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The Hotpoint Aqualtis washer-dryer (AQM8F49U) has many excellent features. I would certainly buy one again, though there are some points to be aware of before purchase. Problems I have encountered have sometimes been my fault rather than the machine's.
The drying function
The dryer can be set for 60, 30 or 20 minutes, or by by Level. Level 1, is Iron dry (though I found this setting did not leave my items damp as specified), Level 2 Hanger dry, Level 3 Cupboard dry and Level 4 Extra dry. I used this latter setting accidentally on a new cotton shirt and when ironing it, the fabric tore, I surmise due to the excess drying.
You may be reading this wondering whether a washer-dryer is a good investment, or whether it would be better to get a separate tumble dryer. We bought this model as we are short of space in the kitchen and felt it provided more options than a washer. Certainly, as you would expect this washes and dries clothes, however with a tumble dryer the dried clothes can come out completely dry with little if any ironing required. This is not the case here. Thoroughly dried items have a 'spaghetti junction' of creases welded into them. I was disappointed by this, but now get round the problem of creases by drying for a maximum of half an hour, and removing the washing from the machine as soon as possible. I tend only to use the dryer for sheets and towels anyway; half an hour sets them on there way nicely.
There is a very distinct smell from the machine when the dryer is used which I dislike. It does fade as the machine is used more.
There is the usual range of cycles for cotton, silk, synthetics and wool. I was drawn in by the steam refresh cycle, which I have never used, and the Baby cycle which is for "heavily soiled delicate colours". This, I have used and the washing was clean but there was also a small pool of water under the machine afterwards- more about this later. In any case, the regular cycles get my baby's heavily soiled, delicate colours clean enough.
The user is not confined to whole cycles; there are separate rinse, spin and drain cycles.
The timer can be set so that washing can be done up to 24 hours after it is loaded. Never thought I would use this, but now use it all the time as our electricity is cheaper at night.
The drum is large, easily taking multiple sets of bed linen and towels.
The fabric conditioner dispenser gets pooled with water after a few washes. I can't say this would be with every machine, it could be that ours is at a slight angle. The draw is easily removed in any case for cleaning.
Also there is the mild annoyance I get from closing the door and then realising I've not put detergent in the drawer, so I have to open the door again (not a great hardship, I know). The reason for this is that the dispenser is obscured by the door, presumably for aesthetic reasons. I guess it also stops it being opened during the cycle which could result in water coming out.
Problems encountered...and solved
As referred to above, when I used the Baby cycle there was a pool of water at the front of the machine, and more water is used in this particular cycle. We then had no more problems except a tiny dribble from the front of the machine. Clearly there has been some issue with our door seal, which culminated yesterday in the clothes getting caught in the door seal and pulling it off. The resultant clanking was so loud that there was not much flooding, though I was relieved I was doing a day time wash for once. Fortunately, this machine, unlike our old one, allowed me to stop the cycle and open the door, disentangle the washing, and with a little help from Youtube, replace the seal. And guess what? That tiny dribble has stopped too.
Short name: Hotpoint AQM8F49