Energy-saving washing machines elicit complaints

by: Jim Strickland Updated:


ATLANTA - A Forsyth County woman believes her new washing machine is wasting water, even though it’s part of a generation of washers created to live up to a government mandate to conserve.

Louise Dickerson went to Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland for help. He found similar complaints online about the machine’s rinsing abilities.
"I'm wasting water with this machine. You'll see," Dickerson told Strickland as she loaded sheets and towels into the Admiral washer she bought in October.
"I use the recommended amount of suds, always," she said.
After her clothes got agitated, so did she.
"They don't need to make washing machines like this. They're using more and more water  --  twice as much water as I used to use," Dickerson said.
Strickland measured the water in the rinse level at slightly more than 5 inches.  It topped off only halfway up the clothes spin inside the drum, just before the final spin, suds were still visible. 

Dickerson said she usually has to re-rinse.
"I don't like it. I want to save water," she said.
On appliance forums, Strickland saw similar complaints. Authorized repair expert Brannon Harris said once the final spin is done, the clothes will be clean. He said the issue with low water machines is the dirt left that you can't see.
He pulled the drum from a machine under repair to show the gleaming tub on the inside and the grimy outside caked with dirt, grime and flaky old detergent.
"See how clean it is on the inside of the machine?  On the walls, but on the outside, that stuff kind of stays there. It's on your clothes," said Harris. "We can spend hours cleaning a machine, and it's eventually going to come back with the design."
The manufacturer, Whirlpool, said Dickerson's complaint is unusual, and that she may have a water quality issue.  Click here for the company's full statement.
"[I’m] very, 100 percent disappointed," she said.