‘how to’ washing machines

What is the Best Spin Speed for Washing Machine?

Does Washing Machine Spin Speed Matter When Washing Laundry?

First things first: What does the washing machine spin speed do?

The spin cycle comes at the end of the wash to remove as much excess water as possible. The cycle speed is the difference between damp laundry and less damp laundry. This affects the drying time on the washing line and in the tumble dryer.

Damp and less damp, is that really the only difference?

Well, in most cases, yes.

Does the washer spin speed really matter, then?

Yes it does, but usually only when it comes to the type of fabric washed.

Let’s take a closer look

Spin speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). The higher the spin RPM on a washing machine the faster the drum turns and the drier the clothes at the end of the cycle.

The drier the clothes come out of the machine, the faster they dry on the line and in the tumble dryer.

There are 1800 spin speed washing machines on the market – turning 1800 times per minute! The most common, however, are 1400 spin speed washing machines.

The lowest washing machine RPM speed is 400. If you’re washing a normal load, it doesn’t make sense to go down to 400RPM as your clothes will come out damper than is ideal. But, this setting is perfect for delicate fabrics, particularly silk.

Spinning silk at high speeds can damage the fabric, weakening it so it tears easily.

More robust fabrics, including cotton, wool, and denim can withstand much higher speeds, going up to 1400 (or 1800) to really wring them dry

Bear in mind that higher speeds are more ‘violent’ and your clothes may come out creased as a result. This is particularly true for cotton work or dress shirts and blouses. So, while high speeds are good for cotton fabrics, it’s not necessarily best for your smart clothes. Unless, that is, you love ironing. If you love ironing then by all means spin the bejesus out of your washing.

Selecting washing machine spin speed

You generally don’t have to figure which is the best spin speed for your washing machine because it is preset with particular cycles.

So, if you are washing a load of delicates and you select the ‘Delicate’ setting, your washer will automatically go to 400RPM.

If you’re washing blankets and towels and you select the correct setting, your washer will automatically go to the 1000RPM to 1800RPM range.

You can change the setting if you so choose. For example, if you’re stuck for time and want a quick wash, the setting might go the mid-RPM range. But if your load is mostly towels then you can change it to a faster speed.

Does the washing machine spin speed really, truly, absolutely matter?

Not when it comes to the high spin speed range: 1200RPM to 1600RPM.

According to Peter Tyson, washing machine manufacturers are pulling a tiny bit of wool over our eyes.

You see, most washing machines are made with the same kind of motor with the same speed controls. The difference is that the motors of washers sold with lower RPM are designed to cut-off the speed at the chosen maximum point.

If we assume that motors go up to 1600RPM but the washer is sold as a 1200RPM model, then the motor is disabled beyond that point.

Basically, the production costs for various models with various maximum speeds are pretty much the same across the board. The trick is that high speeds are considered an extra feature and so manufacturers charge more for those washers.

In point of fact, the higher price is based on perceived value. We the public think that price indicates value and quality. We expect to pay more for high RPM models than low RPM models. If a brand charged much the same for low and high models, we’d be suspicious of the quality.

So, essentially, consumers dictate that:

  • We pay more for a 1200RPM model than a 1000RPM model.
  • We pay more for a 1400RPM model than a 1200Rpm model.

You can imagine the mark-up on an 1800RPM model.

Two other things that Tyson reckons consumers should be aware of when it comes to washing machine spin speeds:

  1. Your expensive highest spin speed washing machine might not hit its top speed at all. It can depend on the size and balance of the load. So you have to get it exactly right to benefit from all 1800 rotations per minute.
  2. If your washer does hit its highest speed, it might maintain it for only 30 seconds. So your high speed washer builds up speed, hits top speed, and immediately winds back down.

You might as well save yourself a couple of hundred Pounds and go for a somewhat slower model.

This is where we get back to damp and less damp

In a separate article, Tyson refers to a comparison between spin speeds and the effect on drying speed and energy used. The comparison uses a 6kg drum size and an A-rated condenser tumble dryer. Let’s look at the table.

