Washing Machine

How it Work

There are two types of washing machines: the top loading and the front loading. The top loading (AKA the impeller type) uses an impeller to rotate and scrub your laundry. The front loader has a perforated drum that rotates at a predetermined speed and direction set by the different washing cycles. The front loading washing machine uses less water than a top loading machine, but is unable to perform a “soaking” cycle where the machine tub is left full to treat tough stains.  

Drums for both types are suspended in a frame within the housing. An imbalance protection system shuts down the unit whenever there’s an uneven load. The washing machine uses rubber tubing for hot and cold water supply lines and includes a discharge drain to release waste water. The flexible rubber tubing prevents damage to the piping system from washer

What Can Go Wrong?

Washing machines use a drive belt - connected to an electric motor - to rotate the impeller or drum. The drive belt degrades over time and will eventually cause the machine to stop working. A washing machine repair technician may be needed to replace the belt. The electric motor operates inside a damp environment. Typical motor problems and general degradation can be caused by overly full laundry loads or repeated slippage of the drive belt.

Environmental Impact

The difference between a low and high efficiency washing machine is partly measured by the cycle settings they offer. The load carried in each cycle will also affect the energy consumption. Energy usage per load varies significantly by age and condition of the washer, but a gross estimate based on six loads per week will consume about 996 kilowatt-hours (kWh), producing about 1,530 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2).


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