Life Expectancy of Front Loading Washing Machines

The Hurley Machine Company in Chicago manufactured the first electrically powered washing machine in 1908.

Life Expectancy

Front-loading washing machines save energy.Front-loading washing machines save energy.
Called "Thor," it was not much more than a drum with a tub and an electric motor. Today, homeowners can choose from various styles, colors and sizes of washers. Front-loaders cost more than top-loading washers, but they also use about 50 percent less energy than other washers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Front-loading washing machines have average lifespans of 12 to 14 years, according to HouseLogic, which is similar to top-loading machines. Front-loading washers have doors on their fronts through which clothes are loaded into the washer, hence the name. Clothes are dropped into top-loaders through a door in the top.

Treat Washers Well

The lifespan of a front-load washer, like most appliances, depends on the care you give it. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. The owner's manual will tell you, for example, how much weight the washer's tub will accommodate. In general, most front-loaders wash better with larger loads, according to Lowe's. But really big loads should be broken up into smaller loads to extend the motor's lifespan. Overloading can also add pressure on hoses, causing them to burst.

Provide Balance

Make sure that the wash load is also balanced and that the washer's feet are level. Washer parts can wear faster with unbalanced heavy loads, and added vibrations from a machine that isn't sitting level can also damage washer components and shorten life expectancy.

Replace Hoses and Belts

Keeping water faucets in good shape and replacing incoming hot-and-cold hoses every five years, even if they look fine, also helps to keep washers in top shape. Older hoses generally become brittle and more likely to burst. To increase hose lifespan, Rosie on the House suggests replacing rubber hoses with flexible, stainless steel hoses, which can take higher water pressure. Appliance Repair Buena Ventura recommends turning faucets on and off before and after washing to extend the life of hoses and to prevent hard-water buildup. Check that drain hoses do not have kinks that impair draining, which might cause the pump to burnout. Also, replace worn or stretched belts, which make the washer work harder than it should.

If you're taking a long vacation or are otherwise not expecting to use your washer for a while, Lowe's advises turning off the water flow to the washer, as constant water pressure can cause leaks or make small ones worse.

Cleaning

Avoid both mildew and odors by keeping the washer door open between washings to let the drum air dry. If your washer doesn't have a self-cleaning cycle, Good Housekeeping recommends adding liquid chlorine bleach to the dispenser and running a normal cycle with hot water, or using a cleaner specifically intended for washing machines. To prevent it from becoming moldy, a front-loader's rubber gasket, which is the rubber that seals the door and outside of the machine from the tub, should be wiped after each washing. (And be careful of the gasket when loading and unloading clothes.) Good Housekeeping also advises cleaning the inlet hose filter inside water inlet connections. The filter prevents minerals and debris in the water from getting inside the washer.

Replacement

Washers will naturally need more repairs as they near the end of their expected lifespan. Consumer Reports recommends replacing appliances when repairs will cost more than half the price of a new one.

About the Author

Located in the mid-Atlantic United States, Elizabeth Layne has covered nonprofits and philanthropy since 1997, and has written articles on an array of topics for small businesses and career-seekers. An award-winning writer, her work has appeared in "The Chronicle of Philanthropy" newspaper and "Worth" magazine. Layne holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The George Washington University.