If your water bill keeps getting higher, a new high efficiency washing machine may be the answer to lowering it back down to a more reasonable level. They use less than half the water of conventional washers.
But a growing number of people are complaining their h-e washers -- in particular, top loaders without agitators inside-- are not getting the job done.
"Dude, you Stink!"
Ed Wallace is a firefighter, who takes pride in his appearance and cleanliness.
But that recently changed at the firehouse. "I walked past my guys and they say 'dude you stink!''" Wallace said.
He couldn't believe it. "I smelled myself, and yeah, that's me stinking," he said.
Wallace realized his clean clothing still smelled like a combination of sweat and smoke from recent house fires.
He suspects the problem is his 4 month old washing machine, a high efficiency top loader from Whirlpool.
He says it doesn't use enough water to clean his clothing. He has photos on his phone that appear to show large dry areas on his shirts, after a wash load completed.
"I have dry spots after I pull my clothes out of the washing machine, because it won't fill up with enough water, and it's not getting all my clothes wet," he said.
Tried Everything, no Improvement
Ed says he's tried everything: using a number of different h-e detergents, calling Whirlpool for advice, sometimes using more, sometimes less soap.
He even had a Whirlpool repairman come out who, under warranty, replaced the machine's mother board in case it was acting up.
He says in the end none of it made any difference.
Wilson showed us what he's dealing with, by starting a load, using the maximum water feature called "Deep Water."
But after it filled up and started running, he opened the lid (after hitting the cancel button to unlock it) and showed how little water was being used.
"Look at the water in there, almost none," he said, as a bundle of shirts sat in about 2 inches of soapy water.
Whirlpool explains these machines are designed to save water and lower owner costs, adding water based on the weight of the clothing inside. The machines actually weigh the load before deciding how much water to use.
Complaints Pile Up Online
But online forums at sites like ConsumerAffairs.com, and even Amazon reviews, are filled with hundreds of complaints about poor wash quality, for high efficiency top loaders made by many different companies, not just Whirlpool.
Front loaders don't have as many complaints, and in fact tend to get excellent user reviewers for cleanliness. Front loaders tumble the clothing, so that all of it gets washed and rinsed, unlike top loaders.
For Wallace's model, 89% of the 170 reviews on Amazon are negative, giving it just one star (it gets higher customer reviews on Whirlpool's website).
As for Whirlpool, the company tells us it is now investigating Wallace's complaint.
But in the meantime, he has received some good news. After we contacted hh gregg, the appliance store where Wallace bought his machine, the store has agreed to let him swap it out for another washer.
Wallace says he is going to look at front loaders this time.
As always, don't waste your money.
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