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I seem to have the ability to destroy washing machines far quicker than a lot of people and often find that they only last me about four years. I suspect that this may be partly due to the fact we live in an area where the water is very hard, although I do use calgon in every wash to try and avoid a build up of calcium deposits which is often a cause of failure in washing machines as the pipes fur up and block. I do a washing load on average about five times a week which I don't think is particularly high, so would hope that my latest model, the Hoover WMH147DF, will last a reasonable length of time. I suspect however that it may not and I believe that the electronic side of the machine will probably be the cause of failure before any mechanical aspects.
**My considerations when buying a washing machine**
When buying a washing machine there are a number of things that are a consideration for me and these are factors that were important in making my purchase decision when buying this machine from my local Comet store just over two years ago. I was not loyal to a particular brand, but just wanted to find the machine that offered the best value for money for my requirements.
My first priority was the drum size. I was looking for a reasonably large drum. I knew that a 7kg drum capacity would enable me to wash a good quantity of clothing or bedding in one go, and this Hoover model offered this size of drum. As a family of four we create a fair amount of laundry so I knew that we would always be able to create a full load of this size. Any smaller and I would need to be washing far more frequently and any larger I would struggle to fill a load if some items were needed quickly and I would also struggle to fit the entire contents on my rotary washing line. As it is with this size capacity I am unable to fit it all onto my indoor clothes airer and have to use radiators and the airing cupboard for drying too. For a smaller family or couple I would not recommend this machine as the drum would be too large. I probably am guilty of over loading mine, although it seems to cope well, but I did notice that if I put too many towels in it made a bit of a groaning noise, so I ensure that I don't completely fill the drum when washing heavy items to stay nearer to the recommended weight. I noticed when I brought this that the drum is far less deep than I was used to and the size comes more from the height of it.
Energy efficiency is extremely important to me - I want to spend as little as possible on the running of my appliances. The Hoover is rated at A+ for energy efficiency overall with a spin efficiency of A, which was the highest when I was purchasing. I remember being concerned also about the amount of water consumed and although I can't now find the details of the quantity it uses for each wash I know that it was one of the best at the time. I don't however, believe that I am now using this machine at an A+ level of efficiency which is highly annoying. On the programme selection dial there is one load that is marked as AA40 degree wash which I used for most of my washes for about the first year. Like many economy programmes this load did take ages - 2 3/4 hours, with a 1000rpm spin speed, but for the sake of being economical I planned my loads allowing for these time scales. I can no longer use this load due to a failure of the electronics of the machine which prevents me from being able to access this setting. I now use a 30 degree wash which I'm hoping is still relatively efficient as the water obviously doesn't have to be heated as much. It is also far more convenient as it only takes 1 ½ hours.
My next most important consideration was how the machine looks and I do still think that as washing machines go it is quite stylish looking. It is white and matches the rest of my appliances and cupboard fronts. I like how the top part of the machine is divided into three sections; the outer thirds contain the buttons on the right and the powder tray on the left. These are both an identical curved shaped, wider at the bottom and tapering to the top, giving a nice symmetrical appearance. The door is round until it reaches this central top section where it becomes horizontal and blends in with the central panel, looking very neat. The name model number, capacity and efficiency ratings are printed in silver font on the top section. The door itself has a wide white plastic surround with a large glass central area and the door release lever is recessed behind a wider part of the plastic rim. This releases easily and reliably with just a gentle squeeze. There is a door lock device and light that ensure that it can't be opened whilst in use to avoid any accidents. At the base of the machine is a trap which I believe lets blockages be removed but I've never used this and having just tried I realise it is very low and would be hard to place a tray under it to catch the water that will flow out.
The control panel is attractive with a relatively small twist button to choose between the printed programmes. This does not push in flush to the machine as many do, but I have never found this to be a problem. Five other buttons and a digital display screen complete the outside features of the machine.
