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Old 05-26-2008, 08:08 PM   #1
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Energy Star Appliances Re: Washer-Dryers

I am in the market to buy a washer dryer within the next month as I move into my first house that we just bought.

Just stated looking around now just to see what is out there at Lowe's

so we saw these front load washer and dryers being around $1100+, while top load being around $300-$500 for the average prices.

some top end Top End Energy star washers I saw for even $1000 (GE)

question is, after looking at the pro's and con's for front load/energy star, one question comes to my mind. "What's the Point?"

Energy Star website stats an average of $550 over the lifetime of the washer. but factor in the prices of the energy star/front load, and that any repairs will cost more on a front load than a top load, you don't really save anything. even not considering repair costs, the price premium of the front-load/energy star makes it not worth it. i get the savings up front rather than over a period of even 10 years.

i am not the "energy conservative" person, so buying it on that basis does not affect me, as that would seem to be the only other reason to get it.

I am not really sure on the track record of the front-load washer/dryers. places I have read was info posted around 1-2 years ago, when it seems that these washer/dryers were starting to get popular. they were saying there could be issues with them, mechanical issues, etc. but I am not sure if any of those issues have been fixed in the recent models. (as one con they stated for front load was that once you start, you cannot stop it in the middle. but it seems that is no longer the case as I see pause buttons on almost all of the front load washers I looked at. so not sure if the issues i read about have been resolved since also?)

if i knew that the front end/energy star appliances lasted longer, then the savings could possibly outdo a top loader?

but as far as i know:

- use less water and electricity
- use less room as they can be stacked
- look better (hehe)
- quiet compared to top load from vibrations

- heavier
- more costly to repair
- more prone to mechanical errors (??)
- track record not as known?
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Old 05-27-2008, 12:04 AM   #2
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You will normally save the most energy (and money) by buying a used W&D. There is always someone trying to get rid of a perfectly good W&D because they think they "need" the latest + greatest front loader that is painted to match their laundry room trim.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:07 AM   #3
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The above poster is 100% correct. While energy star / front loading washers do save energy, you pay for that savings tenfold right up front. Further, the matching clothes dryer is no more energy efficient than any other clothes dryer, but because it matches the $750.00 - $1100.00 washer it ALSO costs almost as much.

If you want to save a buck AND save energy, purchase a standard W/D and use only cold water and the clothesline whenever possible. Look to save energy on things you use every day or all the time, like an energy efficient car, lighting, television, dishwasher, computer, etc...
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:46 AM   #4
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I personally prefer a front loading washer because of it's cleaning ability. I have owned both kinds over the years and a front loader cleans every bit as well as a top loader but it's way more gentle on your clothes. So you can add to your "pros" list:
- clothes will last longer (compared to washing with front loader)
- uses less soap.

Also, I don't always buy the return-on-investment (ROI) argument. If I have $600 to spend and buy a washer for $400, that doesn't mean that I bank the saved $200 and put that towards the larger utility bills. But if I spend the entire $600, I will instantly see savings on my utilities. Unless you're buying the appliance on credit, I tend to see people more worried about their overall monthly budgets than the initial purchase price. That's why I don't put so much validity to the ROI debate.
That said, if you pay full price for a top of the line front loader, you've just screwed yourself! I have never come close to paying top dollar for top quality. Along with the used option, here are 2 more. Try an outlet store. Not sure where you're located but Sears has appliance outlet stores. I have purchased a Kenmore front loader from there that had a dent in the lower case. It was strictly aesthetic but I only paid $550. It was brand new and came with a full warranty. Another way to save big is last years models. I just purchased a top of the line LG front loader and received $650 off because the store wanted to clear inventory for the newer models.
Those are 2 simple ways to get yourself into a better line of washing machine. The last bit of advise is to reiterate something that was already mentioned. Unless you have some designer laundry room that's on the cover of a magazine, don't worry about matching the washer and dryer. Sure, you can get a fancy Ferrari-red top-load washer, but the over-priced matching dryer is no more efficient than the white model that's $400 cheaper. A dryer, to me, is all about capacity and controls. I make sure that the dryer, at least, has temperature controls so I don't have to bake my clothes dry. Low heat works just fine which is another way to save your fabrics. Besides, my fancy front loader spins at such a high rate, most clothes come out of the washer fairly dry to begin with.
I don't buy my appliance purchases to be "green". I buy them because they do their job great. As a side-effect, I happen to save money on utilities too. If that makes me "green", so be it.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:18 PM   #5
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hmmmm... for what it is worth, my front-loader actually washes better and faster than my old top-loader did. this is sortof a big deal, as i work in the oilfield, and an always shoving nasty greasy coveralls into it. have never had any problems with dirt from one load getting on the next load. as an aside, the rig i work on has maytag front-loading washer (and the matching dryers) like mine. there are over 100 people on the rig at a time. this = about 100 loads of laundry going through 7 washers per day. they haven't replaced any of the washers in over a year. i think this will probably outlive any standard family use. another thing would be to consider that many laundromats are going over to front loading washers. i would guess that they are not going to select a type of machine that is going to break down quickly...

all of that being said... there is a trick to buying appliances:
1) sign up on home depot, lowes, and many other store's site saying you "moved" they will send you a 10% coupon, good for a single trip, usually up to $5000.
2) wait for a holiday... 4th of July, memorial day, etc all of the appliances go on an additional 10+% off
3) check out the manufacturers' websites. many of them offer rebates if you buy washer/dryer pairs
4) sometimes the box stores offer rebates on energy star appliances
5) and, as a previous poster mentioned, sometimes you can get a much better deal at the end of the year

now, add up your 20% off, subtract the rebates and discounts, and count in the free delivery....

and maybe that high-end washer/dryer combo is cheaper than you thought. was for me anyway.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:34 AM   #6
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I've had my Whirlpool Duets for about 7 years now without any issues. We're able to wash larger loads of clothes compared to the extra large washer and dryer pair we had before.

In the past I worked for a retailer that sold appliances and know that there is about 25 - 35% markup on higher end appliances. They really don't make much on the $600 washer and dryer pair. Also, even though the store policy says they don't negotiate on their prices the exception is on open box and return items. There should be a date on the open box tag. This will let you know the last time they marked down the item. Personally, I don't mind a scratch on my washing machine.
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