800 70% 4 kWh
1000 60% 3.7 kWh
1200 53% 3.3 kWh
1400 50% 3.1 kWh
1800 42% 2.6 kWh

Let’s look at the three highest speeds. In terms of residual dampness and energy used to tumble dry their performance is very similar. There is a fair difference between the performance of 1400 and 1800 speeds but the gap is twice as big as any of the other measurements. It’s still possible to say that the difference between the two is not so great as to justify extra costs.

Also, Tyson points out that while you might think that 1800RPM is the bee’s knees, washing machines aren’t necessarily built to cope with the powerful action. According to Tyson, regardless of the size of the motor and spin speed, things like the suspension and bearings are the same. So the faster the spin, the more pressure is put on these components, and the likelier damage will occur.

In the end

It isn’t necessary to get the highest RPM washing machine to get the best results. Mid-range speeds of 1200RPM and 1400RPM deliver on efficacy and economy and are more than sufficient for the average family with average laundry needs.

The only time you really need to worry about spin speeds is when you’re washing special items like silks, delicates, blankets, and cotton shirts and blouses. Your washing machine is likely to use the correct speed based on the setting, but you can choose a speed you think will work best for your immediate laundry needs.

Posted by Jason Darkins in Appliance Insurance Articles

No Hot Water in Washing Machine! Help!

What on Earth is the matter if my washing machine has no hot water?

There are several potential reasons why you may have no hot water in washing machine. Before you go on an investigative mission to find the problem, however, take note of this:

Do not mess with your washer’s electrics if you have no electrical experience. You could unintentionally injure yourself; you could create a dangerous situation that affects your home’s entire electric system; and you could make it almost impossible for a qualified repair person to fix the problem. And, of course, you’ll negate your appliance insurance policy.

Now, let’s take a look at why your washer is not getting hot water.

  • The heating element has gone phut

One of the wonderful things about modern washing machines is that they have all sorts of systems in place to detect errors of any kind, including problems with heating water. They gauge the washing machine’s water temperature and if, according to Peter Tyson, it doesn’t reach a certain temp within a certain period of time the system will stop the wash and flash the appropriate error code.

Unfortunately, somewhat older washers don’t have displays that indicate a precise fault. They also don’t have the advanced systems that will stop the wash mid-cycle. Instead, the cycle will go on and on (and on and on) until the water eventually heats up to the correct temperature or you run out of patience and switch off the machine.

If you have an older model and you find that the washing machine is not heating water consistently, then the element might be faulty. The same is true for a modern washer that registers the problem.

You can test the element to see if that is where the fault lies. However, you need specific equipment, for example, a continuity meter or multimeter. You also need to know how to use and read a multimeter; you need to know about open and closed circuits; and you need to know how to safely access the element’s connections.

You can see why it’s usually best to go straight to a professional appliance technician. If, for argument’s sake, you know all of the above and you want to test the element yourself, you’re looking for a measurement of 20 to 50 Ohms. Anything in the range indicates a functioning element; if it’s out of range then the element is faulty.

  • The element’s heat protector device is faulty

It’s unlikely that you’ve heard of a thermal overload cut-out (TOC), and that’s fine. As a layperson you aren’t expected to know the technical ins and outs of heating systems. As a matter of interest, think of a TOC as a fuse, when it trips there is probably a serious problem; for example, your washing machine’s temperature has gone sky-high.

The problem could also be idiopathic – there is no discernible reason for the TOC to trip. Call a qualified technician to diagnose and repair the problem.

  • There is a problem with the wiring

Another potential problem with your washing machine’s hot water system is defective wiring. Wiring problems can be fairly easy to spot; the wire’s plastic coating (insulation) will look burnt (or even smell burnt). The coating could be broken and the wires exposed. The wires could also be frayed.

It’s exceptionally risky to mess with the wiring on your own. The danger of electric shock is enormous. Any problem with the wiring should be seen to by a professional technician.

