Thread Number: 73899  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Market analysis at the begining of 2018
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Post# 976175   12/30/2017 at 16:59 (295 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        

Now, with new regulations on the brink and CES coming up, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the US market in general.

The current regulations do impose challenges on some machines and manufacturers, but in my opinion, some of them, I don't really understand.

Hear me out on that.


Now, the US is in kind of a bad place in general to have good washers.
Low voltage is on issue, but one even bigger in my opinion is the immense discrepancy between regulations and actual market situation.

Your regulations test on a 8 pound load. That is about 4kg of laundry. To put that in perspective, some German manufacturers list a normal size pair of jeans as about 2 pounds. A bath towel is about the same. A hand towel is 1 pound. About 5 T-Shirts are 2 pounds.
So your test loads average 4 pair of jeans, or 2 bath and 4 hand towels. Or something like 20 T-Shirts.
I as a single person have 2 weekly loads of 8 pounds or more. Now, US washing habbits are said to be different, but I think that just as with any country, there are the 3 main types of people: Those who do laundry on a weekly basis, those who do laundry when the basket is full, and those who wash verry irregular (daily to once a week).
Basicly, none of these cases have common 8 pound loads, either far abouve or below.

On the other hand, your washers have 3+cuft of drum size, with 4.xcuft being the norm by now basicly.
These washers - even with US cycles in mind - could easily handle loads of 20 punds or more. So loading them with 8 pounds is grossly underloading them.

Some manufacturers have figured out the ways around that and create good machines for any type of load.
For example, the seperation of the everyday cycle te customer uses mostly from the rated normal cycle has become come place.
Recirculation systems get more common place, and they really are the key to good washing and rinsing perfromance on any size load in a short time with verry good resulty while still using verry little resources.
TLs are apparently dying out, which in my opinion is kind of sad. I whished for some company to find the HE TL system (something like the Calypso) and make it work. These machines were fun and verry good.

But yeah. I hope for more of the good stuff in the coming year.


Now, again, the US faces its own set of challenges.

Huge dryers which need huge heating power to dry loads as quick as they are washed.

Old resistive heating elements just can't keep up with efficency demands anymore. Given you are using 5kWh or thereabouts per hour of operation, these are no longer cost effective nor efficency wise tolerable.

A certain number of US citizens can use natural gas dryers, which are pretty dang efficent, beating out (at least for pure directly produced carbon footprint) heatpump dryers.

However, those who can't have natural gas dryers are out of luck.

There are 2 heatpum dryers on the market, one of them being kind of a wonky solution (LG, requiring venting, which is one of the great advantages of a heatpump dryer), and one being prohibitivley expensive and slow.

The main problem is that the verry well designed heatpump drying technology of the EU can't be ported to the US.
To clarify that: We here now can dry 16 pounds of about US-damp laundry with merely 1.47kWh in about 2 1/2 hours. That is perfectly acceptable for the EU.
The US however would need that kind of load dried in about 1h. Actually, the 2018 regulations for dryer prohibit cycle times above 80min.
This would mean you'd need a heatpump at least twice the capacity, if not 4 times. (The state of the art setup in the EU is inverter heatpump with a max input of about 800W.) Booster heaters are per se a great idea but greatly reduce efficency and inhibit one of the most amazing things about these dryers - their gentleness.
Further, a heatpump dryer is a little more maintanace. The days of several layers of foam filters are gone by now, but still, twice the filters to clean out after each use.
I personaly have an idea for what a US heatpump dryer could look like (and quite honestly I think it would work pretty well, though, it would be pretty different from anything currently on the market in one mayor aspect), but I'll keep that to myself.

So what I am hoping for is an advancment in US heatpump dryers and in general something new.


Whirlpool teased their heatpump combo a bit ago, and I hope it finaly makes it to market this year.
LGs heatpump combo is prohibitvley expensive.

What the US is missing is a good full size combo. I think if somebody you can actually take serious would develop something usuable (vented or heatpump, for that matter, not water based condenser), it could be a great hit with single milenials and kidless working-class people (I'd imagine - without wanting to be stereotypical though - thatyour average gay couple would love a somewhat quick and modern combo).


Now, this is one of the biggest gripes that I have.
I read somewhere that during talks about regulations that happend during the Obama administration, some company (I think Whirlpool) said that 2gal DW would be doable, but not market ready and probably never would be for the US.
Some on here say that 120V keeps wash temperatures on the low side and thus keep you from having good efficent DW.
Some on manufacturers run DW that get close to EU standards, but do so in really weired ways.

To all that is the US DW market, I call: BULLSHIT! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!?

First off: 52dB is already considered mid-range quiet in the US. WTF?!? 55dB is the max you can even get here in Germany. 45dB is midrange, 42dB and less the quiet range.
And with noise on DW, at least in my experience, even if your kitchen is seperate, it is a once you go 45dB you never want to go back. During the holidays, I was abled to use my mums 45dB Bosch again. Versus the 49dB Bosch I currently use, it is heaven. Really.
And it's not even hard to get 45dB. Just a decent cabinet wrap and some consideration when designing the pump layout. Done.