Internally the drum is fairly typical looking silver with holes and grey plastic handles that I find useful to spin the drum after use to retrieve the odd socks which inevitably hide themselves out of sight. I am disappointed with the material of the grey rubber seal as this has turned a very unsightly orangey colour in places where it obviously has gone mouldy when it hasn't dried out properly. I used to throw used clothes into the machine to wait for the next load and sometimes closed the door, but now do neither of these things and it hasn't got worse. A couple of times a sock has been shredded while in the wash and I'm not sure what they have caught on as I'm usually careful about keeping things away from the door.
Sizewise this fits neatly under my worktop and into the space left behind by my previous machine so at 89cm high and 59.5cm wide it seems to be a standard size. At 49cm it is less deep than other washing machines that I've had, so we pull it forwards and leave a gap behind.
I use very few features on a washing machine so these were far less important to me, but it does have some handy options. Normal washes are available at 30, 40 , 60 and 90 degrees with pre washes at 30, 40 and 50. There are also 29, 44 and 59 minute fast washes, a sports wash, 30 hand wash and 40 wool wash and drain, spin and rinse only options, all operated from the main dial, as well as the economy wash. I haven't felt the need to try out many of these and they are wasted on me, but for some people they may be useful. I use the 60 degree wash for my bedding and work uniform and 30 degree wash for my light and dark loads. The hand wash load is a useful feature and I don't miss having to hand wash the few clothes that I have that aren't suitable for full washing. The dial links to the electronic display which shows the spin speed and length of time that a wash will take. As mentioned though, judging by the display I seem to have lost the capacity to reliably use many of these loads - whether they would wash accurately and the display is just not right, I'm not sure, but this is obviously a very weak area of this machine and I do worry about what will happen if I lose further programmes. When turning the dial there was a phase where it was very temperamental and I had to make repeated attempts to see the programme that I wanted to use but thankfully this does seem to have settled down.
The positive aspect about the digital display is that it informs you of how much time is remaining in the current wash cycle. I find this incredibly helpful as I can gauge whether it is worth hanging around for the load to finish so that I can peg it out or if I can get on and do something else while I wait. I would always look for a machine with this feature in the future.
The other buttons allow you to start and stop the machine - if you've started on the wrong programme it won't let you change so be careful when selecting. The time delay button is extremely useful. Since someone I knew had a house fire caused by a faulty dish washer, I don't like to have any appliances working when I'm not at home or when we're asleep. I use the timer to set it to come on early in the morning or just as we're coming home. It can be set for a full 24 hours ahead. The other options are a cold wash and sensitive wash, which I don't use and the spin speed can also be adjusted. The default spin speed on the programme that I use the most is 14rpm, so pretty fast, so sometimes I will turn this down if there are things that I think will crease a lot. I do find that the clothes usually come out quite dry even when turned down to 1000rpm so the spin is very effective. It is quite noisy when spinning, but no more so than other washing machines that I've had and the wash cycle itself is quite quiet.
Plumbing in of the machine was included in my delivery cost, so we didn't need to worry about this, but I understand that it is just a matter of connecting pipes to the cold water supply, as the machine heats its own water, and to the waste water pipe.
We have not had to have any repairs carried out so far, but obviously I'm expecting that I will need to do something about the electrics in the future, but as the warranty expired after 1 year, I will leave this until essential. The only thing that needs to be done periodically is to wash out the powder tray which does become very gunked up and eventually I find that my fabric softener doesn't dispense from it into the machine. It takes a while to do this and can be quite fiddly cleaning with a brush between all of the nook s and crannies.
We purchased this for £299.00 two years ago and on the Comet website it is now retailing for £329. This is on the expensive side comparing it to others on the market now, so it is worth shopping around. Ebay suggest that it can be obtained for nearly £100 less.
I do like this machine and have never had any concerns about the quality of the wash, but due to the high cost in comparison to some other makes and the electronic problems that we have experienced I could only tentatively recommend it.
We have been married for 18 and a half years, and in all that time, we've only had to change our washing machine twice, despite them being in pretty much daily use. Our first machine, a Creda, was a wedding present and lasted around twelve years. Our second, a Hotpoint, lasted for about six and gave up the ghost early last year. It was replaced by this Hoover model last March, so by the laws of maths we'll have it for 3 years... I hope very much that the salesperson's prediction of four years' lifespan for a modern machine is at least reached!
