Earth Notes: On the Zanussi ZWF01483W front-loader washing machine: ReviewUpdated 2020-11-26 15:58 GMT.
- Preliminary review by: Damon Hart-Davis on 2020-09-11.
- Simple within-brand replacement for previous washer-dryer.
- Replacement arrived and was installed (and old one taken away) by John Lewis five days after the previous appliance failed. Partly thanks to the large capacity we caught up on the laundry within a day and a half, and everything is behaving well so far. The controls are reasonably intuitive given experience of the previous models. Retains key features such as cold wash.
- Rating: 4 out of 5.
What is a "maintenance wash"?
Running cold (or cooler) washes saves energy but lets a bit more grot build up in the machine. So once in a while run a hotter "maintenance" wash as recommended by the manufacturer to help avoid this and flush it out. The machine need not be empty, but shouldn't be bursting with a badly soiled load to do the job well.
One of the installation crew suggested that a maintenance wash every quarter would probably suffice, set at 90°C, cottons, no spin, 'Quick'.
2020-09-05: E40 - Not with a Bang but a Whimper...
The previous machine's door lock failed part-way into a wash.
A far less spectacular failure (seized bearings and smoke!) than its predecessor.
(I managed to get the catch to work just once more, to drain the machine.)
We decided to bite the bullet and go for a replacement, since we had the feeling from other factors (eg hot/burning whiffs) that the machine was on its way out anyway.
I prepared a spreadsheet to compare the various models that we looked at.
I note that AO (and Boots Appliances, serviced by AO) adds a fairly hefty extra charge (eg ~£20--30) to get anything fast or in a non-all-day delivery slot. This feels more like taking advantage of a distress purchase by people who need to be out at work (etc) than a real cost of business. On that basis I'd rather direct our money to John Lewis, for its long non-gouging track record. (JL's 'standard' free delivery is a few working days, and even the fast delivery is a little under £20.)
All in, including taking away the old machine and connecting up the new, is £364 from John Lewis. The machine itself is £319, which includes a £110 discount. Delivery is free. (Note that the now-dead machine was ~£450 more than a decade ago, though was also a dryer.) The price on this model type may have been unusually low because it's about five years old and due to be replaced, and because of price matching between retailers.
It took about half the day (we placed our order before 4pm) to do our research for features and prices and delivery.
In summary, our choice for this distress purchase was in part non-ransom but still reasonably-fast delivery, and good install pricing, from trusted supplier John Lewis, and what JL had in stock on-line. (Retailers note: pricing low and then larding unavoidable charges on later in the purchase process is a dark pattern and not endearing, and illegal in some industries for good reason.) The machine needed to be efficient, and familiarity with Zanussi was useful. The extra capacity was not sought, but simply a bonus of the best in-stock item with no increase in cost. In fact, the 10kg machine's extra depth (~1--2cm) was a concern, but doesn't in practice seem to even be visible.
2020-09-10: Out with the Old, In with the New
The John Lewis delivery process worked well even though I mistyped my own mobile phone number into their form it seems, and various other exciting things were going on that day. In fact I had to drop out of a management meeting to let the two guys in a little before half past twelve.
For covid reasons I wore a mask and they didn't!
They did a good efficient job extracting the old machine for recycling, and connecting the new one up and testing it.
(Where I'd normally sign for delivery and installation, that was omitted for covid reasons...)
We then set off a (90°C) maintenance wash to clean any residues from the machine before they left. We couldn't get that down below about 2.5 hours nominally, which was a bit annoying. Though after 10 or so minutes the machine noticed that it was empty and cut an hour off the remaining time.
The JL team took all packaging away, cleared up, left me the right paperwork and the transit bolts and unused drain hook. They were all done in about half an hour.
A little later, so that we could make some headway on the laundry basket, we went to cancel the remainder of the cycle. It took a little working out that just to drain (which was a distinct programme on the previous machine) it was necessary to select a normal cotton cycle, then
Drain & Spin, then turn off spin! Having done that, 3 minutes to drain and unlock.
We had three loads done by 6pm, some in time to go on the washing line!
(The first load was of the towels we used to soak up the flood from the dishwasher when it threw a strop so as not to be left out...)
We got a couple more loads done the next morning, and were then caught up with the backlog. A relatively low-trauma process from start to finish.
So now we have a quieter, newer, higher-capacity machine, hurrah!
I'm all in a spin...
Interestingly, two energy labels come with the appliance. The first under old regs shows A+++, and the new rebased one shows D! Rebasing things periodically so that all new products aren't just jammed at the top of the scale is good practice, and the EU resisted far too long.
Unlike the just-expired machine, there is no indication on the display of what phase the machine is in (heating/washing, rising, spin). But in practice I don't think that it matters. What is important, that we checked for before purchase, is a remaining-time indicator. Especially given the ability to adjust to load size automatically, it's very handy to know when an hour has been lopped off the finish time.
Before, you used to set a delay before the cycle started if wanted. Now you set a time for it to have finished by, letting the machine do some mental arithmetic for you. The minimum finish time is 3 or 4 hours depending on the selected cycle. In principle this would allow the machine to wash slower and cooler, saving energy, knowing your deadline. But I don't think that it is that clever.
2020-09-17: Puzzling it Out
It's working well so far. We are puzzling out the different possible combinations, such as with 'Quick' and 'Intensive'. And could we use the 20°C wash, maybe with intensive, instead of 30°C, to halve energy consumption in winter? (The lift in temperature from mains would then be 10°C rather than 20°C, thus the halving.)
