Easing the bad vibrations of front-loading washers
Published Monday, September 13, 2010 9:55AM PDT
Front-loading washing machines rotate at a much higher speed and this can cause violent vibrations. Chris Olsen investigates whether devices designed to stop the shaking really work.
The shaking, particularly noticeable during the spin cycle, can be loud and cause the appliance to rock back and forth.
Installing a padded device under the washer is supposed to stop the vibrations. Consumer Reports tested seven of these pads ranging from $25 to $50 to determine if they work.
Bob Markovich from Consumer Reports tested the pads by installing them under a washer that vibrates badly and placing a glass of water on top.
"You place the pads under each corner of the washer. They're supposed to reduce the transfer of vibration to the floor," he said.
Testers also placed a sensor on the floor, which detected vibrations, and then computer-analyzed the results.
Markovich said the results were not satisfactory.
"None of the pads reduced vibration noticeably in our tests," he said.
The next device they tested was the Steadywash Isolation Platform, which costs a lot more at $200. It also weighs a lot more at 11 kilograms.
Tests showed that the washer still visibly moved from side to side but vibrated less.
"You're better off getting a washer that doesn't vibrate a lot. And we found several in our tests," Markovich concluded.
A good choice is the Samsung WF448AA, which costs $1,700. A front-loading machine, it doesn't vibrate violently and is effective at cleaning.
Some owners also complain about a musty or mouldy smell in their front-loading machines. Although this problem is not limited to one brand or model, there is a solution.
Regular cleaning behind and underneath the gasket that keeps the water from leaking can help. Cleaning the detergent drawer also manages the smell.
Olsen advises to leave the detergent drawer and the door to your front-loader open after use to let the water evaporate. Some models may have a special cycle designed to deal with this problem already built in.
To avoid a buildup of detergent make sure to use a high-efficiency formula and be careful not to use too much.
Alternatively, if you prefer a top-loading washer, Consumer Reports gave top ratings to the Whirpool WTW6300WW, which costs $950.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen