unavoidable laundry

gomangogomango Registered Users Posts: 24
OK people... I screwed up last time and didn't ask before I purchased, so this time I am doing the right thing by asking first....

I currently do not have laundry facilities in my off grid house. A trip to town to the local laundry mat is about a one hour trip and fuel prices are making laundry quite expensive. I'm looking to install a washer and am looking for input on what model to select that will be the most battery friendly.

Is larger capacity and less loads more efficient than smaller capacity and more loads?
Will my outback inverter (2024) pull the startup of the spin cycle?

I have a neighbor that recently purchased a pretty high tech unit that has a built in soft start on the motor. The soft start has eliminated the dimming lights in his hallway when the spin cycle starts up, but is it really saving power or just reducing the surge at startup?

I have downloaded the spreadsheet from energy trust, but thought I would ask you all before I commit to anything.

Thanks
Dave
«1

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,082 admin
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I have a pair of 7 year old Fisher Paykel washer driers on Grid Power. They have Permanent Magnet Motors and draw very little peak power (around 300-500 watts maximum each?) and take only ~0.250 kWH per cycle (washer and natural gas drier). I would guess you should use them only with a True Sine Wave inverter (not MSW-Modified Square/Sine Wave) inverter. So far so good.

    Here are a few older threads (using Google and "washer water extractor site:wind-sun.com" as search string--many times easier for find things here in the forum):

    Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric
    Washing machine suggestions for off-grid living?
    Staber washer problems
    solar clothes dryer

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    Consider getting an old style wringer washing machine:

    http://non-electric.lehmans.com/search?p=KK&srid=S01&lbc=lehmans&ts=custom&pw=maytag&uid=236511674&isort=score&view=grid&w=Maytag%20Wringer%20Washer&rk=1

    Buy it without a motor, and install a honda or B&S gas engine on it. Lehmans (above link) often sells reconditioned old style Maytag wringers that are indestructible! We have been using such a machine for 50+ years. In the net, they use much less water, as you can do multiple loads with one tub of wash water. Start with linens and whites, wring, add dark towels etc, wring, and then do the work clothes. Same on the rinse cycle. 2 tubs of water will do three loads. The wringer also gets more water out than a spin machine.

    Ours, with a honda motor, uses ~1 litre of gas a month. Pretty cheap, very reliable.

    Tony

    PS Somewhere on this forum there is a picture of my "new machine" salvaged from an abandoned shed,, I can't find the link right now.

    PPS. Here is the link: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?9168-An-illustration-of-loads-growing!&highlight=wringer+washing+machine
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Solar Expert Posts: 209 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    Larger capacity and fewer loads is almost always more efficient.

    We had a Kenmore HE3 (Whirlpool Duet clone) for the last few years and it was a fine washer, However I just got a 2009 LG for a great price. I do not think you have to worry about start up loads on these new front loaders. The motor is controlled by an inverter board and the spin speed ramps up slowly. I think a FX2024 would run it, but you probably would not want to have the toaster on at the same time. :)

    Watching this LG work is an interesting exercise. The water is pulsed in at regular intervals, and it takes a LONG time to get the clothes fully wet. There is basically no water in the tub when the clothes are washing either. The HE3 definitely used more water. I kinda think that the way they get these great energy star numbers is by reducing the amount of hot/warm water in the load to the absolute minimum. Somehow, they still seem to get clothes clean.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    we have a front loading Bosch about 10 yrs old now. has a small basket but it washes best when jammed full. NEVER gets the clothes soaked, and the start stop action lets the clothes beat themselves up so as to dislodge any dirt. Unable to do a K-o-WAtt on it as it is fed from a 220 dryer plug and the washer comes off one leg of that with a euro plug... gets the clothes clean though.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I agree with Volvo Farmer. The LG will save you electric 2 ways andyou should be able to power it. Motor is direct drive. Saves you money by not using a lot of heated water, spins the cloths dryer so you don,t need to run dryer as long and uses less laundry detergent. Also it is quiet. Most noise comes from the water inlet valves. I really like mine. :Dsolarvic:D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    might i ask you guys for model numbers of these lg machines as there are many models? are they top load or front load? capacity?

