Thread Number: 73491  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Speed Queen sound
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Post# 970512   11/29/2017 at 01:52 by johnrk (Houston)        

As I've stated on here before, a few weeks ago I purchased a new SQ 432 with matching dryer.

Living alone and not generating tons of laundry, I often run loads smaller than full-capacity. In fact, most of my loads are 'medium' or smaller on the machine.

One thing I've noticed is that, not only during agitation but also during spinning, the humming noise that I always hear with the machine is louder, the smaller the load. It certainly must have nothing to do with water circulation with the laundry because I always run with more water than is necessary.

I'm certain there's no problem, that's not my question. My question is, why is the humming louder with decreasing load size? I'd have thought it would be just the opposite, but it's actually quieter with full loads.

Thanks for any information-

Post# 970517 , Reply# 1   11/29/2017 at 02:06 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Speed Queen top-loaders are definitely not quiet machines. The robust 'hum' of the washer can be heard throughout my apartment even though the washer is in a hallway on the other side of my kitchen wall. My sister likes her new SQ, but also mentioned that "It's kind of loud."

Quite a few of my loads are washed on the medium (tub about half full of water) or large (tub about three-quarters full) settings. I haven't noticed that it's any louder with smaller loads. Will have to listen for that. Maybe a full tub of water/clothes deadens the sound a bit because the hum isn't reverberating through the partially empty tub.

What I have noticed is that it's a bit louder when using cycles with slow agitation and spin speeds. First spins in all cycles are slow on mine. The machine is quietest once the water is thrown in the fast final spin.

Post# 970518 , Reply# 2   11/29/2017 at 02:09 by johnrk (Houston)        

Thanks for your reply! My God, I've never used the slow speeds, no telling what they'd sound like!

After nearly 20 years of silent front loaders, probably any top loader would've taken some getting used to.

Tell me--did the Westinghouse front loaders make much noise on agitation? The ones I've seen on YT don't seem completely silent, but not loud either.

Post# 970520 , Reply# 3   11/29/2017 at 02:18 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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My Frigidaire-badged WCIs generated a little more sound during the wash tumble than did the 2010 redesign or the 2015 Maytag, but they were certainly quieter than many top-loaders of the day---until the spins, when plenty of suspension noise was evident. The pre-HE front-loaders had significantly more water in them, so perhaps some of the sound was water movement.

Speaking of my pre-HE front-loaders, I experienced better cleaning and less oversudsing in softened water by cranking back the water levels quite a bit. Didn't decrease the level to today's ultra-low standards, but cut at least a couple of gallons from each fill. Those machines still had three rinses, so I didn't feel rinsing was compromised.

This post was last edited 11/29/2017 at 02:41
Post# 970527 , Reply# 4   11/29/2017 at 03:56 by henene4 (Germany)        

A lot of the noise percepetion is not made up by its actual volume, but by its frequency.
Deeper sounds with lower frequencys often feel louder then high pitched noises of the same volume, simply because more air is in movement per sound wave.
The motor and gearbox are relativley small, so the sounds they make are generally somewhat higher frequency then those produced by big parts like tub and drum.

The motor is (at least in terms of vibration) directly coupled to agitator and drum. So any vibration in motor or gearbox will also vibrate the drum.
The drum is a big resonator body, so it produces a promenent sound signature when in vibration. Easily demonstrated: Ping against it with you knuckles. You'll need little effort to produce a relativley loud noise.
If the tub is full with water, most of the tubs vibration is dicipated in the wash water, never turning into airborn sound waves at all.
The less water there is in the drum, the more of it can set air into vibration, causing louder percieved noise.
Further, the less water is in the tub, the lower the noise, and thus, the louder its perceived. It's the same concept as filling a glass partially with water and pinging it: The more the body is filled, the higher the noise. This is as the effective volume of the body that sets the air into vibration is smaller with more water, and analouge to instruments (violine versus chello), the more volume to vibrate, the lower the sound.
And there will be a certain echo effect in a more empty drum allowing for more constructive interaction of soundwaves amplifying resulting noise.
These 3 effects together explain your perception of the machine being louder on lower water levels.

Low speed motor action induces a slower vibration into the drum. Slower vibration, lower frequency, thus perceived louder.

This is true for any traditional washer, both belt and direct drive.
On the FLs, a lot of the noise was swallowed as belt tensions were less, thus less noise made it to the drum. And most of motor noise echoed around in the cabinet, never making it out of the machine.
Oh, and softer suspensions allowed less vibration to pass onto the cabinet.

Post# 970554 , Reply# 5   11/29/2017 at 08:18 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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you can add basic insulation to almost any washer, and quiet down to a whisper...

JohnL and Jon Charles have a war going on over making their 1-18's as quiet as possible.....and they that is some ingenious insulation techniques..

Post# 970599 , Reply# 6   11/29/2017 at 11:51 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

My SQ is its quietest doing a full load on high speed with the WL at its highest. Doing a small load with the WL at its lowest, I can hear the hum resonating out of the tub. Henrik explained it best.

Another major factor to the machines noise level is its surroundings, mine is in a closet surrounded by shelves, drywall, vinyl flooring and solid bifold doors. With the doors closed it's barely audible at the other end of the house, and hardly a nuisance standing right near it in the kitchen. A friend got the same machine, it is MUCH louder in their laundry room with tile floors and the sound is channeled across the house from the wide open crawl space underneath.

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