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Monday, March 15, 2010

Tumble Dryer & Washing Machine

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Tumble Dryer & Washing Machine, originally uploaded by Yandle.
Appliances at Sears.ca

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If you've listened to the marketing, you might be thinking the LG Combined Steam Washer and Dryer makes wash day more environmentally friendly. While it's true it's energy and water-efficient when used as a washer, that's not the whole story. When you use it as a dryer, it goes through an awful lot of water. The wash cycle uses comparatively little (107 L for a 9 kg load), but it guzzles down on average an astounding 74 L to dry a 5 kg load--that's more than you'd send down the drain flushing a modern, water-efficient toilet 12 times.

Why? Washer/dryers don't release hot, damp air into the laundry like normal clothes dryers. Instead they use water to condense the steam back to water which is then flushed down the drain--and they can use a lot of water to do this.

Unfortunately the current water efficiency labelling system doesn't reflect this, as it's only based on usage during the wash cycle--but that's under review. CHOICE wants manufacturers to be required to label washer/dryers to show total water use.

Washing and drying

As a washer using a cold-water program (as in our normal CHOICE tests), the machine scored well overall (76%). But we also tested it on the 'eco steam' warmwater program featured in its marketing, with which it performed just a little better. However, despite its title, this warm-water cycle uses nearly three times the energy of the cold-water wash.

As for drying, it takes around 3.5 hours to dry a S kg load (you can't dry a full 9 kg wash load in one hit). Add to that the 100 minutes for a normal wash and there's your morning gone--and you've only dried about half the wash.

Steaming and refreshing

"If you're on the run, you can refresh your outfit in minutes with a special Steam Refresh cycle," the ads proclaim. Unfortunately it's not as simple as popping yesterday's shirt in the machine while you're showering and having it ready when you are--you'll most probably still need to iron it, though the fact that it's slightly damp might make that easier. Steam Refresh also isn't recommended for 100% cotton clothing.

That aside, does it really freshen up clothes? We asked volunteers to sniff worn polycotton shirts we'd 'steam-refreshed'. More than half said they'd wear them once more, but less than half thought they smelt really fresh.

CHOICE's verdict

If space is at a premium, a washer/dryer saves you some room, but this one's larger than others we've tested. It's a good washer, but slow at drying and uses lots of water in the process. The 'steam refresh' function may come in handy but doesn't live up to all its promises.

If you have enough room for a separate washer and conventional dryer in your laundry (and can vent the hot air from the dryer to the outside), that's a better--and cheaper--choice.

Washer/dryers have separate energy labels for each component, but a water label only for the washer. There should be a requirement also to label the amount of water used by the condenser dryer.

DETAILS

Brand/model LG Combined Steam Washer and Dryer WD-1248RD (champagne pink)

Price $2874

Capacity (wash/dry) 9 kg / 5 kg

Dimensions (mm) 925 H x 635 W x 720 D Also available in white and with 8/4 kg or 10/6 kg capacity.

IN A NUTSHELL

* Ads for the LG Combined Steam Washer and Dryer dub it "a revolution in the laundry" with claims it'll give you cleaner clothes and save energy, water, time and space. But our tests reveal it doesn't quite live up to its press.

* CHOICE wants the full amount of water used by washer/dryers--to dry as well as to wash--to be declared prominently on the water efficiency label.

Source Citation
"Waterlogged: the LG washer/dryer uses more water to dry clothes than to wash them." Choice [Chippendale, Australia] Aug. 2007: 39. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.
Document URL
http://find.galegroup.com/gps/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&docId=A167585013&source=gale&srcprod=AONE&userGroupName=broward29&version=1.0


Gale Document Number:A167585013

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