    not asking for me, but for general knowledge.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    I do not think you have to worry about start up loads on these new front loaders. The motor is controlled by an inverter board and the spin speed ramps up slowly. .
    I have a smaller Sears front load and it easily handles twice the load of the older Sears top loaders. Washes cleaner, spins far drier, and far easier on the clothes. As to start surge - - there isn't any! It very gently eases into motion via inverter motor, drawing 150 to 200 watts depending on load. It's greatest consumption comes after it gradually ramps up to high speed spin, 400 to 450 watts. Kill-A-Watt tested. Bigger machines would surely draw somewhat more, but still nothing at all like the older top loaders with their 1/2 HP split phase induction motors, and the total lack of start surge is amazing!
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 927 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I see in your signature a 2.5kw Onan genset. Like many, you could run the genset during laundry morning and get some battery charging done at the same time. (I don't, consumption of the washer is not great and it's load is not either)

    I have a Sears front loader with "click and clunk" controls, no led's or touch control buttons, just on/off switches and relays. It's tough to find simple electrical controls anymore. I like that feature as well as the slow spooling up for spin. Clothes are almost dry when they come out at the end of a cycle. Dried by wood heat or outside line reduces electrical consumption too. I've always been too cheap to electrically dry wet laundry.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    The former standby washer for off grid was a Staber. For many years it was the only brand that could relaibly used on modified sine wave inverters without voiding the warrantee. I have one and it works well and is about 15 years old. They use a veriable speed drive and a belt in place of a transmission plus they have a mechanical timer. Its a top load vertical axis machine whihc takes a bit for most folks to fugure out, but the added complexity cuts down on the number of seals.

    Some folks have had some issues with them and have posted their issues but I expect you only hear the bad stories and not from the satisfied users.

    They are not inexpensive. You buy direct from the factory in the US.
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Solar Expert Posts: 209 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    niel wrote: »
    might i ask you guys for model numbers of these lg machines as there are many models? are they top load or front load? capacity?

    not asking for me, but for general knowledge.

    Mine's a front loader. I wouldn't recommend the top loaders, as they really had to pull some engineering tricks out of the hat to make a low water consumption vertical axis washer. In other words, they break a lot :)

    I'm almost certain that all LG front loaders are the same capacity. The only differences I have seen are that some have recirculation pumps (mine doesn't), some have a "steam" option, and some have an internal water heater for sanitizing clothes. Other than that it just comes down to bells and whistles and programming. Mine has the internal heater but it's easy to select a cycle that does not use it.
    Ralph Day wrote:
    I see in your signature a 2.5kw Onan genset. Like many, you could run the genset during laundry morning and get some battery charging done at the same time. (I don't, consumption of the washer is not great and it's load is not either)

    I would not do this. The electronics in these new washers are pretty delicate. I blew up the machine control board on mine trying to wash clothes using the generator because the voltage regulator circuit was out of whack. Also I have observed the voltage waveform when charging batteries with an FX and it looks more like a mountain range than a sinewave.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    Also I have observed the voltage waveform when charging batteries with an FX and it looks more like a mountain range than a sinewave.
    I'm confused (again). What waveform are you referring to? Doesn't the fx put out DC when charging batteries? --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,082 admin
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I believe the issue is that many (FX included?) battery chargers (or inverter/charger in this case) are not "Power Factor Corrected" (PFC).

    The usually non-PFC computer power supply/typical battery charger uses a Diode Bridge to charge a capacitor or the battery bank (through a transformer). This is like a "check valve" that only lets current through to the battery near the peak of the voltage sine wave (input utility or generator power).