  • Not connected to the tap

Washing machines that heat their own water are the norm, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have to ensure that your washing machine is connected to a hot water tap. You will have to check that your washer is connected to a tap, however. No connection, no hot water in your washer.

  • Software bugs

Modern washers come with advanced software that is designed to operate the machine and monitor performance to detect and report faults. However, as we know, software is not prefect and error-free. It’s possible that there is a fault that prevents your washer from heating water for the wash cycle which the software does not detect. You will need to call a specialist – a specialist who has experience with modern washers and with your particular brand.

As you can see, a modern washing machine that heats its own water can have simple and complex faults that affect water temperature and performance. Regardless of the complexity of the problem, it’s highly recommended that you leave repair of your machine to professionals. The risks of injury and further damage are too great to chance your luck. In addition, if you muck around and make the problem worse, chances are good your appliance insurer will refuse your claim.

Posted by Jason Darkins in Appliance Insurance Articles

Washing Machine Door is Locked! Help!

My Washing Machine Door is Locked and I Don’t Know How to Open It?

Ever locked your car door with the keys inside? Or worse, locked yourself out of your house? While not on that kind of scale, it’s incredibly frustrating when your washing machine door is locked and you can’t get at your wet clothes inside.

Why in the world does a washing machine do this? And how can you get your washer door open again?

The why and the how

Don’t give into your frustration if the washing machine lock is broken and the door is jammed. Don’t try to force the door open either with tools or by yanking it until something snaps. You could turn a relatively minor problem into a disaster that the replacement of a number of (potentially expensive) parts. You could even damage the machine beyond repair, and then you’ll be really angry – with yourself.

There are several potential reasons doors stick. Let’s take a quick look:


  1. There is still water in the machine

    Washers don’t open when still full of water. This is great because it saves you a deluge if your machine suddenly has drainage problem. If you have kids, it also saves you a flooded floor should curious fingers open the door while in use.

    If there is no water in the machine and the washer has successfully gone through all the cycles, then Peter Tyson, from Peter Tyson Appliances, says that it’s likely that either the door mechanism or the actual lock is faulty.

    Some washers have a pressure switch, which keeps the door closed for as long as it detects water in the drum. In some cases, there is no water in the drum, but the lock remains activated. You’ll need to turn off the main switch so the lock cools and deactivates. It only takes a few minutes before you can open the door.

    Once again you will need to check your washer for drainage problems. If it’s draining properly then the pressure system may have failed. It’s probably best to call a professional technician to fix the fault.

  2. The door lock is faulty

    There could a problem with the interlock and this causes your washing machine door to be jammed. According to Tyson, it’s best to go through and rule out other potential faults before you go to the trouble of replacing the lock. Otherwise you just waste your time and your money.

    The interlock could also be faulty. This typically happens in certain circumstances only; the most common of which is when the machine is overworked and overheats as a result. Switch off the machine at the wall and play the waiting game. If you’re unlucky, the interlock will take hours to cool sufficiently for the door to open. Your washing might smell a bit funky from being left in a damp machine, so be prepared to do a quick rinse and spin, perhaps even a quick wash.

    An article on Gotech Repairs has some good tips on how to jimmy open a washer door that’s stuck.

  3. There is a fault with the door lock mechanism

    The mechanism comprises the door catch and the handle. If either the washing machine door latch is broken or the handle is damaged, or a component of these parts is broken, the door won’t open.

    The parts tend not to go phut suddenly; they start to give notice a fair while before they chuck it in and keep washer door firmly locked.

    You’ll need to open the door and look at the innards to find the fault and replace the part.

    Everything Homes Lifestyle Blog has a great article on how to open your washing machine door if the handle is broken.

  4. The hinge is broken

    In an article on WhiteGoodsHelp, Tyson says that in the good old days washing machine hinges were designed to last for decades. Alas, most modern washers aren’t as sturdy and it’s actually quite common for a hinge to break. Fortunately, the solution is easy enough and you should be able to replace the hinge yourself, without having to call a professional repair technician.

    You can access the hinge via the top of the washer. There are usually two screws and/or bolts that you’ll have to undo. They’re usually easy to see and easy to remove.

