Twelve years ago I was in the market for a clothes washer and dryer. I wanted to have the washer and dryer in the kitchen area and not the basement, which meant space was tight. I knew that a combo washer / dryer existed at that time. And when I talk about a combo washer /dryer, I’m talking about one unit that had the capacity to wash and dry and not a stackable washer and dryer.
If you look at the screen shot from the BBC show, “Hetty Wainthropp Investigates”, which was produced from 1996 to 1998, in the kitchen, behind Patricia Routledge’s shoulder, is an appliance with a round opening. This appliance was a combination clothes washer and dryer which was popular in England even then. I tried finding such an appliance here in the United States 12 years ago but was unsuccessful. Hetty had one, but I couldn’t.
So I settled for a smaller size stackable unit. This smaller sized stackable unit had only a 1.7 cubic foot capacity. And although the capacity was small, it used a lot of water and a lot of energy. A while ago the dryer started to whine and I thought it might have to do with a bearing. And then about a month ago, the pump went. Parts and labor are expensive. It was 12 years old and I wasn’t thrilled with the appliance to begin with. So I started searching to see if that combo was now available. And it was!
Having found the combo that I was looking for, I decided to purchase it. There was still dirty, soapy water sitting in the old washer. I had to bail what I could out and then the hose had to be carefully removed from the drain pipe in order for the remainder of the water to be drained out of the tub by gravity. Removing this large, bulky appliance from a tight spot in the kitchen and then out the back door was no easy task. But my friend, Alan, managed to get it out there.
The new model is an LG. It has a 2.3 cubic foot capacity, uses only a small fraction of the water the old washer did, is energy efficient and has ventless drying. It also comes in a larger model…4.3 cubic feet, I think.
I have to admit that installation was challenging. Although the delivery men removed the outer packaging, it was still sitting in the bottom styrofoam protective packaging and cardboard when it made its way into my kitchen. It sat there like that for a couple of weeks as Alan reconfigured the old space for this new unit. Once the new space was ready, the question was how do you (one man and one woman) lift a 155 pound appliance off of the styrofoam it was sitting on? The machine had feet that were sunken within rigid cardboard tubes in the styrofoam. Reading all of the material that comes with the machine, I was well aware that this was a very sophisticated appliance and had to be handled very carefully. Alan’s ingeneous mind was working overtime trying to figure this one out. Finally, using a combination of wooden blocks and wooden planks, the machine was lifted high enough for the styrofoam and cardboard to be removed.
Even doing my first load of wash was intimidating. I read the user’s manual several times (okay, many times) and still felt uncertain. I had to buy high energy detergent to use in the machine. I didn’t even know this existed before. I carefully measured the detergent and put it in the tray. I loaded the wash, with the heavier items loaded first toward the back as instructed. I turned on the machine, selected the type of wash…I figured “normal” was safe. I selected “normal” dry as well and pressed the start button. I could see the clothes move slightly inside, then stop. Move slightly again, and stop. This went on for bit. It was slightly unnerving. As I understand it, the machine is analyzing the weight of the load and determining how much water to use and how long it will take to wash and dry. Once it is finished with its analysis, the total number of minutes shows on the display panel. And then the wash cycle begins.
The control panel lights up once the on button on the left is pushed. There are many wash settings to choose from, and I chose permanent press for my next load (shown above). Spin speed and water temperature are preset but you can choose to change those preset selections (which I haven’t so far). And I chose normal for dry. I was washing a full size sheet, a couple of hand towels, several tee shirts and some underwear in this load. You see that “4:38” on the control panel? Well that is the total time calculated to wash, rinse, spin and dry this load. Yes, I takes considerably longer than the traditional separate washer and dryer takes. But the size, capacity, economy and performance outweigh the time as far as I’m concerned. Plus, It’s pretty! I like looking at it. And when it is finished washing and drying, it plays a little song (no nasty buzzer). If you don’t remove the clothes immediately, it will tumble the clothes every 30 seconds or so in order to help eliminate wrinkles setting in. It will continue doing this for four hours!
And I had mentioned that the space was being “reconfigured” to accomodate the new machine, remember? Alan built a cupboard in the space above the new combo unit. What looks like an enlarged photo of my pole beans is actually the cupboard door.
I had the pole bean photo printed on canvas and Alan incorporated that canvas within the cupboard door so that it looks like an abstract piece of art hanging on the wall and not a cupboard door. He’s so clever.
In case you’re interested in this LG combo, here’s some additional info:
Hetty’s got nothing on me.