    These current peaks draw high current pulses, can, on non-utility sources (gensets, inverters, etc.) can actually collapse the Sine Wave Voltage peak of the power source (draw way more peak current than the generator/inverter is capable of outputting). This can cause the voltage sine wave source to look like a series of "broken" or "clipped" voltage peaks vs a pure sine wave output.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,369 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I have a front load whirlpool that is part of a stackable pair, I have the drier as well but haven't used it much as I'll take my new place off grid in the fall. Someone else pointed out that all LG front loaders, appeared to have the same capacity. It is likely at least somewhat true of Whirlpool, mine has at least tha capacity of the coin top loaders at work/campground. The stackable drier would have issues if you put the whole washer load in at once!

    My word of caution with the my front loader, is that the ultra high spin will put wrinkles in polyester/cotton uniform(Dickies) shirts and pants that don't readily come out. I always lower the spin speed when doing the plastic clothes. Other wise the highest spin speed is awsome, I did a pair of heavy double front denim pants the other day, and between the high spin speed and a dry windy day, they dried in a couple hours, they can take that long in a basement dryer!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    I would not do this. The electronics in these new washers are pretty delicate. I blew up the machine control board on mine trying to wash clothes using the generator because the voltage regulator circuit was out of whack. Also I have observed the voltage waveform when charging batteries with an FX and it looks more like a mountain range than a sinewave.
    BB. wrote:
    I believe the issue is that many (FX included?) battery chargers (or inverter/charger in this case) are not "Power Factor Corrected" (PFC).
    <snip>
    This can cause the voltage sine wave source to look like a series of "broken" or "clipped" voltage peaks vs a pure sine wave output.
    Bill, I think you are quite right. Over on the Outback forum Crewzer tested the Outback chargers with a kill-a-watt meter and found that the power factor was above 90% when the charger was near capacity, but much lower PF at lower charge rates.
    reference: http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2134
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I've been very lucky running the Sears Front loader on my Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12, and in Power Save mode. Either the inverter is really great (I love it) or the washer isn't very picky about it's power quality. Seriously, I believe there's no excuse for designing appliances that need perfect power quality. What, you have a brownout so you have to go buy a new washer? That sucks! Extremely poor design in my opinion. It's one thing for a cell phone charger to go up in smoke - - but a $1500 washing machine? No way!
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    Niel, My lg washer was bought Januart 2008. It was called tromm washing machine model 2455h which is replaced with later model nos. I bought it near the end of its model run and got a deal at sears on it.Was recomended highly by consumers report at the time. Has 4.2 cu ft, stainless steel drum, filter in the recirculation pump.and all kinds of bells and whistles. Maximum spin speed 1200 rpm. gets out the water. Daughter liked it so well she bought one too. I have mine on an old satelite surge protecter so I won,t get any power surges. Energy guide said: uses 180 kwh per year washing 8 loads of clothes per week. :Dsolarvic:D
  • silvertopsilvertop Solar Expert Posts: 155 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I think front loaders are the way to go. We have the Affinity from Frigidaire, large capacity and soft start; when we were 12v we ran this off a small battery bank and Xantrex SW 1800; wer'e very happy with this washer. I can't remember what it pulled in maximum spin ( it has several speeds to choose from) - I think it was about 650 watts, but the rest of the cycle it pulls between 35W and 200w; a good product. We had a Staber in
    Colorado, but a word of caution if you have kids, big or little, any pocket change ( or similar sized objects left in jeans etc.;) spin out and into the rubber drain hose clogging it and creating a pain in the rear disassemble to get to it and remove whatever. This happened much too frequently.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    Something totally different to think about - - The Dirty secret behind washing machines. Very interesting little video.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/04/2012426372405531.html
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    Better watch! This might be construed as a political statement. :Dsolarvic:D
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    The good news is you don't "need" a fancy washing machine. At my previous home, I operated a GE (no frills) top loader washing machine for several years via a Xantrex Prosine 1800W inverter. The washer was a king size capacity model. To test the worst case scenario, I loaded the washer with a full load of towels, set the water level to super (lotsa water), and the wash cycle to extra heavy.

    washer2691.jpg

    laundry2690.jpg



    It pulled about 440W during the wash cycle. During the spin cycle, the Kill-A-Watt meter showed an 850W spike.

