Before buying your washing machine, you should consider where it will be placed. Do you need it to fit under a counter top? If so you will need a front loading model.
You can choose a freestanding washing machine which is loaded from the front and is uncovered. They are available in large capacities and with their good energy efficiency they are perfect for family use.
You could also opt for an integrated machine, which is a front loading appliance with a door panel that fits into your existing units. When not in use, it fits seamlessly and invisibly into your kitchen.
It is also possible to choose a semi-integrated machine which is similar to an integrated machine except the control panel can still be seen when the door is closed.
Remember to take full measurements, not only of the space where you need your washing machine to fit, but also allow enough room for the door to open.
The majority of washing machines today are cold fill models which has been shown to be more effective on stain removal as well as being kinder to fabrics.
While the hot water valve was initially removed from washing machines to make production cheaper, in fact there are economy benefits for the consumer, as it is cheaper to use a cold fill machine as you are not running the expensive home water heating system when you operate your machine. You also enjoy more effective results from biological washing powders even at low temperatures.
Those with solar panels may benefit from one of the few remaining hot and cold fill systems still available for purchase.
These may vary depending on the machine type, however generally there are four main types, including cottons, synthetics, wool and delicates. While cottons need the most vigorous washing, synthetics and delicates require less agitation and wool needs much gentler treatment and extra water.
Many modern machines also feature handwashing cycles especially for silks and fine wools, a much better alternative to washing these items by hand. Many also feature low temperature mixed wash programs and even pre-wash settings designed to remove ground in and heavy soiling from items before the main wash starts.
Some washing machines allow users to change the temperature settings manually, so that a lower temperature can possibly be selected for a lightly soiled load while the program length remains the same. These machines will generally prevent too high a temperature accidentally being selected.
There are also some other settings which may feature on a new machine. Economy settings enable users to have a long wash cycle while reducing temperatures, while quick wash programs are perfect for small loads of lightly soiled garments which are required quickly.
The rinse hold option is a common feature which enables clothing to be left for long periods after the wash in clean water to minimize the chance of creasing.
Every machine allows users to drain out water without the need to spin in case clothes are required to be drip dried or in case something has accidentally been put into the machine that should not be there. Some machines will even had an extra rinse option, perfect in soft water areas or for users with sensitive skin.
The majority of washing machines feature at least 2 spin settings: 1000-1800 rpm for cottons and 400-800 rpm for more delicate items. While most machines will automatically select the best option for the load, others allow the users to change the setting to a different speed. A faster speed is a good choice if a tumble dryer is to be used as it saves energy costs on running a dryer for a longer period of time. The machine will automatically try to balance the load before spinning, or reduce the speed for an unbalanced load.
The energy efficiency of a washing machine will vary from appliance to appliance, A being the best choice for best energy performance.
Usually, a more expensive machine will have better performance and a higher energy rating as it will have been developed to offer a range of energy saving features like timer delays to take advantage of lower night time energy rates and manual temperature controls to enable washing to be done at lower temperatures.
A top of the line machine will also be able to monitor the wash and make automatic adjustments to ensure best cleaning performance and energy efficiency by altering the amount of water, heat, cycle time and spin speed.
When installing the machine yourself, remember to remove the transit straps and adjust the feet to make sure it is stable. If your flooring is in the tongue and groove style or is a suspended floor, it may damage your machine in the long term when it vibrates, as well as being very noisy. This can be prevented by placing the machine on a piece of 3/4 inch blockboard, cut to the correct size and screwed down.
All instructions to enable you to fit your appliance to your plumbing system will be included, however try if possible to keep all plumbing to the side of the machine to allow easy access. Take care to avoid bending or twisting the hose when pushing the machine against the wall.