Kitty,,european washer/dryers combos

Old Jun 25th, 2001, 07:11 AM
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Kitty,,european washer/dryers combos

hi everyone,

this message is for kitty who just came back from london and had stayed in one of the efficiency suites which advertised a washer/dryer as being one of the amenities. however, other americans doing so may benefit from this message.

kitty, you're gonna scream when i tell you this.

for those of you who are reading this she had a problem with an efficiency suite that said it had a washer/dryer. when she arrived she found a washer dryer unit combo(all one unit, not stacked simply just one unit). when she tried to use it, the clothes would not dry. figuring that the unit was either mal- functioning or one of those units that super spins leaving the clothes damp, she hanged all the clothes up to dry overnight.

the units are what europeans call washer/dryer combo ventless all in one units. they work on a different premise than our american washers and seperate vent dryers. because they are all one unit they are made to save space and be placed under the counter in areas that can't be vented. they are perfect for small suites, RV'S, etc. however to dry they have to have a way of cooling down the hot moist air that is extracted from the tub or clothes while drying. just applying heated air does not get rid of the moisture. in a vented system this moisture is blown out. in a ventless system, a frequent cooling cycle condenses and extracts the moisture.

the unit washes first, then during a high speed spin cycle begins heating the air. it heats then cools the extracted moisture down, then heats again. this process of course takes longer than our american dryers so doing a load of wash and drying it takes about 2 hours.

the best way to use these machines is to put a load in and walk away from it completely. DO NOT OPEN THE DOORS WHEN DRYING. it takes 5-15 minutes for the cycle to heat the air back up so if you are constantly opening the door to check on them this reheat process never occurs.

i know many americans that are using suites and studio apartments that may have this type of unit. if so i hope this helps.

kitty,,i blame the management and staff here for not explaining this to you or having some type of instructions tell people about the difference. an added problem if the faucet system this unit is hooked up to is like our modern kitchen all one faucet unit, they should have told you to make sure that the faucet was turned on cold water only immediately following the wash cycle. this makes a big difference in the drying time because the cold water is used to condense and extract the hot moist air.

if the proper instructions on this unit had been explained you would not have had to hang all those clothes up.

it just bites big time doesn't it! LOLOLOL,,,,sometimes i think they deliberately do this to really make us american's feel STUPID!
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 10:35 AM
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Nice to finally get an explanation for the identical situation that we encountered 3 years ago in London. However, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate, because we usually did walk away from the unit every day (put the clothes in and left the apartment to go sightseeing) and STILL came back to find wet clothes that needed to be hung up. Usually the socks. On the other hand, the t-shirts occasionally got scorched in places. Perhaps that was British revenge for wearing white socks and t-shirts. The other thing I think they did on purpose was to not tell us that the entrance to the flat was not really on the street listed in the address, but around the corner in an alley,cleverly hidden under on overhang. Oh, well, we had a nice time anyway in spite of minor annoyances. London was a wonderful city.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 10:43 AM
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Candidly, as someone who lived in London for a year with one of these horrid machines, if you are only there for a short trip, I would almost recommend sending out laundry as opposed to doing it with this kind of machine. Perhaps we really are "dumb Americans," but every encounter with The Beast (my friendly nickname for the machine) ended up in previously white socks turned gray, a laundry cycle which lasted several hours yet still left everything wet, and general hilarity as we hung everything up to dry all over the house.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the detailed explanation. We did leave the unit going for at least two hours each time we did a load. I set up the dryer time for 80 minutes which was in addition to the washing time but our clothes were still very damp. I knew that it took forever for the european washer/dryer combos to work because my brother (who is in the appliance business) had warned me.

The good news was we did get our clothes washed and dried eventually.

The hotel should supply detailed instructions for the machines because we weren't even sure how to put the soap in the machine since there were two slots you could put it in. After the first load we figured that out and then just had to contend with the damp clothes problem.

Oh well, that was the only inconvience we had on our 15 day trip so not much to get too excited about.