Next, cycle design.
Bosch shows that 50+C (that is 120F) for an Eco wash cycle and 140+F for intensive cycles are verry much doable, even on the US 120V supplys.
All you need for that is a flow-by heater. These allow you to cram all your heating power onto surface virtualy the sice of the palm of your hand (if even). This allows for a higher temperature gradient and thus a quicker and more efficent heating allwing for higher wash temperatures.
You give up a heated dry for that - in theory.
But you could always just add a seperate heater for drying or even in the case of Bosch do Zeolith drying.
And for water usage: Water reuse systems. It is not uncommon to have a storage tanke for your final rinse water which is then used for your prewash. This allows for a Prewash-Wash-Rinse-Rinse cycle with usages of 2gal or less.

I am pretty certain that - if companys wanted - they could make machines tha perform like EU machines.
That is 0.73kWh and just under 2gal for 13 EU plate settings. Given that is 3:45h cycle time, but that dosen't seem to far off from what you currently have to deal with anyways.

So, these are my thoughts heading towards 2018 for the US market. The EU market will be more of the same I suppose, so yeah, looking more towards the other side of the pond for the time coming!

Post# 976286 , Reply# 1   12/31/2017 at 10:15 (295 days old) by wishwash (Illinois)        

Yes, the regulations don't really make that much sense in terms of load size for washers. However I would say that most people I know don't load up the machine fully unless they are cost conscious. I fall to this same habit too - washing a half load of towels in my top loader just because they're getting a little musty, rather than waiting for a full basket.
There needs to be regulation in terms of load size, not dictating load size. I think this would get many manufacturers to optimize their machines for a variety of loads, not just the ones that meet regulations. Recirculation pumps definitely offer an advantage here.
An example is the recent pre-2018 Speed Queen washers. They were essentially the same as their predecessors with the exception of a regulation satisfying eco cycle. This was effectively regulating nothing.

As for heat pump dryers, I would think tumbling semi-damp clothes for that long would generate a huge amount of lint and wear out items in no time, but I've never used one so I can't say. I've always been in favor of gas dryers. I'm stuck with an electric one right now and wish I could switch for the efficiency and speed.

I think the Bosch line of dishwashers really hit the sweet spot in terms of efficiency and sound level. Sure, they take roughly two hours to complete a cycle. And they're expensive. But this brings me to my next points...

The US market is largely cost driven. We are heavily in favor of Whirlpool because it is consistently a reliable brand with good performing appliances. And they're relatively CHEAP. Most people I know don't even look at the new lineup of GE just because of how awful they used to be... they are really well featured at a great price point now.

I would say most people in the US are not willing to spend extra for a super quiet and efficient machine. We aren't willing to adapt our lifestyles to the quirks of these newer, better appliances. Nobody here would maintain a heat pump dryer, just complain about how awful it is and how long the cycle times are. We see high quality appliances as expensive pieces of junk because of how expensive repairs are. From what I've seen decent appliances in Europe are much more expensive, which is just not something we are used to. It will take the US market a long time to adapt to innovation.

Post# 976349 , Reply# 2   12/31/2017 at 17:00 (294 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture

Well, I generally do fairly large loads, 3/4 full at least.  As for towels, I use them  twice before they're "washed".   I let them fully dry out before putting them in the hamper and let them accumulate.  My Duet washer will hold a load of 13 towels, 15 wash cloths, and about 8 or 9 hand towels.  I live in an all-electric house.  I have a Whirlpool Energy Smart water heater.  When time to replace, I've considered a heat pump, but for about 10 seconds.  I don't want to be bothered with the maintenance and upkeep.  Same for a heat pump dryer some day.  But thanks to Tomturbomatic, I've become aware of how much climate controlled air is sucked out of my house when the dryer is on.  I have a multi-speed air handler and 2 speed compressor on my heat pump.  When the dryer is on, the air handler switches between a higher and lower speeds several times, depending upon cycle length.  And conversely, the compressor probably switches from lower "maintenance" speed to the higher speed--which is more expensive.  The current TOL Duet dryer has an Eco Boos option that lowers the drying temperature.  It's an option only available for the "Normal"  --default temperature being Medium.  Eco Boos uses slightly lower temperature and increases drying time by 40 minutes.  I wonder if the "slightly lower heat level" is low or ex low.  Heck, I could just select one of the other auto dry cycles that uses low temp level and more dry.  But not sure I'd want the dryer pulling climate controlled air out of the house for 40 additional minutes if it costs me more to run the a/c or heat.   

Post# 976392 , Reply# 3   1/1/2018 at 05:14 (294 days old) by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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Regards to dishwashers ... I checked my 14-years-old machine again recently with a Kill-a-Watt meter on the designated Normal cycle which heats to 140F main wash, 150F final rinse. I cleared the supply line first but that's less than 105F input. Total power usage clocked 0.57 kWH. True, that's one drawer running, which isn't the capacity of a traditional unit, but I typically run a load every 2 to 4 days, not daily, and rarely run both drawers together.

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