Getting to know your new HE front-load washer

Congratulations on purchasing one of the most efficient washing machines available!

Because you've made a significant investment in this new appliance, your satisfaction is very important.

To increase your satisfaction, here are a few things to remember about your new high-efficiency (HE) washing machine:

  • Use only high-efficiency (HE) laundry detergent, and always put laundry chemicals in the appropriate dispensers.

  • The more laundry you put in, the better it washes.

  • The washer will help protect your garments by restricting settings based on the cycle you choose.

  • The sounds your new washer makes are different than you may be used to, but not louder, and most of the cycle will be nearly silent.

  • When you're done doing laundry for the day, leave the washer open to let the drum and rubber gasket dry.

  • Use an Affresh tablet for your first cycle, and then every 4-6 weeks.

  • If you receive any error codes or are unsure if your washer is working properly, please call for service immediately.


LOADING: Most front-load washers have greater capacities than conventional top-loaders, but don't over-fill. The door should be easy to close when properly loaded. There is no wrong way to place laundry in the washer, because garments are constantly redistributed during the cycle, and the washer will self-adjust any imbalances during the spin cycle.
CHEMICALS: Front-loading washers only use about 14 gallons of water, versus the 40-45 gallons used by a conventional top-loader. Because of this reduced water usage, less bleach and fabric softener are required (if you use them). If clothes don't look as clean as you expect, try using less detergent (and less liquid fabric softener, if used). More is not better!
WATER: Laundry will be saturated with soapy water, with a little extra water for soil suspension. Laundry will not be submerged in water. This is normal. Do not add water manually, as this will not improve washing.
WASHING: Laundry is washed by tumbling action. The washer will repeatedly spin the tub for a few seconds, then stop, allowing the clothes to tumble. This causes the clothes to scrub each other clean and forces the soapy water to repeatedly pass through the clothes. The result is improved cleaning while being gentler on your laundry.
RESTRICTIONS: Some front-load washers still use belt-driven motors rather than direct-drive, and many of these do not have adequate vibration control, so they are not appropriate for second-floor installation. If such an installation is necessary, and you have chosen a washer that is not designed for second-floor installation, reinforce the floor or set the washer on a sheet of plywood at least 3/4" thick. Failure to do so may result in excessive vibration noise throughout the house. In general, if you're getting a direct-drive machine, it should be suitable for second-floor installation.

Q: Why do I have to use HE detergent?
A: Unlike HE detergent, regular detergent makes lots of suds in HE washers, which can damage your washing machine. HE detergent generally costs the same as regular detergent, cleans as well as regular, and all brands of detergent have HE versions. Using smaller amounts of regular detergent is never recommended. Using regular detergent voids your manufacturer warranty, and any resulting damage will not be covered by any service plan. Personally, I recommend the UltraPlus line of detergents available at Sears. They offer excellent cleaning power at a fantastic price. Powder and liquid versions are available.

Q: Why does the water turn on and off so many times?
A: HE washers have load sensors that allow the washer to add only as much water as needed. After each short burst of water, the load is weighed. When the load stops getting heavier with added water, the laundry is saturated and the washer will then add a little more water for soil suspension. This is normal. If you hear banging when this occurs, that is water hammer, which is caused by pipes being fastened loosely or not at all. You should install water hammer arrestors, which are available online and at home improvement centers.

Q: Why should I use Affresh tablets?
A: Affresh tablets remove residues in your washer from manufacture, detergents, fabric softener, and stains. For your first cycle, residues from manufacture will be removed rather than being redeposited on your laundry. As a maintenance, cleansing the washtub keeps the washer fresh and helps prevent excessive wear.

Q: I have heard about front-load washers having problems with mildew. What causes this?
A: Mildew is the result of keeping the washer shut at all times. Mildew spores are in the air in our homes, and it grows in places that are damp, dark, and warm with food for it to eat. Because front-load washers are water-tight and air-tight when closed, moisture cannot escape when the door is kept shut. That means that the mildew spores have a damp, dark, warm place to live, and it likes to eat the residues from detergents, fabric softeners. By simply leaving the washer door open when you're done doing laundry for the day, the washtub and rubber gasket can dry, and mildew cannot survive. Preventing mildew is easy; eliminating it after you've allowed it to develop is difficult.

Q: Why are protection agreements recommended for front-load washers?
A: Front-load washers have sophisticated electronics, load sensors, and high spin speeds. Most repairs for front-load washers cost $300-500 or more. Additionally, maintenance checks help prevent big problems, and should one arise anyway, you're covered 100% for up to 5 years. Manufacturer warranties generally only cover defects in materials and workmanship, and usually only last 12 months. Protecting your investment provides great peace of mind.