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5 days ago we phoned in a meter reading for our water bill. Yesterday the phone rang and it was the regional water department. They say that our consumption has slowed to the point that it was flagged by their system. She suggested that we must've keyed in the meter reading incorrectly.

My husband went downstairs, took a new meter reading and called her back. She said our meter must not be working. She and my husband did a diagnostic on the meter and it seems to be working fine. She asked him if we have been away for a couple of months and not been using the water. We haven't.

Then she asked him if we had made changes to our water usage. He told her that we got a new washer/dryer in January. She said that was the discrepency. She said the washer will pay for itself within a year. Our old washer and dryer were only 8 years old - how inefficient could they have been? We haven't received our new water bill yet, but she says we will be pleasantly surprised.
 

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Us too. Also since the clothes come out almost dry, they dryer has to work less - a real energy consumer. If you hang clothes (granted some loads are better than others for that) you save tons of electricity.

We have two babies so the value was quick.

I think we save on laundry detergent too.
 

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I think we save on laundry detergent too.
We are definitely saving on laundry detergent. The installation guy told me to use half of whatever amount of detergent was recommended on the container. I ran this by a few of my friends and they concurred. I use way less detergent than before and our laundry comes out just as clean.

The installation guy also told me that frontloaders are most efficient when they are packed full. He said this is because there is no agitator in the machine, the clothes agitate off eachother. Again, I ran this by my already-frontload-convert friends and they concur. I am able to put the bedding for all our beds in one load - unheard of with our old machines - and use less soap. So I guess I can see how the savings would add up.

It's just frustrating that 8 years ago when we bought our previous machines we bought the most energy efficient ones we could find, and now they are sooo much more efficient. Is an 8-10 year life cycle for appliances going to be the new norm? Because that's kind of expensive. I remember when I was growing up people bragged about keeping their appliances for 25 years. Are those days gone?
 

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Just make sure you use the HE detergent. We found out the hard way that our front load died after only a few years. The repairman said the most commen reason for front loads dying is not using the right detergent, and using too much. We were told that it could more than double life using HE, and only need about a tablespoon/load, 2 if it's really dirty.
 

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And don't go with the fancy smanchy electronic machines.... get a reliable, mechanical machine. They will last you years, 20 or more. You do NOT want the fancy HE machines that sears sells, my god it's ridiculous to replace one circuit breaker in the things. Ask the repair man, not the sales man, when you're looking at buying a new machine.

We bought the HE (front load) set from Sears, paid a frigging fortune for them (nearly 5K at the time) and they crapped out three times in the first year... they were still under warranty and we were SO angry at the crap quality we really pushed to have them returned, which thankfully Sears allowed us to do.

When we asked the repair guy what we should buy, he recommended the Frigidaire front load washer. We bought two sets used, and have been absolutely pleased with both sets - one is in our rental condo in Vancouver, and has been used by tenants for over 10 years with zero repairs required so far, and our second set, in our own house, had the water pump go, which was around $100 to buy and it was easy for my husband to install himself.

We will never ever buy a fancy "top of the line" appliance with a bunch of electronic crap in it ever again!
 

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Just make sure you use the HE detergent. We found out the hard way that our front load died after only a few years. The repairman said the most commen reason for front loads dying is not using the right detergent, and using too much. We were told that it could more than double life using HE, and only need about a tablespoon/load, 2 if it's really dirty.
"HE"? What is that?
 

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'HE' is high efficiency (I think all front loads are HE). The detergent is a little different in terms of it compostion. It doesn't sud as much, and doesn't leave whatever the residue is that killed my last machine.

There's a little 'HE' swirl on the detergent box itself.
 

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Yep, I use 1 tablespoon of high-efficiency detergent, and it does a great job; it takes me a long, long time to go through a big bottle of detergent.

We've had our front-loader since 2002 and it's been totally reliable -- almost 10 years old at this point and we've never had any problems with it.
 