    Total wash time was 57 minutes. Total power usage was 0.25KWH.

    totalwatts2716.jpg

    totalmins2717.jpg

    We now have a fancy front loader washer & dryer. Not had a chance to measure the new washer yet. It does have a soft start feature on the motor, which should help, but the Xantrex Prosine 1800W inverter had no problems with the original washer.

    We recently moved into a different house, and I'm still in the process of rewiring portions of the house, and getting the Alt-Power setup. My goal is to run the washing machine exclusively from an inverter.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    I think most of the top loading washing machines weren,t really big energy hogs anyway. Where some of the new economys come from the newer front loaders are= You use lots less water per load of cloths. So less money sernt pumping water, less money sprnt heating it and less to put in septic tank or if you have city water and sewage you save money there. Reasons I like my LG washer, Quiet, economical and uses less water. downside= the wash cycle time is longer and I think any repair bill might be larger but not sure of that. And political statement= its made in Korea, but my brother got a maytag frontloader last year and it said made in Germany. Who would have ever thought a Maytag would be made in Germany? He is preety happy with his Maytag so far. Some of the last Maytags built by Maytag were troublesome and the Maytag repairman had plenty to do. My daughter had repairman in about 3 or 4 times with her maytag over a period of 3 years, So why she got the lg. So far she hasn,t had a repair call yet in the 4 years she has had it. Ps before I got my LG I had a top loader kenmore with no problems except for having to replace the water shutoff valves about 3 times. It wasn,t a fault of the washer, It was the sediment in my water. After I put in a water filter I never had any more problems. And this was even before I got my gas well, so gaswell water problems didn,t cause me any problems. :Dsplarvic:D
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    2manytoyz wrote: »
    The good news is you don't "need" a fancy washing machine.
    So true. I don't think the fancy new washers use much less electric energy per cycle. They are, however, energy savers for most folks because they use less hot water and extract more water (less dryer energy). If you have free hot water (woodstove and/or solar) and a clothesline, the energy savings are illusory.

    We purchased a new washer two years ago and chose an old fashioned top loader with agitator. There were two main reasons: 1) we have very low gravity water pressure and the newer washers won't work at that pressure, and 2) the mechanical controls are bulletproof, no circuitry to fry during lightning or power surges/weirdness.
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    vtmaps wrote: »
    I don't think the fancy new washers use much less electric energy per cycle.

    Huge difference between my old Sears top loader and the new smaller Sears front loader. But I can't speak to the large front loaders.
    And I haven't used hot water in a washer for probably 30 years, it's just not necessary.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 927 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    "And I haven't used hot water in a washer for probably 30 years, it's just not necessary. "

    Well if you get tired of the colours of your t shirts, socks and underwear you can do what I did and wash in hot with a new red towel...everything pink. Dohh!

    Ralph

    ps there are water temp settings on my Kenmore either just what comes out of the taps or cold/warm/hot at thermostatically controlled temperatures (not a heat element, just a mix of the hot and cold inputs) Maybe I'll try straight cold next week instead of the mixed "cold" (70F I think)

    Ral;ph
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    i don't bother doing my clothes in hot water either excepting maybe very cold days i may bring up the water temp a bit by mixing a bit of hot to it. hot water spells trouble in its use as it can even set stains. the color bleedout ralph experienced may still happen with cold water, but at a slower rate. it just depends on the quality of the dyes and possibly the fabrics used when it comes to that bleedout.
  • gomangogomango Registered Users Posts: 24
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    Wow guys... thanks for all the great input. I think I am going to run down tho the local appliance store and see what catches my eye on a front loader. I know the guys at West Coast Appliance hate me after all the tough questions I kept asking about the propane stove I purchased. There is no worse customer than an off-gridder in an appliance store.

