Form and Function: Choosing the Right Washer/Dryer

Form and Function: Choosing the Right Washer/Dryer

Photo By avani LLC at Shutterstock

Daydreaming about purchasing a new washer and dryer units for your clothing isn’t the most glamorous of home upgrades, but the right set can greatly enhance your life. A larger capacity can cut down on both water waste and the number of loads per week of laundry you have to do, while an upgraded dryer can have you in warm, fresh-smelling clothing much sooner. For homeowners with larger beds and plush bedding, sometimes an oversized washer and dryer are the only thing that can safely accommodate them.

Plus, a better washer and dryer unit could reduce the number of times you have to call a plumbing service, too.

There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a new washer and dryer unit, especially for older homes or for people with little space. We’ll walk you through some of the common considerations and when you’re ready, call your local bluefrog Plumbing + Drain plumbing service for installation, or to upgrade and re-fit new pipes to accommodate your new appliances.

How Much Space Do You Have?

Some homes may have a separate “mud room” or laundry room, which might give you more space for larger units. Other houses, especially older ones, may just have a small nook off the kitchen or a side closet in the hallway. The dimensions of your space will determine how large you can go for your washer/dryer.

When you’re measuring, don’t forget to account for clearance on all sides of the units (usually you can find these online, but a local plumbing service can also help you with questions) as well as space to lift the lids. Make sure you can fully raise or open the doors in the space that you have.

How Many Loads Per Week Will You Wash?

And what kinds of clothing linens do you need to wash? For example, families with small children may be doing lots of clothing loads per week, as small children may need to change clothes multiple times per day. Plus, these families may also have waterproof mattress pads that will need frequent washing, so finding units that can accommodate these is important, too.

However, smaller families, couples or a single person, likely won’t need a large capacity washing machine. In these cases, you may be wasting water to fill up the unit or taking up more scape than you need.

Choosing the Right Washing Machine

Washers come in a couple different varieties: from loading and top-loading. Here are the pros and cons of each type, and don’t worry – your bluefrog plumbing service can install both kinds.

Top-loading Washers

Top-loading washing machines load, clearly, from the top. Older models, and less expensive (and typically smaller ones) have a pole-like agitator that goes up the middle to swish the clothing around. Newer, larger models, High-Efficiency (HE) ones, have just a small bump in the middle, and this design allows the clothes to rub against each other plus gives you more room inside the unit for larger loads.

The smaller washers with an agitator have very short wash cycles, typically between 35-65 minutes and quickly clean smaller loads. These washers are cheaper and don’t have issues with unbalanced loads, vibration, or rocking. The drawback with these is that the agitator is rougher on clothing, increasing wear and tear.

A plumbing service will be able to install these for ease of use.

Front-loading Washers

Front-loading washers are HE machines, too, as they use up to 80% less water and 40% less energy than top loaders. Despite the lower water use, front-loading washers actually clean better, using longer wash cycles that last between 75 to 120 minutes. The spin cycle on these machines is more efficient, too, removing more moisture from your clothing and thus shortening your dryer times.

Front-loaders can be helpful for shorter people, or those who have mobility issues that make it difficult or painful to reach inside to remove the wet clothes. Mold is a larger risk with these washers, but many have a “sanitize” cycle that helps reduce it – but don’t forget to wipe the drum out.

However, front-loading machines have a bigger problem with unbalanced loads and vibrations or moving when the load becomes unbalanced. A plumbing service may be able to give you advice on which units they see more issues with but do your own homework, as well – look for the most stable units, especially if you’re placing the washer on hardwood flooring or tile.

Choosing the Right Dryer

The dryer you select should complement the washing machine you choose. If you opt for a front loading washing machine, for example, you may not need an incredibly powerful dryer, since more water is removed from the clothing before it leaves the washing machine.

If you’re often doing large loads in the washer, then you’ll need a dryer that can accommodate the extra clothes.

Another consideration for some homeowners is whether to purchase a gas or electric dryer. If you live in an area that offers both types of power, you likely use both in your home. Gas dryers require more maintenance but use less energy. Electric dryers use more energy but are easier to install, you don’t need a plumbing service to safely hook up the gas lines.

Extra features that many people like are a steam-dry option and a wrinkle guard option, one that senses when clothes are dry but cycles periodically if you aren’t able to immediately remove and fold them.

Don’t Forget to Choose the Right Plumbing Service!

At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, we’ve installed thousands of washer and dryer units for homeowners just like you. Plus, when something goes wrong, our plumbing service techs are certified to work on all major brands, including warranty work. Whether you need a plumber to install a new unit or troubleshoot, we’ve got you covered. Give your local bluefrog Plumbing + Drain a call or visit us online to book your appointment today!

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