Washing Machines | HomeTips
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Washing Machines

Washing machines come in top-load and front-load models such as this one.

Expert advice on washing machines, including how to buy the best available washers, and tips for installation and repair.

Fundamentally, a washing machine is a rather simple appliance. It connects to the hot and cold water supplies, has a motorized tub that fills with water and churns the clothes, and has a drain that empties the tub. But, of course, contemporary washing machines are much, much more. They automate just about every task involved in cleaning clothes.

To do their job, automatic washers use a considerable amount of water and electricity. Just how much of both depends upon the efficiency and performance features built into a particular model. Many features are available to boost how efficiently a washing machine performs.

In this section of HomeTips, you’ll find buying advice, as well as helpful information on how a washing machine works and how to install one. You say you don’t need a new washing machine, you just want to fix the old one? Look under Repair & Care to find tips for troubleshooting and solving problems.

Washing Machine Buying Guide

When choosing a washing machine, you want to consider not only energy savings but also your household’s lifestyle. How much a washer is used—and for what types of clothes—will help determine what bells and whistles, if any, you will need. See the Washing Machines Buying Guide for a complete discussion of models and features.

How a Washing Machine Works

Though essentially simple devices, washing machines have become more complicated in recent years due to the number and sophistication of settings and controls they incorporate. For an understanding of the basics, see the detailed diagram in How a Washing Machine Works.

Washer Repair & Care

When something goes wrong with a washing machine, it is typically not difficult to diagnose the problem. Whether an average do-it-yourselfer can perform the fix is another story. Because of the number of features that can be found in a modern-day washer, some repairs are best left to a professional. As with all appliances, proper use and maintenance go a long way toward years of trouble-free service. For what to do about specific problems you may encounter, see Washing Machine Repairs.

Washing Machine Installation

Properly installing a washing machine has mostly to do with making the right water supply hookups. You will also need a standard 120-volt electrical outlet to provide power to the machine’s motor. For a step-by-step walk-through of setting up your washer, see How to Install a Washing Machine.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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