Old Jun 25th, 2001, 11:10 AM
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Interesting! We had a separate washer and dryer in the apartment we rented in London this spring and the washer seemed to take forever and the dryer even more time and they were fairly new. The "quick" wash took about 45 min. This particular apt. complex was inhabited mostly by British people (not tourists) and it really intrigued me as to how they ever got their laundry done. I really wanted to ask,but felt funny about it. Can someone answer this for me .. how do you do sheets/towels, etc. in these small machines where each load is tiny to start with and takes hours to dry??? I would take our stuff out of the dryer half done and put them on a rack in the tub to finish drying.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 12:29 PM
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We have a Miele washer and dryer in our apartment (stacked, not combo) and yes, the washer takes a lot longer than our U.S. washer did--about 1.5 hours for a regular load. However, it uses less water and our clothes seem to come out cleaner. The dryer doesn't take that much longer than our U.S. dryer--maybe 20 minutes longer for lighter weight clothing and about half an hour to 45 minutes longer for heavy stuff like towels. I like that the dryer doesn't need to be vented--it collects the water in a condenser and you simply empty it at the end. We use the water for our plants--it really adds up and what a great idea for people who live in drought areas (although we don't) or older homes/apts where putting in a vented dryer would be difficult.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 12:45 PM
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What these combo washer/dryers do in the dry cycle is actually bake your laundry. It takes me at least 3 hours for 1 load of laundry. Everyone asks what I do with my time since I don't work...the answer is laundry! If anyone ever runs across one of these while in Europe, my advise is to do small loads and when the wash cycle is done, hang to dry things like t-shirts, etc. If you dry just your socks and underware, they will dry in about 1 1/2 - 2hours. For towels, run them through a dry cycle once and then hang to dry. Don't even think about washing jeans!!!

Needless to say, I will not miss this Beast (very appropriate name!) when we move back to the States!
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 12:59 PM
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My husband and I noticed on train trips out of London that there were many apartment balconies/patios that had laundry lines set up with laundry hanging from them. We laughed because we knew that since the "dryers" don't dry then the locals must just contend with hanging up laundry where ever they can.

And you are right, Michele. We didn't even try to wash blue jeans. We would still be waiting for those to dry if we had tried that.

Old Jun 25th, 2001, 01:27 PM
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I lived in the UK for 5 years and even tho' I had a separate dryer, I much preferred to hang clothes out. Clothes dried outside smell wonderful and the reduction in utility bills is amazing. And the heated towel rail finised off anything that didn't dry. I really missed that when I moved back to California - and guess what - they are now recommending we ALL start hanging clothes out due to the energy "crisis". What goes around comes around I guess.

And that is another reason not to take jeans on a European trip. Besides being too casual for many events, they take forever to dry and are very heavy in the suitcase.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 02:08 PM
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These were the most interesting reports to read! Really, we are spoiled here. When I stayed at my daughter's apt. in Paris it took over an hour to do one load of laundry (dryer not an option) and the cost of electricity isn't cheap! I opted for the launromat. Guess they wouldn't go for these in California.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 05:41 PM
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Glad to see that we weren't the only ones who were mistified by the combo unit. We had one in our self catering cottage in scotland and spent hours washing clothes. Since the electricity was monitored and charged in addition to the rent, it was quite a large amount.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 06:18 PM
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As other posters have mentioned, it's not just the "combo" units that don't do the job over there. We stayed at a cottage in Ireland that had a common laundry area with what looked like fairly new equipment. The washer did alright, but 2 hours in the dryer (a vented unit, just like here) yielded still damp and barely luke warm clothes. I'm sure it uses less energy than our appliances, but actually it's wasted since it doesn't actually do anything! And yes, we tried both dryers with identical results.
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 07:51 PM
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I live in China, and had to put up with one of those combo machines for nearly two years. We just moved into a larger house here, and I was THRILLED to find a "normal" washer and "normal" SEPARATE dryer. We can't believe how quick our laundry gets done now - we're probably the two happiest people in the world with our washing machine and dryer!!
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 08:39 PM
Chris Philhower
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Two US loads are 4 here (maybe 5) in France (looks like it's not only in France!), and what took an hour takes 3 hours! Hour and 1/2 for washing and the same for drying. And we don't have the combo (the machines are sooo small -- I miss my Maytag!)
Old Jun 25th, 2001, 11:40 PM
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Our Miele w/d handles just about the same size load we did in the U.S. (and washes and dries jeans just fine), maybe just a bit less than the big machines, but overall pretty close. However, we had bad experiences in a Paris apartment with a cheaper brand and older machine so we bit the bullet in Brussels and sprung for top of the line machines--I think it really does make a difference.
Old May 21st, 2012, 02:16 AM
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Thanks for the info. I found the same conditions for these short stay apts. in Barcelona. No matter what I did they never got dry. Same happened with me in the UK. But in the UK apt. they had a fan so I'm laying out the clothes/hanging em and running the fan. Interestingly tho when you go to a launderette they work like the US w/d do, no difference.
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