    Sometimes, however, you have to remove the washer door seal to reach all the screws. This is a good time to check the washing machine door seal and replace it if necessary.

    You should also be able to access the hinge from the back of the machine. So if you’re not getting any joy from above, take the back way.

  5. The child lock is on

    We mentioned above the benefits of a washing machine door lock when there are children in the home. Some washers have specifically designed a child lock mechanism; the lock could be engaged and then it’s just a matter of unlocking the door. The instruction book will tell you how to do this. It will also tell you how to deactivate the washer door lock, so you don’t have to keep fiddling about to get your clothes out.

    As with all things appliance-related (or broken-appliance-related) only tackle DIY solutions if you are confident that you won’t make the problem worse. If you attempt to fix any problems yourself and it does go pear-shaped, it’s possible that your insurance won’t approve your claim.

    Rather get a professional (preferably professionally accredited) technician to fix the lock on your washing machine for you. Your insurance is likely to cover the cost of the repair.

Posted by Jason Darkins in Appliance Insurance Articles

Washing Machine Making Grinding Noises!

Is your washing machine making grinding noises? Here’s what to do

There are several things that cause a washing machine to start making grinding noises, ranging from an improper installation to a failing component. Don’t allow a grinding noise to persist without investigating it. The sooner a failing component is detected, the sooner it can be replaced or repaired, which will save you money and prevent further damage to other parts.

If you’re not insured with us and are the DIY type and are able to repair or replace the part, you could save a few pounds on the cost of the repair man. However, unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing, it’s advisable to call the repair man. If you are covered by our appliance insurance policy, you can sit back and relax because we arrange for repairs on your behalf, and the cost is absorbed by your claim.

What causes the grinding noises?

A grinding noise is commonly caused by a malfunction or failing of one of the following parts of the machine.

Agitator dogs:

These allow the agitator to rotate in one direction and lock in the opposite direction. They’re located in the centre column inside a top load washing machine. They consist of four small pieces of plastic which, over time, wear out and begin slipping, which produces the grinding noise when the machine is in the agitate cycle.

Tub bearing:

It is preferable to replace the complete outer tub and bearing, rather than just the bearing in the tub. Chances are that unless the tub is replaced, it will be the next thing to go.

Tub seal and bearing kit:

If this is the cause of the grinding noise then replace both the seal and bearing kit.

Drive pulley:

Check to see if the pulley is worn out, cracked, loose or bent. Remove it and inspect it carefully. If you see signs of wear and tear you’ve probably found the source of the noise. You will have to replace the part.

Failure of the U-joint:

The u-joint is the primary drive mechanism for the agitation motion. It’s an expensive part to replace, and with the cost of a repair man it might be worth considering a new washing machine.

Clutch assembly:

The clutch assembly is the connection between the transmission and the inner tub. It allows the tub to get up to the correct spin speed. The noise could be a worn out clutch, which makes a loud noise during the spin cycle or just as the cycle completes. The clutch has to be replaced.

Drive belt:

Over time the drive belt dries out and starts cracking. Pieces of the cracked belt break off resulting in a loud noise whenever the motor is running.

It is preferable to have these parts checked by a washing machine repair man, unless you have experience of machines or these parts. Inexperienced tinkering can lead to accidental damage, which in the end will just cost more to replace or repair – it could also negate your insurance policy. So take a look at the instruction manual that came with your washer, identify and check the parts, and then call the repair man.

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Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

8 Reasons Why Your Washing Machine is Humming

8 Reasons Why Your Washing Machine is Humming

With our busy lifestyles and barely enough time to do the things we need to do, let alone want to do, just about the last thing you want to deal with is a troublesome washing machine. Aside from not being able to do your laundry, you also have to worry about finding a reputable engineer, arranging a time that is convenient and the cost of the whole thing, including call-out fees and labour.

Don’t despair; if the problem isn’t serious you can probably fix it yourself. For example, one of the most common problems to affect washing machines is a humming noise. Take a look at our troubleshooting tips and you might be able to fix the problem yourself. However, remember not to do anything that will violate the warranty.