    Hot water seems like a small issue when these new front loaders don't seem to take as much water. I work in a rock pit so the amount of mud that gets worked into my clothes is hard on washers. I will be installing a utility sink to pre-rinse the really bad stuff.

    The idea of running the generator to do laundry is doable, however I think I would see a lot of kick-outs. The charger pulls about 16 amps when bulking, and the washer can potentially pull enough to cause the inverter to drop the source. This summer I will be subbing an Onan 4.0 CCK while this smaller LK goes to the shop for a rebuild and that should have no issues with kicking out. I cant really leave the 4.0 in during the winter because its all set up with automatic start and gas or propane to run the 4.0 gets expensive when all I use it for is to bulk the batteries. The 2.5 seems to be just right with the exception of running the extra load.

    That lead me to the larger capacity question. I think I can run the 8KW diesel genset on the weekends and just hog the laundry to it and bulk the batteries all at the same time. This will require some fancy selector switches to be installed in the inverter shed so I dont back feed between generators, but is doable. I was planning a two genset selector sorta like an automatic transfer switch so I could install the 2.5 and the 4.0 on the same inverter. This way I can run higher loads as I see fit. I guess Im a bit generator poor out here in the sticks.

    It was my hope that my inverter could get the job done in the summer without the generator. After all the name of the game is less fuel. With my current consumption, the inverter bulks the batteries about two to three times a week in the winter. That makes my power bill about $20 - $25 per week in fuel. Laundry may double that and if the solar hangs in there for a couple loads a week then that's a substantial cost savings over washing with a genset.

    Anyways folks... Im tired and rambling. I better get of this computer and hit the sack. Thanks to all of you that shared your experiences with me. Salesmen share what they know and all they seem to know is that if I dont buy, they dont get paid. Its so much better hearing the truth from time tested off gridders such as you

    Dave.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    A little trick s to wait till the 'heavy' bulk charge is finished, that big initial in-rush that occurs when you start to charge, and as the charger drops back, then start the washing machine. You may have to test the waters a bit but it should work for you. I do something similar to get my True charge 40 (Amp) to work with the economical Eu1000
    HTH
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    How's that charger working for you Eric?

    Tony.

    Ps the other advantge of a wringer machine is tht it has no water pump,and ergo no pump to get damaged with abrasives in the water,, just a simple gravity drain.

    T
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry
    gomango wrote: »
    Wow guys... thanks for all the great input. I think I am going to run down tho the local appliance store and see what catches my eye on a front loader. I know the guys at West Coast Appliance hate me after all the tough questions I kept asking about the propane stove I purchased. There is no worse customer than an off-gridder in an appliance store.
    Dave.
    That's the problem with buying a washer without seeing it in action, or knowing anything about it. We are expected to "trust" the salesman, put our faith in him or her, then pay for the pig in a bag, having no idea what it might be like until we get it home and start using it. Then too late we find out - - - - -
    I was lucky. very lucky!
    I also still have my Grandmother's 1947 Bendix automatic front loader, although I no longer use it. See an identical machine in action here: (and the squealing-like sound was the normal sound of water entering the machine) http://www.automaticwasher.org/VID/47BENDIX/Bendix_Wash.wmv
    And God help you if you put in a wee bit too much soap, it would spew suds out the top for an hour while you tried to get it cleaned up. :D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: unavoidable laundry

    wayne,
    i like your washer. i think you are using too much soap though. to prove it, take the clothes you just washed and throw them back into the washer without any soap and it will still suds up. you make them dirtier with soap residue than actual dirt.

    i also don't believe any washer likes too much suds and my father always told me it could damage the machine.
Sign In or Register to comment.