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When I was a Girl Guide, we did a whole segment on cleaning clothes - and the leader told us that 90% of the results come from agitation, not detergent (i.e., water is a powerful solvent all on its own!).

I use a tiny bit of detergent - maybe a tablespoon - in my HE washer and if I happen to need to wash clothes and there's no detergent available, I just wash 'em without it. :)

As a bonus, line-drying clothing inside in winter provides free humidification.
 

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WHEN DO WE WANT THEM? Now - or whenever the lowest-cost time-of-use rates kick in!!

I'm usually not too rushed for clean clothes. Hhowever, I did really really wished the the washing machine in our apartment building was alot faster (I don't care how much the cost), when my 68 y/o neighbor decided to stand in the hallway wearing nothing but a speedo, and flipflops, waiting for his clothes to clean/dry. Apparently, he didn't like paying more for the soap, and laudry, so waited until the Speedo was his ONLY thing not washed... :eek:

Nice man, but I really didn't want to just 'hang' out with him at the time.
 

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We bought the Samsung front loading washer and dryer with the steam option.My water bills are $180 every 3 months but I think in general all water bills have increased this year.Where we notice our savings is a full load of clothes is dry in 20 minutes compared to 1 hour in our old washer.Also we same quite a bit on dry cleaning with the steam option.We paid $2900 for the set but we have noticed our clothes are looking brand new and my hydro bill is very low compared to old house which was half the size.
 

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Is an 8-10 year life cycle for appliances going to be the new norm?
Based on how cheaply made my new Fridgedair energy efficient fridge is..
(the door seal is so weak that sometimes the doors don't quite seal)..I would say yes..
the new norm is 8-10 years on the new appliances..well... maybe the stove and dryer will last a bit longer..
but things are not made as well as they used to..because a lot of the parts are not sourced from China. use of a LOT of plastic
vs metal..and made a lot cheaper for the NA companies profit margin.

Because that's kind of expensive. I remember when I was growing up people bragged about keeping their appliances for 25 years. Are those days gone?
Those days are gone forever, Dana. If they made appliances to last 25 years these days, most of the appliance companies would be out of business.
Appliance companies, and the retail industry's survival depend on consumers going out and getting new appliances (just like cars), because the new ones are either more energy or water efficient (in the case of the front load washers),
and in most cases have better features than the appliances that were made 10 years back. Ditigal everything and you can
even program the front loaders to play a tune for you when they are done with the wash/dry cycle..how cool is that?

Take for instance the Corning top stoves. While it was a nice idea from the spill proof angle and estetics,
BUT...it took a lot of electricity to heat the pot on the ceramic top. That was fine a few years ago when electricity rates
were "cheap" but not now..and the electricity rates will never go down again.

The new induction stoves ( tops) with convection ovens is the way to go for energy efficiency these days...BUT
you need the special cookware to work with the induction coils. So now, you toss out those old stainless pots
and go for the super-duper $500 set of induction pots....see what I mean..even the cookware companies are
benefitting from this technological changeover that is happening. As the demand increases and the price
comes down on the new ranges (remember how expensive the front loaders were 5 years back?), more and
more people will be buying these in their first homes..and if they are sick of the old greasy stoves they have
that have lasted 15 yrs or more..and just basic timers, the new ones will have a console keypad and you can
program the new appliance to cook that roast to perfection and it will play you a tune too!

Induction heating has been around a long time in the steel industry as the most efficient way of heating up scrap steel..now if you can afford the $3000 (current price) induction range..it will boil the pot of water in 60-70% less time than the conventional element stove..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction_cooker

The only drawback, I see is that because of the electronic complexity, you really need an extended warranty on these kinds of stoves..the tradeoff being...

either you buy the conventional electric stove (CHEAP to buy and cheap to
repair) and accept the higher electricity operating costs...
OR

You go out and buy the latest high tech appliance, get the extended warranty and TRY to save that way on energy costs..however, the cost of the new appliance (price + taxes) usually outweighs MOST of the energy savings..

so in the end..it may be a moot point. ,,but it sure is nice to have that new appliance.
 
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