Humming problems

  1. Drain hose: If the washing machine is functioning correctly but makes a humming sound while draining, there could be a problem with the drain hose. Replacing the drain hose may solve your problem, but if the hose is fine, and there’s still a humming sound it could mean there’s something wrong with the water supply.
  2. Water supply: If the washing machines does not take in water and makes an unusual humming sound, it could be that the water isn’t flowing. Check to see if there is proper water supply to the washing machine. First check that the taps are actually on. Then unplug the washing machine and turn off the taps supplying water to it. Unscrew the fill hoses from the water valve. Hold the hose over a bucket and turn on the taps to see if there is a decent water supply coming through the hose.
    If the water flow is adequate, then check for any blockage in the water valve’s filter. Although this fault is rare, it can occur. Gently remove the water valve filter with flat pliers and clean the filter. Be careful, as most filters are made of brittle plastic and can easily break.
    If the water flow is slow or if there is no water coming through the hose, then there is likely a fault with the plumbing. In cold weather, the pipes may have frozen, particularly if the washing machine is in the garage.
  3. Carbon brushes in the motor: If you switch on the machine and it makes a humming sound as though it is working but the drum does not turn, then the most common explanation is worn out carbon brushes in the motor. The brushes (located on both sides of the motor) are inexpensive to replace. If they are not worn then there is likely a fault with the motor itself or the printed circuit board.
  4. Drive motor: If the washing machine does not drain water, spin, or agitate, and just makes a humming sound accompanied with a slight electrical burning smell, then you are likely dealing with a failing drive motor. At this point you will have to call the manufacture’s customer service help line for further assistance.
  5. Washer motor: If the washer motor has burned out you may hear a hum or buzz and you will probably smell something burning. A burned out washer motor can be replaced, but often it is more cost-effective to simply buy a new washing machine because the motor usually precursor to other parts giving up the ghost. You may just enter a cycle of repairing and replacing parts, which racks up costs.
  6. Washing machine pump: The gentle humming noise may be caused by a jammed pump trying to turn. The most common explanation for the pump not spinning is a small garment caught in the pump. There’s no other way to fix this problem other than taking the machine apart so that you can remove the stuck item. The problem may also be due to bearing failure, in which case the pump has to be replaced. It is best to call an appliance technician to carry out professional repairs.
  7. Motor coupling: It may also be that the motor coupling has broken, especially if the humming sound seems to have a vibration to it. In this case you will have to take the machine apart. If you’re feeling brave and aren’t afraid of voiding your warranty, you can Google for directions how to take apart your particularly make and model. You can also check YouTube for video tutorials. You can usually find different washer parts you need online, so all you need is a free afternoon and an assistant to keep the coffee coming to get your DIY fix.
  8. Washer drive block: If the washer drive block is loose or worn down you’ll have to replace it. This link will take you to the most well-known brands where you’ll find step by step instructions on how to fix or replace the drive block on your washer. If your make isn’t on the list, just do a YouTube search and there’s bound to be one for your particular make. Once again, you shouldn’t try this if you don’t have any successful DIY experiences under your belt and if you don’t want to negate your warranty.
Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

Washing Machine Error Codes – What Do They Mean?

Washing Machine Error Codes – What Do They Mean?

The washing machine is one of the most used domestic appliances in any home. However, it may develop an internal problem at any time and display an error code. The error code indicates a technical fault, and to prevent any further damage the washing machine will either fail to start or abort the wash cycle.

There are possibly thousands of washing machine error codes, with the error code for the same technical fault differing across the numerous washing machine brands. Below are some examples of washing machine error codes *:


  • DE error – This means that the door is open. The washing machine door latch may need replacing.
  • Error code 5E – This is a water drain error. There could be a problem with the pump filter or the pressure system.


  • Error code E 35 – The machine has detected an overfilling problem. This could be due to a faulty valve, a problem with the pressure switch or defective wiring.


