By Alex Pettit
Two years ago, I decided to retire my 12-year-old and very reliable Whirlpool top loading washer for a new one. Since the old washer had worked so well, I purchased a top-of-the-line Cabrio top loader from the same manufacturer. What a difference a decade makes!
The new top loaders do not use that tall spiral agitator. It is now called a “low water impeller.” It has a disk at the bottom of the drum with paddles about 2″ high. The literature states, “IMPORTANT: You will not see a washer basket full of water like with your past agitator-style washer.” That was an understatement. My first (and only) load included a few pair of jeans and five short sleeve shirts.
The literature continued, “The most striking difference in your new washer is the low-water impeller wash system.The washer automatically adjusts the water level to the load size-no water level selector is needed.” The clothes filled the washer to about six inches high, but the Automatic Water Sensor decided only two inches of water was required. As agitation began, the wet shirts were pumped with air and just floated above the water. Not once during the entire wash cycle were the shirts submerged. The jeans, however, were surely getting washed - they stayed on the bottom to be constantly attacked by the impeller blades. The washer may have been Highly Efficient in minimizing its water use but it was Highly Ineffective in actually Washing Clothes!
I exchanged this for a front loader model. There are issues with the front loader, but at least the clothes to get evenly washed. I found by experiment, and then by finding the timing cycle chart for this washer, that the Delicate Cycle actually uses more water than the Normal Cycle (you can actually see it). The only problem is the Delicate Cycle prohibits the use of the high speed spin-dry speed. So, I have developed the routine of washing using the Delicate Wash Cycle for most water (still not an excessive amount) and then after it has completed, restarting the machine and selecting the Spin Cycle for high speed water removal.
There were many telephone and email exchanges with Whirlpool tech support. They can be summed thusly: Whirlpool claimed “Our Design Engineers Know Best”… yeah, right!