Why do washing cycle times vary?

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Modern washing machines generally take longer to complete wash cycles than older models, for a couple of reasons. What can be trickier to understand is why the same cycle takes different amounts of time to complete on different days! We've put together this guide to answer some of the most common questions on washing cycle times. 

Why are wash cycles getting longer?

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When you look at new washing machines, you'll see an efficiency rating shown on the front panel. Manufacturers work hard to get a coveted 'A' rating, but the energy savings come at an unexpected cost: time. To make a machine more efficient it has to use fewer resources, both in terms of energy and water.

Washing and rinsing with less water means the machine has to run for longer to pass the ratings test. Washing at lower temperatures is another reason for longer cycles, as the machine has to work harder to get the load clean.

 

Why does the same cycle take different times?

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Many modern washing machines have a digital display which shows the time remaining on any given cycle. The indicated time might increase, decrease or even stay the same for a while, and usually the reasons why involve water. Here are the main factors:

Water pressure

The mains water pressure will affect how long the machine takes to fill, and each cycle can mean the machine is filled three or four times. The washing machine can detect the water pressure while it's filling, but before the cycle starts it shows a typical time that the cycle should take – in other words, it guesses. When it knows the water pressure, it can adjust the time remaining.

Water temperature

Most machines are cold-fill only, and the temperature of water coming into the machine depends on many factors. The can include how far the house is from the water main, the weather and season, and even the house's plumbing. All of these factors can cause the temperature of the cold water to vary by 10C or more, and the washing machine has to guess how long it will take to heat this to the cycle temperature.

Water level

A washing machine fills to a pre-determined water level, but the amount of water required to reach this depends on the type of material being washed and the amount of it. The machine starts by assuming an average amount, but will change depending on the conditions it detects. Overloading the machine means more water is soaked up by the load, so the machine as to use more water to reach the level needed. More water means more energy is required to heat it, adding more time to the cycle.

 

Let the cycle finish

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As long as the machine completes the cycle, there shouldn't be a problem. If the cycle you've chosen is taking longer than you'd like, check the manual to see if there's a shorter cycle you could use instead next time.

 

Hopefully that's all you need to know about wash cycle times, but if you need any extra help, you can get in touch with a Team Knowhow Expert here.

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