We arrived at our decision to buy this model by process of elimination - first by price, and then by depth front to back, since the space we have to house it is inside a cupboard (a strange arrangement that we inherited when we moved here), and since moving in our old machine had been sticking out of said cupboard due to it's size, and I'd been unable to close the doors. This machine is extremely shallow front to back, and it took me a while to figure out why, until I looked inside.
This is the first time that I've had any experience of a 'high' drum, that is a shallow front to back, but higher top to bottom drum (the bit that the washing sits in). I was at first concerned that it would be hard to balance the washing in it, since I'm used to one that goes back a fair way that I can just throw things into. It is certainly a bit more awkward to stack when it's nigh on full, as it does tend to tumble the contents back out very easily, especially if the drum is at all rotated, but I've got used to it. I use one of those liquid detergent dispenser balls so I have to be more careful with that now too in case it falls back out, but it's only happened once so far.
The joint third considerations were capacity and spin speed - we have two daughters, one 15 and the other 11, with all of the extra school etc washing that they bring, and I generally do about ten or twelve washes a week, so the 7 kg load, one kilo more than our previous one, was a draw, as was the spin speed of 1400 rpm (which was 200rpm up on the last one). I can get noticeably more washing done per load now so that was definitely a good move, the only downside being that I need more space to hang it all up!
The spin speed varies. Obviously, as with all machines, the actual top speed depends on how well the load is balanced. It has once just stopped when unbalanced, with no warnings apparent on the display panel, appearing to have finished quite normally, but when the door was opened there was still quite a lot of water in the machine, which made a bit of a mess. That was quite early on though and it hasn't happened again yet. There's often a difference between loads though as far as wetness is concerned after spinning. When it does achieve top speed it's very good, the clothes come out much drier, and are pressed so hard to the sides that they come out covered in small round indentations where they've been pressed against the sides of the drum. It's hit and miss, although this is largely my doing as I don't have time to be worrying how balanced the initial load is!
The display panel on the front at the top tells you how fast a spin you've selected and how much time there is left on the cycle. This can be extremely useful when you're waiting to see if you'll be able to hang out your washing before you go out. There's a good selection of cycles to choose from, and I've used quite a few of them over the last few months. My normal one is the 40 degree wash, which when full takes around two hours, but I've used the 60 degree one for bed & bath linens, the three different quick washes (29 - 59 minutes, 30- 60 degrees), the wool cycle and the hand wash/silk cycle. There are quite a number of others that I have yet to use, but each of the ones that I have used has functioned effectively enough for me to believe that this huge variety isn't just window-dressing! One to note perhaps is the 'sensitive' wash cycle, which uses more water to ensure a more thorough wash & rinse for those with sensitive skins.
I never use the powder drawer, and only rarely use the compartment for softener - both of our daughters have occasional problems with both eczema and psoriasis so I have always avoided using conditioner for their clothes, and therefore ours too since everything tends to end up in together. I do however check it occasionally as it tends to get mildew in it & needs cleaning out.
One thing also worth mentioning is the fluff filter, which in my experience is completely useless. I know how they're meant to work as my Mum's old machine has a wonderfully effective one, but this is nothing more than a giant plastic cotton reel with nothing to catch anything, consequently it's empty when I check it, even after a couple of month's use. Most of the fluff conveniently gathers on the edge of the seal at the bottom of the window so that you can just wipe it away....
On the plus side though, I have never yet had a tissue break up in the wash - I have on several occasions found whole paper tissues scrunched up in amongst the wet clothes. This is something that I am more than prepared to balance with the non-functioning fluff catcher!
On the whole, we've so far been happy with the machine, it's quieter than our last one, seems to be relatively economical to run (it's rated A+AA), and washes and rinses well. We bought it in March 2011 in Comet for £299.99, so it's approaching it's first birthday. It doesn't sing, dance and do the ironing, but it gets the clothes washed which is what we bought it for, so I'm happy to recommend it!
Hoover 1400rpm washing machine with AA+A energy efficiency rating.7kg wash load capacity and features 29 minute quick wash.up to 9 hour start delay and automatic half load option / Short name: Hoover WMH147DF