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davehills

How Is Energy Consumption Measured

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Hi All,

How are the energy ratings of washing machines calculated?

Are readings taken across a whole cycle? Are they based on consumption of energy per minute?

It struck me that A rated appliances just might not be as efficient as people believe. Yes, they use less electricity at any particular point in time but if they take longer to wash the clothes....

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Buying from my affiliate links supports this forum :) 

They are based on the energy used during a specific cycle (60 degree wash I think), which is daft because hardly anyone uses that wash cycle. People have often wondered about how they can be more economical when they take 2 or 3 times longer to wash, I have a blog article about this question, which might help - Why do economy wash settings take much longer?

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So the manufacturer *could* tune the 60 degree wash to be ultra efficient just to get the A+ rating, but not bother with the other cycles?

I suppose modern must soak the clothes for longer?

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Though they would still have to heat the water to 60 degrees* and they can't get round that. It's only the heating of the water that really uses any energy worth worrying about. The motor and other parts use virtually nothing in comparison.

*Since writing this comment it appears they can cheat on the 60 degree cycle. Which? have tested many washing machines and found most didn't heat the water to 60 and some were woefully short - Washing machines not delivering right temperature

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So...another silly question.

Why do so many modern machines feature cold fill only when gas is cheaper per unit of energy?

Surely, it makes sense to fill the machine with water that's atready hot, then maybe heat it a few more degrees to reach the desired temp, than fill with cold water and have to heat it from scratch?

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It's possible to tune the 60 degree wash (which is relatively rarely used) to get the best rating whilst the wash cycles used by most people may not be as efficient. Which? tested many washing machines and found that most didn't even reach 60 degrees on the 60 degree wash. One, only reached 43 degrees. So if your 60 degree wash cycle only gets to 43 degrees it's going to get a much better energy efficiency rating than competitors. Unfortunately it seems that the people testing the 60 degree wash cycles for energy efficiency weren't checking that they actually heated water to 60 degrees. There are other ways to get an excellent rating such as making the 60 degree cycle much longer knowing that most people don't use it so it gets better wash efficiency results. The most common wash cycle (40 degrees) could then be quicker but not wash as well to appease customers who get annoyed at long wash cycles.

As with all of these badges of honour and imposed tests, manufacturer's commonly find a way to cheat on them. I can't of course say that these manufacturers were definitely trying to cheat the energy ratings, but we all know of the recent scandal involving car manufacturers being fined for cheating the emissions tests so it's clearly something that happens. 

Are eco labels on Washing Machines misleading? 

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