Information about High-Efficiency Washing Machines and how to choose the best appliance for your home just in time for Labor Day.

Labor Day is quickly approaching. Only one month to get in as many bar-b-ques, pool parties, and beach trips as possible. The long weekend will also host many family trips, do-it-yourself projects, and sale extravaganzas.

Whether you are looking to replace an appliance; that is on its last leg (or dead altogether) or are just looking for something more energy-efficient Labor Day sales may have just the deal you are looking for to make the purchase that much more sweet.

What Is A “HE” Appliance?

“HE” stands for high efficiency. Simply put, high-efficiency appliances use less energy to operate. Appliances that also use water use less of it. Less Energy + Less Water = More Money In Your Pocket!

High-efficiency appliances often earn an ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR labels are backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy and are used to identify products that help to reduce greenhouse gasses and pollutants which are formed by the inefficient use of energy. The ENERGY STAR labels make it easier to find the products that will save you money.

ENERGY STAR products can sometimes qualify for rebates, tax-exemptions, or credits to encourage people to opt for products that will lower energy use. By entering your zip code and appliance purchases you will find a list of participating offers in your area.

How Are HE Washers Different From My Mom’s Old Washer?

First, let’s check out how a traditional washer works. A basin filled with clothes, water, and soap is swished around by an agitator. The soapy, dirty water drains then the basin fills again with fresh water to agitate and rinse again. The automation of this process simplified one of the many responsibilities of housewives.

The amount of water and speed of the agitator is determined by the cycle that is selected at the beginning of the wash. A small load of delicate clothes requires a low level of water and a slow agitation. A large heavy load requires more water and force to swish that load around. The operator has to determine what works. There are not many options to reduce the amount of energy and water used.

New HE washers take some of the guesswork out of washing and saving the planet (and wallet) at the same time. The operator only needs to choose the type of laundry that is put into the washer and the machine is set to wash the load at the correct temperature.

The water level is very low and can sometimes not even be seen. Some machines can sense how much is in the load and adjust the water level accordingly.

There are two types of HE washers: front-loading and top-loading. Front-loading machines work by rotating a load of laundry through a shallow pool of water. The tumbling motion pushes the soils out of the clothes as they pass through the water. Top-loading washers work in a similar. The laundry spins rotates and/or wobbles through a low level of water. Both types of the washer can include sprayers that push water through the fabric as the load spins.

This gentle washing motion not only saves water but can extend the life of the fabric. By constantly moving the fabric through the water, the load never sits in a basin of dirty water as it swishes back and forth.

Special Needs

There are two notable maintenances that will extend the life of a HE washer. First, only HE detergent should be used with HE washers. The HE detergent is low sudsing. Regular detergents create more suds which could clog the mechanisms of HE washers and prevent it from working properly or at all.

Second, due to the way the water sits in the machines a maintenance cycle must be run weekly or monthly depending on manufacture’s recommendations.

The low water can pool in the machines which can cause mold or bacteria to grow (just like in traditional washers). Cleaning the machine with the maintenance cycle will keep the parts of the machine working and laundry smelling fresh.

Labor Day Sales

There is no doubt that HE washers will be included in the many price cuts offered over the holiday weekend, and if you are in the market for a new one, you may find your perfect machine is offered at a fantastic price.

But, it is important to do your research ahead of time. Because the way HE washers clean laundry is basically the same, you need to know what features will work best for you. Basic models include wash cycles similar to a traditional washer (heavily soiled, delicate, normal) while higher end models offer numerous settings for many types of fabrics or situations (sportswear, children’s clothes, towels).

Browse the selection of various stores on-line and in person. Examining the features on-line will give you a good sense of what each store offers and allows for easy price comparison, but checking out how each machine is made may make or break the deal.

The size of the basin of the machine can easily be compared this way as it is sometimes hard to understand exactly how much laundry can fit into a 3.5 cubic feet space and a 4.5 cubic feet space. The doors of some machines can be flipped to accommodate the space they will be located in and some have more durable handles. Each household need is different and viewing the machines in person will help determine what works for you.