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When your home is lacking in space, one of the best options to do your laundry is to bring a washer and dryer combo to your laundry room. Although there are alternatives for placing a washer above the dryer in front-loading washing machines, a single-unit combination is still the better choice. But before delving deeper into this subject, let’s understand the definition of this appliance.
What Is a Washer and Dryer Combo?
In simple words, a washer and dryer combo integrate both the washing and drying units into a single set. It is also known as an all-in-one washer/dryer and comprises a front-load washing machine and a condenser dryer — fused within one appliance. Therefore, you can wash and dry your clothes in the same machine at one go — making it a convenient, quick, and great space-saving option.
How Does It Operate?
A combo dryer comes with a front door just like your traditional front-loading washing machine. Hence, the washer follows the same operational principle as that of an individual machine.
But the dryer functions a bit differently. It doesn’t have an outside vent and therefore, won’t vent out the warm, humid air outside. Instead of a vent, it features a drain hose which releases the moisture. Heat is passed through the drum which heats up the air and dries wet clothes. After that, an integrated heat exchanger condenses the vapor into water. This condensed water drains out from the dryer to the sink via the drain pipe. This process, however, results in longer dry times — averaging from 1&1/2 to 3 hours.
Should You Buy a Washer Dryer Combo?
To answer this question, let’s consider all the pros and cons of this appliance.
- If you live in a cramped space such as an apartment, condo, or RV, you can definitely get this combo — since it’s the perfect space-saver.
- It’s also convenient for small households and working families, who need to get things done in quick turnaround time — by simply programming the wash and dry cycle in the beginning. You don’t need to return — to shift your clothes to the dryer — until your laundry is properly washed and dried.
- Combos are also portable and lightweight.
- It uses less electricity as compared to standalone washers and dryers.
- A washer dryer combo is capable of drying only half of the washed clothes at one go. Even the capacity is usually less than that of standalone sets.
- Drying times can be quite long.
- Most models are more expensive than conventional washers and dryers.
Therefore, compare the above benefits and disadvantages. If you think the advantages will outweigh the drawbacks, in the long run, you can surely opt for a washer combo. Now, if you have decided to buy one for your home, let’s guide you through some basic principles.
What Factors Should You Consider When Buying a Washer Dryer Combo?
This category of home appliances is quite costlier than a top-loading set — with each unit priced separately. They are also more expensive when compared to the conventional front-loading washer and dryer duo, with each unit being bought separately. However, this price difference can be balanced with the fact that combos use less water, energy, and detergent. So, weigh both sides and calculate which option would be a better bet for you.
All-in-one, compact washers are specifically designed to fit into small spaces — sometimes, even below countertops. Although this is their most notable USP, it holds a major disadvantage — smaller load capacity, in comparison to individual sets. Their load capacities can vary from 1.6 cubic feet and 2.3 cubic feet (suitable for 1-2 membered families) to 4.3 cubic feet (perfect for large families).
Pro Tip: The rule of the thumb when selecting a combo washer dryer is to buy the largest model which fits in your space and budget.
Also, keep in mind that the drying capacity is always less than the washing capacity. Therefore, when you run the machine for a full wash and dry cycle, you can only pack the drum according to the specifications of the dryer.
Laundry Room Dimensions
This is an important consideration. First, choose the room or space where you will keep your new appliance. Also, note whether there’s enough space for the door to open and for you to operate the machine smoothly. Measure the width of the door or corridor leading to the laundry room and also calculate the length, breadth, and height of the designated area. Once you are done with this step, you can easily specify the figures to the store from where you shall buy the appliance.
Washer and dryer combos generally offer a one-year warranty — along with individual warranties for separate components such as the motor, tub, or control panel. Certain manufacturers will also provide extended warranties, which are expensive. But if you want to skip multiple repairs during the first five years, then you can consider getting the paperwork done.
You should note who will use the washer and dryer combo in your home. They are front-loaders and therefore, might pose challenges for individuals with back problems — while bending down to put clothes. What you can do to solve this issue is to place the appliance over a pedestal. Again, in this case, you will need to measure the vertical space available at your disposal. In other words, measure the ceiling height before ordering any unit.
Spin speed is another factor to consider. If you need shorter drying time for your laundry, get a unit with higher spin speed ratings.
These machines have only one unit and hence, the need for frequent repair is usually low. However, just like normal washers, they are prone to water damage and mold growth. So remember to keep it clean and dry after its cycle is over.
Check with brands as to which parts are available easily in the market — to provide options for easy replacement and upkeep. Some brands stop making spares two or three years after a model’s release, whereas others ensure longer availability of replacement parts. So, do a bit of research before opting for any particular model from a specific brand.
Read more: How to clean a dryer vent
Heat Pump Dryer
We have already explained that the conventional dryer in these combos works via a condenser. However, with more technological innovations, you can get models equipped with heat pump dryers. Obviously, they are much more expensive; but they ensure shorter drying times. These dryers are more energy efficient — using approximately 45% of the amount of electricity used in conventional dryers.
In-built Water Heater
If you are in search of additional washing features — such as steam cleansing and extra hot temperature controls — go for a washer and dryer combo with a built-in heater. This add-on will allow the dryer to reach higher temperatures faster and shall also ensure enhanced sanitization options.
Combo washers and dryers are designed to be portable and hence, they are usually configured to be plugged on to any electrical outlet. Therefore, their standard voltage rating is 120 volts. However, if you require a unit that utilizes more power, you can get 220 volts models as well. But remember, installing one will require a designated electrical outlet for it and may need you to take the help of professionals.
Appliance manufacturers have introduced so many improvements to their recent appliances that you shall find combos to be completely efficient in their operation. With so many choices available — in terms of models, designs, specifications, and features — you should find an option for your home. When space is not a luxury, a washer and dryer combo is the perfect alternative.
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