are two different models, at least they are both white.
The machine also features plenty of pre-set options for Colors/Normal, Stain Wash, Easy Care, Handwash, Speed Wash, Drain & Spin, and Rinse & Spin. The machine also has level indicators which can be adjusted to ones liking. These include soil level, spin speed, and wash temperature. These are controlled by lights that indicate the level and can all be adjusted by button to cycle through the different levels.
The machine also features a power button, with the power symbol first seen on computers to turn the machine on. Next to this is a digital display that tells the length of a full washing cycle or the time remaining on the washing cycle after it has begun. On the other side of the display is a start/pause button. Once the cycle has started the door automatically locks, in order to get access to it, you have to press the pause button or you are locked out until it is complete. This has changed how I do laundry as well. I use to throw in all of the clothes next the machine, start the load, then search the house for more, if I had space. In this front load version its a bit more complicated than simply lifting the lid and throwing additional items in, so I tend to look first, then start the load.
The machine has four additional buttons on the front top which include a basket clean button, a delay start button, and a signal button. The basket clean button is simply an option that can be run on the machine to give it a refreshing clean with the addition of bleach. The delay button can delay the start time by the hour or by pressing it in for three seconds you can lock all of the buttons on the machine. This has been a great addition for us, because the position of the buttons is just above my son's eye levels and he loves to push the buttons. He managed to start a washing cycle once, but now we simply use the button locking feature and we do not have to worry about it. The signal button simply lets you set the option of the signal, which we do not use.
The dispenser drawer is the one thing that worries me about this machine. It is on the upper left hand side and opens from the front. While I like the dispenser drawer in comparison to the dispensers or lack there of in top loading wash machines, this one seems flimsy. While we haven't had any problems with it in the 4 months we have owned the machine, I think it will definitely be a deciding factor on its longevity 5 to 10 years down the road.
The dispenser has separate compartments for detergent, softener, and bleach. If this machine has not saved us any money in electricity or water, I can attest that it certainly has saved on our detergent bill. The machine requires high efficiency detergent, which does not suds as much as normal detergent. We have opted to stick with Tide's HE formula, but I have noticed other companies coming out with some options. Overall I have seen a nice departure from our detergent use and I would have to estimate that we have cut that use by at least a third.
We have not had many cleaning issues with the washer. The door gasket does collect things like balls of my hair, pocket change, etc. The gasket simply folds back and it items can be scooped out. The machine also has a pump filter which can also grab lost items, which is accessible from the front, bottom right of the washing machine.
Installation instructions are included with the washing machine, but since we had it delivered from Lowe's they installed it for us. The front loading wash machine does not have much of a spacial limit, but the floor does need to be in good condition and it also needs to be a hard surface, not carpeting. The machine does come with two hoses for the water hook ups.
Overall I do not think this GE Front Loading Washer has been a huge conservator of electricity and water because it takes smaller loads than what we are accustomed to and you can not overload the machine. I do however, think it has saved on our detergent use, so it has had an impact financially for us. I think front loading and top loading wash machines both have their advantages and disadvantages. If I were to shop again, based on our experience with this washing machine, I would definitely go for another front loader and if you are looking for a front loading wash machine, this one is a bargain at the price it is offered for. It gets clothes clean and in the long run it saves you money too!