How much value do the eco labels have? If you only compare washing machines using these labels you may make a poor choice. When first introduced, the eco labels were an eye opener and showed up big differences in performance and energy usage between various makes of washing machine. However, after being in operation for just a few years almost every washing machine now has a good wash rating, and even the worst washing machine I can think of can boast a top rating.
Part 4 of my in depth look at what all the different ratings on washing machine eco labels mean (Links to the other parts at the bottom of this article). This article covers the last three sections on the labels, spin drying performance, water consumption & Noise levels.
This is the third article about what the individual sections on washing machine energy labels actually mean, and how useful or not they may be. (Links to the other parts are at the bottom of this article).
The second section on washing machine energy labels shows energy consumption figures. Here you can find out the amount of energy (electricity) that the washing machine is likely to use on a particular wash cycle. The figure is based on a 60 degree cotton cycle – even though most people rarely use it. The most common wash cycle in use is 40 degrees and we are being encouraged to wash at 30 degrees. Therefore if you wash mostly at 40 degrees the energy consumption figures quoted will be higher than your actual costs.
The energy labels on washing machines have several ratings, which this and related pages explains and comments on. This first page looks at the energy efficiency rating, which is not a good indicator of an washing machine’s environmental credentials at all.
"If a washing machine measurement states that it is 60cm depth, does this mean that all the piping and electrical wiring at the back will fit under a worktop of 60cm depth, or that it needs just that little bit extra space as well as the 60cm in order to fit?"
We pay a fair bit extra for a washing machine with a slightly faster spin. Is there an optimum spin speed, and anything faster is unnecessary? – Or is it a case of the faster the better? If it’s the latter, how come the spin speeds just keep creeping up 100 rpm at a time? Are they really struggling to get washing machines to spin faster, or is it just clever marketing?
In most cases apparently not, and this is the crux of the argument for cold fill washing machines. In the UK, most washing machines traditionally get their hot water supply through a gravity fed hot water cylinder which usually has low pressure. In this scenario the truth is that hardly any hot water ever gets into the average washing machine on most washes, and your washing machine has probably always heated up the water a lot more than you may have assumed.
Should I buy a cold fill washing machine or hot and cold fill?
The short answer is, you don’t have much choice these days although if determined it’s possible to find one with a hot water valve. However, the majority of people are probably fine with a cold fill washing machine, especially in the UK where many houses have gravity fed hot water cylinders, and if you read this article you will see that you may find little or no benefit from having a hot valve anyway.
Which? have just investigated wash temperatures on washing machines, I’m not sure why they thought to, but they’ve discovered something which on the face of it is very surprising and puzzling. What they’ve discovered is that many washing machines do not reach anywhere near 60 degrees on a 60 degree wash. After a little thought there’s an obvious explanation, and it’s not for our benefit.