2020-09-19: Experiment 1: Mix 20°
First measurements of actual power consumption with my Maplin N67HH plug-in meter... And of wash performance and time on what I hope may be the go-to Mix 20° low-energy programme between cold and 30°C cottons.
When plugged in via the meter and switched on, the machine draws ~0.8W (alternating between that and 0.7W). When the On button is pressed and the display lights up that rises to 2.4W. After a few minutes left alone, the machine bleeps, the display goes off, and power consumption drops back to the previous ~0.8W.
The Mix 20° program shows as 1:57 duration. It sets the spin speed to 1200rpm (and it cannot be raised back to 1400). This may be a problem, as drying will then take longer. Selecting 'Intensive' raises the programme duration to 2:11.
I have started a small wash (Mix 20° Intensive) at 08:00:00Z.
Mains water temperature is 20°C, so no water heating should be needed.
(The machine remembered my programme selection while powered off.)
There is one significantly soiled item in this small load.
Opening the valve to let in water rasies consumption to ~11W. Gently agitating the clothes too draws a very variable 50--120W. Idling between agitations, ~3.7W total.
the remaining time shown is 1:57. So maybe a few minutes trimmed from the initially reported 10:11Z finish time. While in this initial wash phase, power draw remains at ~3.7W while the drum is still, varying around/above 100W when agitating.
, total consumption is logged by the meter at 100Wh (0,1kWh). Curiously, peak power is shown as 2379.7W (~10A), which may be an artefact of the induction drive or the apparently slightly dodgy connection.
(The machine is continuing through brief drop-outs in supply, but beeping in indignation. It is not clear if the total metered consumption, still showing 0.1kWh, will be reliable.)
First drain was at . The first short gentle spin pushed consumption over 200W, peaking at ~300W. The next spin pushed consumption to a little under 400W, peaking at ~550W.
Second drain was . Gentle brief spin ~200W. Stronger spin ~300--500W.
Third drain was , with a "finish in" time of 8 minutes, with a gentle spin. Then the final spin , maxing out at ~400W in the first half, a little higher in the second half but with an early peak over 900W.
Beep and door unlocked a , so 2:04 run time. Consunption dropped to 1.7W with display on.
Beep and display off , with consumption ~0.7W/0.8W. Total 0.2kWh recorded for the whole programme.
The heavily soiled item washed fairly well.
The clothes were a bit damper than they would have been with a 1400rpm spin.
A generally decent outcome.
(Rest of house powered up again at !)
2020-09-20: Experiment 2: 30'@30°
very small 30'@30° wash. Time shown on the "finish in" display is 30 minutes. Spin speed is shown as 800rpm. (Spin can be turned off, but not made faster.)
Tap (mains cold) water water temperature was measured at 21°C within the last 2 hours.
A full audio recording is being made. (With me in the background, typing!)
Power consumption is being measured by the Maplin N67HH plug-in meter. Whole house consumption is being sampled by the Enphase every minute. Other house variable loads (eg the fridge/freezer) are turned off for the test.
There seems to have been 3 minutes of water heating (at just under 2kW), starting . This energy is ~100Wh (0.1kWh), similar to boiling water for a couple of mugs of tea. This part might double mid-winter with mains water at ~10°C.
There is much less agitation than with the Mix 20° wash.
First drain at .
Second drain at .
Third drain at . Very gentle spin at this point.
Substantial fill at .
Fourth drain at .
Spin starting at .
Unlocked and bleeped at , ie 3 minutes ahead of schedule.
Note that unlike the previous machine, there is no 2 or 3 minute delay from end of programme to the door actually becoming unlocked, which is good.
0.6W was shown as consumed with the display off before starting, and with the display off after completing.
Total consumption was metered at 0.1kWh. In the same territory as boiling water for a couple of mugs of tea, or maybe a rinse cycle on the dishwasher, ie very low.
(Peak power demand is reported by the meter as 2268.2W, likely spurious.)
This wash is not going to shift anything other than the lightest of soiling.
A recording of the whole wash cycle, including me in the room typing the words above and sighing meaningfully, and the wall clock ticking, in glorious low-bit-rate mono to save some bytes:
I saw something that did not belong in the wash come to the front. I was quickly able to 'pause' the wash and in a few seconds retrieve what turned out to be a travel-pass wallet, then restart the wash. For the previous machine a wait of at least a couple of minutes would have been required for the safety lock to release.
2020-10-06: As Expected
The machine is working much as the previous one, and doing its job.
Another Mix 20° wash has been tried, and nothing bad happened!
I put on a large (heavy) mixed colours wash as cotton cold around .
By default that is timed as 2h46. With selected 'Intensive' over 3h, with 'Quick' maybe half an hour is lopped off.
, the remaining time shown has dropped to 2h07. So maybe 20 minutes has dropped off the initial wash time.
I set up a medium mixed colours wash as cotton cold around .
I wanted it to finish in plenty of time to hang out before a 9am-ish meeting. (Tomorrow morning is due to be dry and sunny ish, with sunrise at 6:45.)
The delay (finish by) function only works in steps of 2h at higher values, so I aimed for 12h, ie nominally finishing a little after 8am.
I actually expect it to finish sooner not being a full load, a little after 7am.
2020-11-06: No Delay
A cold cottons wash was set up, with a "finish by" of 3 hours. But the wash started immediately, presumably because the normal run time is nearly 3 hours. However, it seems like the machine did not attempt to shorten the wash according to the load (not huge in this case) as it otherwise would.