  • Error Code F05 – The machine does not begin the spin cycle because it detects water in the drum, even though the water has been drained. The pressure switch may be jammed or there is a faulty connection.
  • Error code F08 – This means that the heater relay can’t be activated.
  • Error code F10 – This indicates a problem with the pressure switch


  • Error code FP – This error means drain failure. Either there is still water in the machine, or the machine is receiving the wrong signal that there is.

Some washing machine companies share limited error code information to ensure that only authorised service engineers carry out the washing machine repairs and maintenance. Therefore, depending on the washing machine brand you own, you may find detailed or limited information on error codes.

In the absence of technical information on washing machine error codes, independent engineers will struggle to repair the washing machine. What this means is that you may actually pay more for the repair and maintenance of your washing machine than you would have, had it been serviced by your local appliance technician.

This aspect becomes significant when you consider that a washing machine lasts at least 10 years, and will require regular maintenance checks and three to four repair jobs. So, if you are in the market for a new washing machine then besides comparing the various models on technical features, it is advisable to also evaluate which washing machine brand is easily repairable.

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* Please check your product manual, or contact the company customer service for an accurate explanation of the washing machine error codes.

Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

How To Choose The Best Washer Dryer

How To Choose The Best Washer Dryer for you

A washing machine is one of the more expensive and durable appliances you will buy for the house, and given the almost daily requirement of washing clothes, it is crucial that you buy a machine that serves your purpose well.

Washing machine vs. washer dryer

In all likelihood, your decision to buy a washing machine will begin with choosing between buying a washing machine and tumble dryer separately, or buying a washer dryer combined.

Buying a washer dryer is obviously more economical than buying two appliances. In addition, if you have a space or budget constraint, then a washer dryer is definitely the best solution for you. However, you must also consider the following drawbacks of a washer dryer:

  • A washer dryer is more suitable for a household of 1-2 people. Most washer dryers have a 6-7 kg drum and a typical washer dryer cycle lasts 4 hours. In case you have a large family with heavier wash loads, the washer dryer will run several times a day, lead to greater electricity consumption, and increase your overall cost of doing laundry.
  • Because a washer dryer is a dual-function machine, it will not have the same advanced features and performance levels as a separate washing machine and a tumbler dryer. For instance, a standalone tumbler dryer will have a larger drum capacity and will therefore dry clothes a lot faster and with less creases than a washer dryer with a relatively smaller drum.
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Choosing the best washer dryer

Washer dryers are now more technologically advanced and energy efficient than before. If you have decided that a washer dryer is a good fit for your home, then the next step is to select the best model. Compare the various models available within your budget against the following features:

  1. Spin speed: Since the washer dryer has a relatively smaller drum, one way to ensure that the clothes dry faster is by choosing a machine with a higher spin speed (measured as revolutions per minute or rpm). Therefore, a washer dryer with a 1600 rpm will dry your clothes more quickly than one with 1200 rpm.
  2. Guarantee offered: Since a washer dryer works twice as much as a standalone washing machine, there is greater wear and tear on the machine. Compare the various washer dryers for guarantees offered on free of charge replacement of machine parts.
  3. Energy efficiency: Check for the EU energy efficiency ratings displayed on the washer dryer. Most washer dryers are rated between A and F, where A signifies a washer dryer with the most efficient energy consumption. The more efficient the machine, the less it will cost you to run.
  4. Wash programmes: Different washer dryers offer varying number of wash programmes. A model that offers additional features such as quick wash, steam cleaning, and anti-crease wash will cost you more than a basic model that will offer fewer functions.
  5. Additional features: Some washer dryers have an inbuilt sensor drying feature that turns off the machine when the clothes are dry. Another feature is the auto load control that adjusts the water levels to the laundry load.

AEG and Prime are some of the value for money (£450- 550) washer dryer brands. Bosch and HDB have machines in the range of £700- 750, and Miele offers a high-end range in excess of £1000.  Research company Which? has reviewed 88 washer dryers available in the UK. You can access this information by registering with the website.

Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles