EcoRenovator  

Go Back   EcoRenovator > Improvements > Appliances & Gadgets
Advanced Search
 


Blog Register 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips Recent Posts Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-22-08, 04:34 PM   #1
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 164 Times in 96 Posts
Default My Laundry Room upgrade

Hey everyone,

About two weeks ago, I saw a stacked, front-loading washer and dryer for sale at a local rummage sale.

For a good while, I have been interested in front loaders because they save so much water, but have not wanted to pay top dollar for brand new machines.


(Current laundry room setup. No counter space other than setting laundry baskets on top of machines.)

I figured I could wait until I found some used ones at a better price.

I bought the washer and dryer and had the seller drop them off at my house. They were still stacked, which was NOT what I wanted, and were left on my back porch until I could get time to move the older washer and dryer out of our small laundry/utility room to make space.

My brother came over one night, and we grunted the old washer and dryer out of the house and the new ones (still stacked) inside.


(Old washer and drier moved to porch)


(New washer and dryer moved inside.)

For the life of me, I could not figure out how to seperate the stacked washer and dryer. Together, they were too tall to fit under our cabinets, and we really didn't need more floor space, but rather we could use some counter space.

There are two screws in the front of the dryer (top unit) that must be removed to take it off. The screws are only accessible from inside the machine. The left side one could be reached from the natural gas servicing panel. The other one was totally unreachable. In the end, I removed the left screw with a vice grips (only the pointy end of the screw could be reached, not the head end) and I used a Sawzall with metal-cutting blade between both machines to zing off the sheet metal tab that held them together.

Finally apart, I was able to begin hooking up both the new washer and dryer.


(New washer and dryer, apart, and in place.)

The new washer worked great. When it began to dump the used water, I was ready with empty 5-gallon buckets to catch the waste-water to see how much the machine used. This machine came out to almost exactly 20 gallons per load. My old machine used 35-40 gallons per load.


(The new washer "bucket-testing" out at almost exactly 20 gallons.)

One reason we would like to conserve water is that our waste-water is very expensive. We have a 2000 gallon holding tank. It costs about $90 to empty it, and we go through that much water (showers, toilet, cooking, clothes washing, etc.) about every five weeks.

We paid $250 for the matched set of the washer and dryer. I did the math to figure how much money it would save us in water. If we sold our old washer and dryer in the classifieds for $100, that brings our actual cost of the new ones to $150. Based on 4 loads of laundry per week, our return on investment is just over one year.

Now to try out the dryer.

Oh no! It tumbles, but the clothes don't get hot!
Time to troubleshoot it.
When the top cover was removed, I found there was a repair schematic inside. That will come in handy.


(My guide to fixing this thing.)

I went to AcmeHowTo.com for some general information on how gas dryers work, and how to repair them. In just a paragraph or two, I had a much better understanding of how a gas dryer works.

Mine uses a glow plug, very similar to my gas stove.
The glow plug uses electricity to heat an element (just like a toaster!) and when it it hot, opens up the gas valve, which is ignited by the hot element, which then turns off. There is also a temperature sensor in there which makes the right things happen at the right times.

On my dryer, the glow plug would turn on and off, but the gas valve would never open. It seems like the temperature sensor worked right, because it would turn the glow plug back off, once it was up to temperature. That means the problem is somewhere in the gas valve.

The gas valve is opened using electro-magnets called solenoids.
I got some values on the internet for what the coil of a gas dryer solenoid should read using the resistance setting on a multimeter. It should be around 1300 ohms.


(The double-solenoid on the natural gas valve, with one coil removed.)


I took the quick connections off the coils and tested them. The first one read fine, but the secondary coil didn't. It was dead.

I then tested the solenoids themselves by placing a strong elemental magnet near the solenoid. I could hear the valve click open, and then back shut, when I removed the magnet.

The secondary coil was definately bad, and must be replaced.

Fortunately, I have a full-service appliance store only a few miles from my house. I called them, and they said they had a solenoid coil kit in stock for $30. I drove out there, tested the new solenoid coils with my multimeter before purchasing, and bought them.


(New Solenoid Coils.)

Back home, I installed the new pair of coils (I got both the primary and secondary, and figured I may as well put both in, couldn't buy just the one.) and tested out the dryer.

Sure enough, the glow plugs glows, followed by the gas valve opening and a nice, hot purple flame heating the dryer.


(Gas dryer - Now With Flame!)

The dryer came with a top, but the washer didn't because they were stacked.





I used a piece of vibration absorbing foam rubber as a cover for the washer, and then covered the whole thing with the least expensive countertop available at the big box home improvement store. The countertop has a back edge to it, to keep things from falling behind the laundry machines.

This small laundry room now has more more counter space, uses slightly less electricity, and 40% less water.


BEFORE


AFTER

I may still add legs to the countertop to make it into a "table" because both machines do vibrate a fair amount while in use. We will see if it's an issue or not.

Also, please note that I did turn off the gas valve while working on the machine, am not a smoker, and followed other rules of safety.

Til next time,

keep ecorenovating,

-Ben

__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-08, 06:32 AM   #2
toyobug
avid DIY'r
 
toyobug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: MS. Gulf Coast
Posts: 154
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Love the improvements! As always you provide excellent pics and explanations. Good idea using the prefab countertop. I think I'll use that idea myself. I have the front loaders too and have a need for more counter space.
toyobug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-08, 07:20 AM   #3
groar
X-Frenchy: very
 
groar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toulouse, France
Posts: 153
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

Great improvements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
For a good while, I have been interested in front loaders because they save so much water, but have not wanted to pay top dollar for brand new machines.
We will change our washer next year. Do you know why front loader washers use less water ?

Quote:
I went to AcmeHowTo.com for some general information on how gas dryers work, and how to repair them. In just a paragraph or two, I had a much better understanding of how a gas dryer works.
I didn't know gas dryers existed... but we do not have gas at home, except for cooking.
Our washer integrates a dryer but we almost never use it. Thanks for the link to AcmeHowTo.com

Quote:
I used a piece of vibration absorbing foam rubber as a cover for the washer, and then covered the whole thing with the least expensive countertop available at the big box home improvement store. The countertop has a back edge to it, to keep things from falling behind the laundry machines.
Great idea. This is an advantage for front loaders. May help to decide in a year.

Denis.
__________________
Earth absorbs 1.8 t CO2/head/yr, while a French generates 6.2 t CO2/yr
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
  • kg saved 06/08-08/09: 1816.9+382.9 (ecodriving / 1420mi not driven) = 2199.8
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    (2.66 kg/l diesel)
  • kg saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels : 187 kg/yr
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    (59.1 g/kWh)
Radioactive wastes saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels :
  • Long life (>100,000 years) : 2.85 g/yr (0.9 mg/kWh)
  • Short life (<300 years) : 31.7 g/yr (10.0 mg/kWh)
Based upon "official" French figures...
groar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-08, 07:55 AM   #4
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,439
Thanks: 1,094
Thanked 360 Times in 294 Posts
Default

Looks good Ben! I didn't know you had to do the repair job though. Glad you figured it out easy enough.

Under one year ROI is pretty darn good too. I think anything with an ROI under 5 years is definitly worth doing.

Have you looked into low flow shower heads and sink faucet aerators?
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by Daox; 09-23-08 at 07:59 AM..
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-08, 04:27 PM   #5
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 164 Times in 96 Posts
Default

I believe that the concept of how front loader washers use less water is very simple.

Water falls to the bottom. Rotating on a horizontal axis makes all the clothes go through the water, ever if there isn't a lot in there.

On a standard washer, which spins on a vertical axis, the only way to rotate all the clothes through the water is to fill the water level all the way up to the top of the clothes.

That might be twice as much water!


TIP: Since front loading washers have a water-tight seal on the door, don't always close them all the way, then the water inside can evaporate instead of getting "funky" smells in there!
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-08, 04:45 PM   #6
SVOboy
Administrator
 
SVOboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 291
Thanks: 3
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default

Wow, looks great! Quite a deal just happening upon the washer/dryer combo.
SVOboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-08, 04:29 AM   #7
groar
X-Frenchy: very
 
groar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toulouse, France
Posts: 153
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
I believe that the concept of how front loader washers use less water is very simple.

Water falls to the bottom. Rotating on a horizontal axis makes all the clothes go through the water, ever if there isn't a lot in there.

On a standard washer, which spins on a vertical axis, the only way to rotate all the clothes through the water is to fill the water level all the way up to the top of the clothes.
I don't remember to have seen a vertical axis washer. Our top loader has an horizontal axis.

Denis.
__________________
Earth absorbs 1.8 t CO2/head/yr, while a French generates 6.2 t CO2/yr
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
  • kg saved 06/08-08/09: 1816.9+382.9 (ecodriving / 1420mi not driven) = 2199.8
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    (2.66 kg/l diesel)
  • kg saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels : 187 kg/yr
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    (59.1 g/kWh)
Radioactive wastes saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels :
  • Long life (>100,000 years) : 2.85 g/yr (0.9 mg/kWh)
  • Short life (<300 years) : 31.7 g/yr (10.0 mg/kWh)
Based upon "official" French figures...
groar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-08, 08:23 AM   #8
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 164 Times in 96 Posts
Default

Here's some info from the American Council on Efficiency

Quote:
2. Front- vs. Top-Loading Washers
In general, horizontal-axis (usually front-loading) washers are much more efficient than conventional vertical-axis (top-loading) washers with agitators. This is because front-loading washers don't have to fill the tub completely with water. New top-loading designs that use sprayers to wet the clothes from above can also achieve substantial energy and water savings compared to conventional top-loaders, but they may not clean clothes as effectively, according to Consumer Reports.
Efficient Clothes Washing
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-08, 08:12 AM   #9
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 164 Times in 96 Posts
Default

My holding tank alarm just went off.

This is the first time it has been full with "normal" water usage since starting to use the front loading washer.

It has been 6 weeks and a day since the tank was last emptied. Previously, it had almost always been exactly 5 weeks.

This pretty much means one less pumping of the holding tank per year; about the same cost as the difference in price of what I bought the new machines for less selling the old ones.

I also did the math on our water usage. It comes to 23 gallons per person, per day. That sounds like a lot. I tried to find information on the "average" American water usage, and found numbers ranging between 70 to 170 gallons per day.

I like being below average!
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-08, 08:35 AM   #10
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,439
Thanks: 1,094
Thanked 360 Times in 294 Posts
Default

Wow, that does seem like a lot. I wonder how much I use...

Have you considered the two flush system? I would imagine that would pay for itself fairly quickly as its not very expensive.

TwoFlush --- The water saving dual flush upgrade for your existing toilet!

__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Tags
dryer, laundry, washer, water

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger
Inactive Reminders By Icora Web Design